Does Vista Outperform OS X? A Surprising Comparison

Recently, a provocative piece by Preston Gralla at ComputerWorld, titled Five reasons why Vista beats Mac OS X, caught my attention. Despite its obvious intention to stir debate, I feel compelled to address the points raised, not from the perspective of a die-hard Mac enthusiast, but as someone who has extensive experience with both platforms.

Let’s delve into the arguments presented by Gralla, examining each claim critically.

1. Vista runs more software

It’s a fact that Windows Vista supports a broader range of both free and commercial software compared to OS X. This is not surprising given Windows’ dominance in the market. However, the sheer volume of software isn’t always indicative of quality. As a former Windows user, I was impressed by the quality and affordability of Mac applications, particularly those from independent developers. The argument that Vista is superior because it supports more enterprise software is somewhat flawed.

Many large organizations still prefer Windows XP over Vista due to better compatibility with their existing systems. Even with Vista SP1, compatibility issues persist. Moreover, Gralla’s criticism of virtualization software like VMWare Fusion and Parallels is misplaced, as these tools are widely used and generally perform well in corporate settings. The argument overlooks the significant improvements in software compatibility following the Intel transition by Macs.

2. Vista is safer

While it’s true that every operating system has vulnerabilities, the assertion that Vista is inherently safer than OS X is questionable. Comparing the security features of Vista to an older version of OS X (10.4) rather than the more contemporary OS X 10.5 doesn’t provide a fair comparison. Security is increasingly becoming a matter of user behavior rather than inherent system vulnerabilities.


It’s the money, stupid

The argument that Macs are overpriced is common, yet it overlooks the hidden costs associated with PCs, such as additional software and removal of unwanted programs. Furthermore, the reliability and longevity of Macs may provide better value in the long run. When comparing similarly configured systems from other manufacturers, prices are often comparable.

4. The Mac is closed; Vista is open

While it’s true that you can’t build a Mac from scratch as you can with a PC, the benefits of a tightly integrated system are significant. Apple’s hardware and software are designed to work seamlessly together, providing a more stable and efficient experience. Additionally, the Mac community is vibrant and innovative, often finding ways to customize and enhance their systems.

5. Two words — Steve Jobs

Gralla concludes with a comparison of leadership, pitting Steve Jobs against Steve Ballmer.

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Brian is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he shares his insights and expertise on all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Brian covers a wide range of topics, from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the intricacies of macOS and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics accessible to all readers. Brian’s enthusiasm for Apple products shines through in every article he writes.