Eight Financial Reasons Why You Should Use Mac OS

Mac OS is the hands-down operating system winner, from the perspective of cost effectiveness.

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"The Mac is the simplest machine you'll ever put your hands on," agrees Lannie Hall, a RE/MAX Realtor in Atlanta, Ga. After rather effortlessly teaching himself to use the Mac, Hall has managed to produce all of his own brochures and other marketing materials, working only with his assistant. This spares him the considerable expense of outside designers and printing firms. Hall showcases his work on the Web at http://www.hackberrycourt.com.

Some might argue that Microsoft has been gradually closing the desktop usability gap through Windows 98, Windows XP and now Vista. But although the differences might be more subtle now, Macs are still easier to use, according to Schwartau. "Those new UACs (user access controls) in Vista can really be murder for 'Ma and Pa User,'" he says.

Due to the Mac's greater ease of use, as well as a greater tendency toward informal peer-to-peer support, Mac users tend to place far fewer help desk calls—and this, in turn, helps to lower tech support costs, according to Gistics CEO and President Michael Moon.

Also in the usability arena, in-place upgrades tend to run more smoothly on Mac OS, according to Gartner's Silver. "Reinstallation of Mac applications, data and user settings is more elegant, and this can work as a cost benefit," the Gartner analyst says.

Mac users are more productive workers

Whether in publishing/graphics/new media or in other fields, Mac desktop users also tend to be more productive at work, a finding that's long shown up in TCO and ROI analyses.

Over the past few years, Gistics has stopped producing large-scale ROI reports in favor of doing custom consulting for individual customers such as Hallmark Cards and Nintendo. Hallmark, by the way, has purchased a whopping total of 10,000 Macs over the past 20 years for use in its creative department.

"But Macintosh remains the most productive platform for workflow in professional publishing," Moon maintains. He attributes the greater productivity largely to the Macintosh's advantages in managing color profiles and achieving "single-pixel precision," for crisper graphics. "You certainly don't want a client telling you, 'I'm not paying for the ad because the color is incorrect,'" Moon says.

Schwartau's TCO tool, too, uses productivity as a major ingredient. In addition to productivity losses/gains, the tool incorporates such factors as reliability costs, downtime per user per year, reboots, system maintenance and administration, and the prorated costs of per user upgrades and patches.

Macs last longer

Users also concur about the Mac's relative longevity. Hall, for example, is still using the same Mac G4 system he purchased six years ago, although he's since bought two more Macs for use in his real estate practice.

"Before that, I was fortunate if I could get 12 or 13 months out of a Windows PC. It usually got corrupted long before that," he explains.

Mac OS is more secure

Hall is hardly alone in his frustration over Windows crashes and viruses. "With Mac OS, you don't have to worry as much about malware. So you don't have to run as much software in the background for dealing with the problem," says VMU.net's Garcia.

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