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back to article Is the Mac good for business?

I have been using a PC all my life. I'm a businesswoman and use PowerPoint, video conferencing, Excel, Eord etc as the core media of communication. A friend has advised that I should buy a MacBook instead of another PC laptop. Would it be wise for me to switch over to the Mac as a first time user? My office is still on PC. Would …

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Erm... no!!

What reasons did your friend give for recommending the change? As you have been using a PC for most of your life, why would you consider changing, just because a friend likes the look of the latest MacBook? Consider the cost to change and your productivity levels getting up to speed with the differences between the strange new Mac and your familiar PC.

I would definitely advise against it!! Stick with what you have!!

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Mac replacement for pc

The only problem you will have is with compatibility of some file types eg. my wife recently moved to a mac after 20 years with PC's and she loves it but I have to unencrypt some files that get sent to her because there is no equivalent program on the mac to do so.

I had to do some digging to get all the peripherals (printers and the like to work but on the whole it was a pretty painless process)

other than that I think she is also more productive so go for it

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Mac vs PC

I too have recently converted my Better Half to Mac the first comment is correct on the learning curve and cost of Mac equipment, and there can be problems with some file types BUT! Vista is having major problems at the moment, and with Mac there are lots of forums etc (as is for PC) that can help, and dare I say it at the risk of being flamed, but a lot of GNULinux users and software can be very helpful. Good Luck with whatever you decide, all advisors will have some biase (even me :-) )!

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In principle YES

Moving to a Mac is a great option these days as the OS X operating systems does all one needs these days and is quite compatible with most things PC (ie. printers etc...) with the exception of specific PC software and file types but that is more the exception than the norm. That said it really comes down to what you use your PC for currently for, if it is the general MS Office(Excel, Word and Powerpoint), Surfing the net, email then a move to a Mac is painless. If you run specific PC software then you would need to think long and hard about it but you can run windows XP and Vista on a Mac.

Lastly, you will need to give yourself some time to get familiar to the Mac but the current OS X is very easy to use and once up to speed you will wonder why you didn't upgrade to a Mac sooner.

Hope this helps.

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Some of my best friends are Mac users :-))

Sorry for the title, couldn't resist.

Ever since Apple included Intel processors and software like Apple Bootcamp and Parallels were introduced, the landscape for debate has changed entirely.

Not only can you now run 'true' Windows applications alongside Apple ones but you can even cut'n'paste between them.

I'm a PC user because I enjoy getting my hands dirty. But I see no reason anymore to worry about compatibility issues.

As for the office being Windows based, just run those applications with something like Parallels to be sure of 100% compatibility although I think there are very few problems anymore between the Apple and Microsoft versions of Office.

So now you just have to choose between Super Cool or Super Geek... whoops, some of my best friends are geeks too!

Enjoy whichever way you go.

(I'll just add, I was recently responsible for an office or around thirteen staff. We were a software company selling products to the likes of PC World etc. Two of my staff exclusively used Macbooks in and out of the office. Everyday they would come in, access the network, the Internet and communicate with the rest of the team via mail and chat (and shouting!). Never once did we have any issue with compatibility or connectivity. We used Parallels extensively to test and make use of PC software on the Macs)

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As a sole trader...

I use both PC and Mac. PC is my main office-based computer, while a MacBook is my laptop. I work a lot with one particular company who are mac-based, but when I work with others compatability has never been a real problem. Sometimes I lose a bit of formatting when moving a document between the two (Office on the PC and iWork on the Mac) but it's not a huge issue, and I've used OpenOffice on both to reduce that before now. You can - if you do want to pay (I'm quite tight) use MS Office on the Mac. Without Office Mac Excel used to be a problem but I now have iWork '08 and am just about to try Numbers out. Can't tell you if it's an Excel replacement, but if cost is an issue just use OpenOffice.

The company I work with who are mostly mac-based do have a couple of PCs networked (on Mac infrastructure) and have no issues sharing stuff.

In terms of video conferencing, if it's using Skype then the MacBook is pretty good - it's got a built in webcam and mic - but that's certainly not a reason to go down that particular route. iChat is good, and I've used it when working remotely, but it's not exactly a unique selling point. Check if the software you use for video conferencing is supported on the Mac.

Really, there are very few major differences any more... the Mac is easy to back up using Time Machine but a PC is easier to upgrade. A PC is generally cheaper but the Mac is often better performing (start-up times, in particular, are very fast in comparison). PC software can be incredibly expensive while Mac software can be cheaper (compare £55 for iWork with whatever Office now costs...). PC software is better known and doesn't have that learning curve... which isn't that steep, really.

Of course, with a Mac you can run parallels or Bootcamp and have a bit of both, but if all you're going to do is work on Windows on it you may as well use a PC.

I know that's not particularly helpful, but to summarise - it's entirely up to you. Your concerns are valid but are far less of a problem than they used to be and I've got on fine running a business split between Mac and PC, and could have run it as well and as easily on either one platform. Can you find someone to borrow a Mac from to do some of your regular tasks - a bit of word processing, doing a presentation in Keynote, that kind of thing?

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Compatability

Is the only issue, email and everything will work fine with Exchange server etc...

Office 2008 is greatly improved in terms of cross compatability with Windows users, the only issues i've ever encountered have been formatting, Powerpoint can be a bit of a pain sending images as a format that Windows can't read - this is only an issue if you're sending a ppt and not the pps however...

I personally switched 2 years ago and i'm the IT Manager at my company, they work better, look better, are more reliable... i agree with your friend it's a good move. Since i got a Mac, 3 other staff have made the switch. I use Parallels to run SAP as that currently doesn't work on a Mac, but that is painless.

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It is a great time to switch to Mac

I also have been a PC user all my life. With the introduction of Microsoft Vista, I abandoned the PC and switched to Mac. Both platforms have pros and cons, so I can't address the question as to why you are considering the switch. With Apple now using Intel processors, now is a great time to make the transition.

There are at least three options for running Office or Office-like software on a Mac, which are Bootcamp, Parallels, and OpenOffice/NeoOffice. These options would allow you to run XP on a Mac instead of OS X, XP in addition to OS X, or switch to a public domain e.g. free Office software suite on OS X giving up Microsoft entirely. The last option will introduce some compatibility issues, depending on the complexity of your Office documents.

Microsoft also distributes their own software, Office and NetMeeting for OS X, however their support for these products comes and goes. You can also visit most Mac Stores where you will find an expert to elaborate on your options.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, except what video conf. software are you using?

A Mac will be superior in all of the things you described, however, what video conferencing software are you using?

Skype appears to be the only Windows and Mac compatible video conferencing software out there. iChat is great, but Mac only. So if you need to conference with Windows machines, we need to know what you will be using.

BTW I have a cutting edge Windows XP Dell laptop and there are still some driver issues with the BIOS and bluetooth. You simply don't have these types of issues with an Apple product. All manuf. will occasionally have a lemon, but it seems like with Windows machines, the drivers aren't even complete when they ship.

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