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Microsoft Windows 8 versus OS X Mountain Lion

Karl Hodge | Oct. 30, 2012
Mortal frenemies Apple and Microsoft have been locked in battle since 1984, when the first Macintosh shipped. Apple has always been the innovator; the prestige developer with big ideas. Microsoft took care of the mundane side of the market, catering for enterprise and home, developing solid products that ran on a range of hardware.

Many of the old visual cues have simply been binned. The old Start button has been replaced by the Charm bar, for example, which is hidden by default. To activate it, you have to move the mouse to a corner of the screen or swipe from the right-hand side of the desktop.

With Windows 8, Microsoft seem determined to take a "one-size-fits-all" approach - and bully users into adopting a new interface metaphor too soon.

In contrast, Apple is developing operating systems that are optimised for their environments. OS X and iOS are converging towards the same point, at an appropriate pace.


Mac : 8

Windows : 4


3) Windows 8 verses OS X - Administration

It's a cliche for critics of Mac OS to suggest that it's a difficult operating system to manage.

This is a point of view based largely on the experience of users prior to OS X. The modern Mac operating system - or rather Darwin, its kernel - is based on a variant of BSD UNIX. As an OS, that makes it as accessible to tweaking and troubleshooting by administration level users as any.

Furthermore, OS X's System Preferences expose most of the user, network, application and interface settings you need to access on a day to day basis.

Conversely, the key requirement that Windows is accessible to consumer users has made it more and more difficult to manage over time. The old Control Panel is still accessible but, again, hidden. There are Administrative tools too, but access to them is disabled by default.

In short, although Windows 8 does offer many system management options, they're buried deep and scattered wide.


Mac : 7

Windows : 6


4) Windows 8 verses OS X - Security

We know that Macs now have their own malware. We know that Flashback managed to infect half a million Macs earlier this year and that examples of Mac "Scareware" have been spotted in the wild.

It's all a drop in the ocean compared to the problems Windows users face.

Apple responded positively and swiftly, adding Gatekeeper to Lion then ramping up the default security settings in Mountain Lion. OS X also features a built in firewall and easy to configure network settings.

Still, this is one skirmish Microsoft wins. The Windows 8 firewall and anti-malware tools offers much more than its OS X equivalent.

Macs may be more intrinsically secure, but Windows is fighting the fight more fiercely.


Mac : 7

Windows : 7


5) Windows 8 verses OS X - Social Media

Mountain Lion emulates iOS, with built in notifications from communication tools and connected social networks. When you've configured a social networking service, you get alerts in the notifications side bar and can check updates and messages from the Desktop.


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