The Big Debate: Mac vs. PC

We've all seen the commercials. "I'm a Mac," "I'm a PC." The Apple sponsored commercials show the differences between the Mac and the PC in a humorous way, giving the Mac the edge. But, what don't the commercials show you? What do PC's have that's better? Are Mac's really the best choice all around, or is there a better option for small business owners? Let's explore.

Back to the Basics
Performance is one of the most important factors when deciding on which computer to buy for your small business. In general, the performance of any computer depends on the random access memory (RAM) which comes with your computer. The RAM is commonly referred to as the memory of your computer. More memory means a faster boot up and a more efficient experience. Based on information from various websites and my own personal experience with my PC and my college roommates' Mac, the two are very different. I have had one PC with Windows XP and one with Vista. Although Vista is the newer of the two Microsoft platforms, I have had more success, less meltdowns, and less confusion with XP . That being said, while my PC was being fixed during college (see more below), I used my roommate's Mac for a few weeks. The Mac had the Windows system installed, and it worked just as well as my PC, if not better. I was very impressed with the quick start-up with the Mac compared to my PC. I have no real long-term Mac OS experience to share.

"Ware" and Tear
Windows can now run on both the PC and the Mac, which is beneficial to small businesses as most Americans are accustomed to using the Windows platform. Additionally, both PCs and Macs have software that are essential to small businesses, such as accounting software. In regards to additional software, the PC has an unlimited amount of software that can be installed, from media to games and more. Unfortunately, the Mac is limited on what software they can install on their computers. Unique businesses who need special programs and software will most likely have better luck with a PC as there is a better chance that the software will be compatible.  The hardware of the Mac and PC are completely different. Mac has a sleek and modern look on all types of computers while PCs are catching up to their signature look. For a small business, a computer is a computer, and the looks aren't necessarily what owners are concerned with anyways.

Media Frenzy
Both Mac and PC have the capabilities for media, including music, pictures, and videos. The Mac has a great program, iLife, which makes organizing pictures, constructing a video, and playing music via a remote easy for even the novice user. The Mac is a great bet for those small businesses who are heavily involved with design, art, and media. On the other hand, PCs can use Windows Media Center which allows for integrated sharing on different services. This allows your computer to connect to XBox, PlayStation, other computers, or TVs.

User Friendly
One of the most important questions when it comes to deciding between a PC and a Mac is how user friendly the computer is. PCs are Windows based, which is what the majority of people are used to. Vista has new upgrades to ensure that each move you make regarding system operations is the one you want to make. In other words, they try to make sure users are sure of what they're doing by having them click "continue" for each step. On the other hand, Macs have easy to follow tutorials so any user can learn how to use their computer. Additionally, Mac programs have the same feel and routine regardless of what program you are using, making it easier for those who are just learning. Also, Macs have the ability for Windows on their system, making it easier for Microsoft users to convert to Macs.

Show Me The Money
The upfront cost of owning a computer shows that the PC fares better than that Mac. Some PCs can cost about $500, while the Mac is usually around $1,000. Initially, if your small business is looking for a price efficient computer, the PC is the computer for you. Although, keep in mind the various costs that come with purchasing a PC than a Mac. For example, Macs have a stellar virus protection program, mostly because hackers are more interested in PCs due to the number of users. That being said, the price of the Mac comes with an exceptional anti-virus system. The cost of PCs go up when taking into consideration the upkeep with updates, downloads, and, most importantly, virus protection. Adding in those components, the Mac fares better in price. PCs are more vulnerable to viruses, which I found out the hard way by spending additional money to repair my computer and for advanced antivirus software. My roommate with a Mac never had a problem, nor has spent any additional money on issues with her computer.

The Bottom Line
So, PC or Mac? Small businesses are concerned, for the most part, with performance, ease of use, and cost. Since Microsoft can be used on either platform, and the RAM depends on the speed of the computer, there is no clear winner there. For the ease of use, Mac wins this one with its easy tutorials and the lack of confusion that comes with Vista. The cost issue is the kicker. Paying the amount up front for a Mac will definitely leave your bank account feeling a bit drained. Buying a PC will be cheap at first, but adding on the additional antivirus protection, software, and updates will add to your expenses. So, which should you purchase?

  • If you're looking for a computer that is easy to use, go with a Mac, but you will be paying more money for it.
  • If you're looking for max compatibility, go with a PC, where you will spend less money.


Every small business has different computer needs. Choose the one that is right for you and your business.