Windows or Mac: Which operating system is best for which company?

As a private PC user, you may have asked yourself this question: Should I buy a Windows PC or Mac? With regard to the price and the applications that you want to use on the computer, the answer is often not difficult. Regardless of whether you are just surfing the Internet, writing e-mails and using word processing programs or buying a computer for gaming, Windows is the first choice as the operating system. But many professionals as well as home users rely on Apple’s macOS. In companies in particular, these can pay off. Where are the major differences and for which companies is which operating system best suited?

Windows cheaper, Mac more durable?

It is often believed that Windows PCs are cheaper, but Macs are more durable and will still do their job after years. Why is that? A closer look behind the scenes of both systems provides information:

The range of functions of the two operating systems Windows and macOS are roughly identical. So far, Microsoft has offered its Windows operating system for a fee, and in different versions. The home edition as a 32-bit operating system was sufficient for home users, and the professional version with 64 bits was a must for companies. With Windows 10, Microsoft then provided a free upgrade for all users of Windows 7 and 8, which had to be downloaded by the end of July 2016 and has since been updated automatically without having to install a completely new operating system. When buying a new PC, however, there are one-time costs if you want to install Windows on it. Apple, on the other hand, has always offered its operating system free of charge. However, it can only be installed on Apple computers, which are more expensive to purchase. The hardware components are precisely tailored to the operating system, which leads to better performance overall. PCs that are suitable for Windows do not require such high requirements, but are more susceptible and tend to crash. However, on the one hand, you can better adapt the Windows operating system to your own needs, and Microsoft also makes the selection of hardware components easy for Windows users. Later replacement and upgrading of individual components such as RAM memory, graphics card or hard disk drives is usually not rocket science for Windows PCs. With Apple, however, at least the MacBooks cannot be upgraded, with the iMacs you can at least expand the RAM memory. But the parts run like clockwork, and often for years, because the updates of Apple’s operating system ensure that the computer then runs even better and is faster than slower. However, there may be compatibility problems with older applications when an update is installed. Apple’s peripherals are ideally coordinated, so that all components harmonize perfectly with each other.

There was no need to install an anti-virus program on Apple computers for years because there were no viruses that were susceptible to the macOS operating system. That has changed a bit since Trojans and malware have also found their way into Apple’s operating system. However, Windows PCs are much more susceptible to malware. Virus scanners on Windows computers consume significantly more resources than, for example, the on-board program XProtect on a Mac.

Advantages and disadvantages for companies

Anyone who is an entrepreneur or freelancer is faced with the question of which of the two operating systems, including the hardware, is now better suited for their own purposes, as well as the basic distinguishing features and other questions. In most cases, it really depends on how the computer is used in the company.

The operating system from Microsoft is clearly ahead when it comes to the availability of common as well as company-specific software. A variety of programs, starting with word processing, ERP systems or accounting software, are only available for Windows. Microsoft’s Office packages are also available for Mac, but other programs can sometimes cause problems. SAP and some accounting programs are now available as cloud solutions and can therefore be used regardless of the operating system, but the above-average performance of a Mac computer is not necessary for most applications. For example, anyone who works with appropriate programs in the commercial area and always keeps the Windows computer in good shape, i.e. regularly installs updates and uses a well-functioning virus scanner, should make do with it. Even if all the programs that you want to use are available for the Mac, there may be restrictions in the selection when expanding or changing to other software solutions.

Smaller companies with only a few PC workstations are more flexible than larger ones when it comes to choosing the operating system and the corresponding hardware, and because of pure conviction you can also choose Apple computers. But now the manufacturer is regularly throwing new devices onto the market with the apple, so they have lost their durability over the years. This is how newer MacOS versions rarely work on old Macs, which means that you also have to switch to newer models every few years to stay up to date. Microsoft, on the other hand, supports older versions of Windows even years later and delivers regular updates.
As far as the network capability of both operating systems is concerned, there are hardly any compromises in either case. You can even connect Windows and Mac computers in a network. However, IT professionals are reluctant to run both systems simultaneously in a network. Many file formats are now compatible with each other on both systems, but a few years ago there were considerable problems with managing the rights of both systems in a network. This is now a thing of the past, but with larger networks and the use of servers, the network administrator has to take one or the other into account during setup so that everything works smoothly afterwards. Therefore, Windows computers are increasingly used in larger networks, which are easier to use when it comes to network technology. For larger companies in particular, the IT infrastructure should be well thought out and planned professionally. Wrong decisions, also with regard to the operating system, can cost the company dearly.

One argument per Apple is given when iPads and iPhones are in use. The so-called Mobile Device Management is very important to Apple and enables uncomplicated management of mobile devices and communication with a management server that is located in the cloud.

Macs are often used in the creative field instead of Windows PCs. Graphic design agencies, for example, need computers with particularly good graphic properties and high performance in image processing. The macOS from Apple is almost made for this. Not only Apple screens offer impressive graphics, the graphics cards and other hardware components of Apple computers can also handle multimedia applications. Windows computers also offer the appropriate computing power to edit photos or create graphics, but Macs are often more durable here and can be used over several years without the performance deteriorating noticeably.
But other branches of the company are now increasingly using Apple, especially in the United States. Google and even IBM are among them. In Germany, the publishing giant Axel Springer has been using Apple computers almost exclusively for several years and seems to be doing well.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to work on Macs in creative agencies either. Since Windows computers are clearly preferred by gamers because most games for macOS do not exist, a lot has changed in terms of performance. Although these so-called gamer PCs are used more in the private environment, this does not mean that computers with equivalent properties cannot also be used for video editing or image processing. Corresponding monitors for the professional sector are also available for Windows PCs. In terms of performance, Windows PCs are basically in no way inferior to Macs, only based on experience and also a little for reasons of prestige, you tend to use Mac when it comes to creative work. The applications required for this, such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, have always been available for Mac and have proven themselves for Apple’s operating system for years.

With this checklist you can do the quick test whether a Windows PC or rather a Mac fits your own company:

Per Windows:

✔ Mainly use of office applications (office, bookkeeping,
ERP systems ) ✔ Network cooperation
✔ Good price-performance
ratio ✔ Extensive range of software solutions
✔ High compatibility and distribution

Per Mac:

✔ Better performance thanks to optimally coordinated hardware components
✔ Free operating system
✔ Good workmanship and attractive design
✔ Excellent graphics
properties ✔ Fast computing power
✔ Low susceptibility to viruses, rare crashes


Image 1: © Alexander Limbach # 178324297
Image 2: © contrastwerkstatt # 134582880
Image 3: © Leonid # 257414525