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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.

And that's where Windows 8 really differs. The Microsoft design interface - as Metro is now called - is fully optimised for touch screens. Amazingly, it manages to redefine gestures. Swiping to close apps or dragging open the Charm bar on a touch screen is natural without ever copying iOS.

However, many of the gestures translate clumsily to environments without touchscreens. A case of too much, too soon?


Mac : 7

Windows : 6


9) Windows 8 verses OS X - Messaging

With incremental updates to iOS and OS X, Apple has done a sterling job of integrating messaging between Apple devices. Facetime on iOS 6 or Mountain Lion works seamlessly. Messages sent to iPhone or email addresses are smartly routed, blurring the divide between being on the move and at the desktop.

What does Windows 8 have to compete? Messaging revamped Windows 8 style. Clean and simple, the app automatically adds other accounts you've connected using People (though, in the Preview version we tested this was still a little glitchy).

There's no SMS integration and, overall, the functionality is less complex than the desktop application it replaces, Windows Live Messenger.


Mac : 9

Windows : 5


10) Windows 8 verses OS X - Web Browsing

Let's be blunt here - Safari is better than Internet Explorer. Any version of Internet Explorer. It's better because it puts usability and web standards first, built around an engine that renders HTML5 faster and with more fidelity.

The Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer seeks to reduce much of the bloat and clutter associated with previous versions - and it looks great in full-screen mode. But Windows 8 ships with not one but two versions of Internet Explorer.

One version is optimised for the default Windows 8, full-screen view. The other is for desktop use in windowed mode. And they're different, with support for different plug-ins.

Both use the same rendering engine, but which shell loads up at runtime depends on which 'mode' you're in. It reinforces the sense that Windows 8 is actually two operating systems disguised as one.


Mac : 8

Windows : 5


11) Windows 8 verses OS X - The Cloud

Both Windows 8 and Mountain Lion have cloud integration built in, but the emphasis is different on each device. In Mountain Lion, it's iCloud - a service that enables you to synchronise files across devices. That includes Windows PCs.

In Windows 8 the service is Skydrive, a cloud storage and document editing solution with six years online. It's only now, with Windows integration, that it really feels like it has come of age. Revamped with a Windows 8 style minimal layout, Skydrive is now easy to navigate and a free to use. With online versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint, it's a useful addition to the OS.


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