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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From talking with his own customers, Schwartau has estimated that Windows adds anywhere from $1,300 to $4,000 to the TCO of each PC, based on support alone. He blames the extra expense mainly on the costs of security software.

Macs are less prone to viruses for a couple of reasons, according to Schwartau. First, due to the much higher preponderance of Windows, far fewer viruses and worms have been written specifically for Mac. Beyond that, however, Schwartau contends that OS X's Unix kernel makes Macs practically impervious to malware at the OS level.

Mac is just as cost-effective as Windows to manage and administer

OS X's Unix kernel also carries other financial advantages. With OS X, it became possible for the first time to administer Macs through the Unix command line. Ever since then, companies embarking on Mac deployments have been able to pull systems administrators from the much bigger pool of Unix and Linux administrators, instead of relying strictly on skilled Mac OS specialists.

This puts Mac OS deployments on the same par as Windows when it comes to the costs of hiring systems administrators, according to IT recruiters. "Unix and Windows administrators both start out at the same salary levels. Salary differentials are based on experience, certifications and specialized skills, not on the OS in use," says Brian Green, executive director of Lloyd IT, an arm of Melville, N.Y.-based Lloyd Staffing.

The hiring field opened up earlier on the network management side. In Macintosh System 7, Apple started to replace Appletalk, its original proprietary network communications protocol, with industry standard TCP/IP communications. Consequently, businesses with Mac-only and mixed-OS implementations didn't need to pay a premium for network management support, either.

Add Macs while hanging on to your investments in other OSes

Because Macs are such good citizens in multi-OS deployments, there's no need to abandon existing investments in other systems by "ripping and replacing." Beyond running Unix applications directly on OS X, you can also operate Windows apps in emulation mode.

In fact, Mac has gotten somewhat of a head start on other OSes in the virtual machine (VM) arena, notes VSM.net's Garcia, who is using software from Parallels and VMWare for Windows virtualization on Mac OS. "This whole virtualization thing is bringing Macs into the mainstream. You can use virtualization to run Windows applications seemingly natively on Mac OS," he says.

The bottom line for Mac OS

You're probably not going to see Fortune 500 firms marching in droves to 100 percent Mac OS deployments, are you? Not yet, anyhow. But something else is afoot. Observers are already noticing a lot more penetration among enterprise departments and SMBs, as customers grow more aware of the multiple financial benefits of Macs. It's certainly a start.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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