Are Microsoft Products More Useful?
:: By Diana Zelikman, Fueled ::
The Mac vs. PC debate is now well into its second decade, facing loads of college debt, looking for a job, living in its parents’ basement. Kidding aside, the debate is alive and well, still raging in the worlds of geeks, business professionals, stay-at-home moms and everyone else. Pretty much everyone who needs a computer these days has taken a side.
For many, simplicity and style play a large role, while others want freedom, versatility and adaptability. The pros and cons of each have been weighed time and time again, but as the stakes keep getting higher, the game keeps changing.
For years, the Mac argument has been one of ease. The product, while significantly more expensive, is extremely user-friendly, and has the added bonus of being virtually immune to computer viruses, which plague the systems of non-tech-literate PC users.
On the other side of the fence lies Microsoft, with the flagship operating system Windows. Traditionally, the benefits of Windows were, in a general sense, more freedom for programmers, more compatible with a wide range of software and vastly more cost-efficient when it comes to pure computing power.
The downside? Windows was often harder to navigate for beginners, and then there was the horrific Windows 7, which… don’t even get us started. However, that may all be changing with the newest version of the operating system.
Windows 8 sees a heavy focus on user-friendly design. It started with smartphones, as the iPhone quickly gained a host of competitors. Android and Windows phones now command an impressive slice of market share, often earning better reviews than the latest iPhone models.
Why is this? Well, they often boast sleeker design, more practical functions, a wider array of apps, freedom when it comes to downloads and in essence, they’re more accessible, putting the owner in control of their mobile experience.
When it comes to computers, these days, simplicity is the name of the game. Unless you’re a hard-core gamer, your computer is probably used for emails, Web browsing, Netflix, word processing and work. With the cheapest and most basic Macbook clocking in at $899, you’re pretty much paying for the logo.
Macs are admittedly the weapon of choice for musicians and DJs, as they excel when it comes to music software and reliability. But unless you fit into that category, chances are a PC might actually be easier and cheaper. It’s a novel idea, but maybe, just maybe, Microsoft is starting to understand users a bit more.
Then there’s gaming, and Microsoft owns that sector. In contrast to Apple, Microsoft is responsible for one of the biggest consoles in history, the Xbox, which has spawned a number of games that have become fixtures of popular culture (see: Halo). When it comes to computer games, this dominance only continues. PCs run every major game franchise, allowing players to compete in a variety of different worlds both on and offline. Meanwhile, Macs are far behind on the software front, with highly restricted access to major titles.
In a world where entertainment is an integral part of any technological package, this edge is not trivial. It allows PCs to connect with the younger generation, many of whom spend considerable time gaming. Thanks to feedback from this core age group, Microsoft is set to continue improving its user experience.
Diana Zelikman is an editor at Fueled, the leading iPhone app builder in New York City, renowned for its award winning mobile design and strategy.