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Uncle Walt says "Apple's built-in software still has the edge"

Walt Mossberg, the curmudgeonly, smooth-pated personal technology blogger at The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital, has released his fall computer-buying guide. And when Walt talks, people listen.

Mossberg is usually very kind to Apple products, which probably explains why he gets the latest and greatest equipment sent to him by the guys in Cupertino prior to release, and we don't. In his latest guide, he says some surprisingly nice things about Windows PCs. That's mostly due to the progress in usability and friendliness brought about by the recent release of Windows 7. But he also goes on to say some very interesting things in his lead-in post, titled "Operating Systems Provide New Choices in PC Shopping."

While Walt points out the obvious -- that Windows PCs are usually less expensive than Macs and that Windows 7 has closed the gap between the operating systems in terms of user-friendliness -- he also goes on to say some very nice things about Macs:
But Apple's hardware is stylish and sturdy, and, in my tests, Macs usually boot faster than Windows machines. Plus, Apple's chain of retail stores offers a better buying experience and strong post-purchase support. Also, in my view, Apple's built-in software still has the edge. Snow Leopard is fast and reliable. And it comes with a full suite of excellent built-in programs, including email, photo and video software. Microsoft has stripped Windows 7 of such programs. Some PC makers have restored some or all of these in certain models, although I consider Apple's counterparts better. Another huge plus: The Mac isn't susceptible to the vast majority of viruses and spyware.
That's high praise again from the Prince of Personal Tech, and a list of good arguments for us "Apple Fanboys" to bring up when we're faced with Windows-lovers.

Walt Mossberg, the curmudgeonly, smooth-pated personal technology blogger at The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital, has released his...