Being the “IT guy” for the small-medium sized company with whom I have been employed as an independent contractor for these past 4+ years, I have noticed a steady trend when setting up our network for newly hired contractors over the years: the younger they are, the more likely they are to be plopping a dreaded “macbook” on my desk. It became a running joke in the office: someone would say there is a new guy/girl I need you to set up and I would ask them “How old?” and if they responded early to mid twenties I would say “Here comes the Mac”, and sure enough, I was generally unpleasantly not surprised.
I began to question this phenomenon after some time and eventually the answer was very clear and obvious: nearly every one of these “kids” was a recent college graduate. It eventually came to be that I was hearing the same reasoning from almost every one of them “Yea, in class they really all but required that we get a mac for day-to-day use and to use the software and programs they were using to teach us, so you pretty much had no choice.”
It was that last part of the statement that particularly stuck with me: “no choice”. Soon I realized, they were right. These young, anti-conformist, anti-capitalist students were being led by the collar by their institutions into purchasing a product that they could have gotten cheaper had they been “allowed” to buy the competitor’s product, which any of us who went through college will tell you, the more money we save, the more likely we aren’t skipping a meal or two or dozen. The professors were locking the students into buying a product they might not necessarily want by using software which was particular to that operating system and then adding spoons full of the “everybody else is” type of socialist mentality and peer-pressure.
These kids were being forced to either conform or be shunned and possibly fall behind their fellow classmates. I personally find the limiting of choice in one’s life to be a bit disturbing, especially when it is done by someone you are paying! These kids pay for the education they are provided and then are told that they must participate in only one portion of a capitalist market to “fit in” with the professor’s (generally ill-informed) views of the tech market.
What I also found to be very common were the responses the young adults would give me after I asked them “why a mac” and they told me their “pretty much had to…” response when I followed up with “Well, now that you are out of college, do you still like it?” Most of them responded with an unenthusiastic “yes” or “for some things, yes I still love it”.
Then I asked, “Do you find it as useful as you did when you were in college?” and nearly every single one has answered a resounding “No!” Most people have responded to that question by telling me how unaware they weree that the mac was so limited in software and overall usefulness in the “real world”. That’s right. The overwhelming majority of the young mac users that I have spoken with have explained to me that they have found that the mac hinders their usefulness as an employee and that if they had it all to do again, they would have chosen a pc.
The bottom line is that outside of art and sound related careers, the mac really falls short in the real world workplace. It much more expensive, less capable and less usefull in day-to-day tasks. The mac still is and for years will probably remain the artists’ friend when it comes to portable computing systems, but when it comes to everyday computing tasks, research and analysis, and software availability the pc blows the mac out of the market. The theory that a mac is less susceptible to hackers and malware has been all-but dissolved in the modern-day as well. What that theory was based on was the fact that it was slightly more difficult to develop hacks for macs than it was for pc, but that relied on the fact that hackers were unwilling to put the few extra hours in to their code because fewer people had macs so they would be able to essentially hack fewer people for the time it took them to develop the hack. Now with more and more unwitting kids have macs, you can bet your selfies on the fact that hackers are finding it more worth their time to develop a mac hack.
In the end, I would say 85-90% of the contractors who end up being hired who initially bring in a mac will come to me within a month with a brand new, 1/4 of the price of a mac pc laptop or notebook and I never see them go the other way around. There are a small percentage of the indoctrinated mac users who still swear by their over-priced “toys”, but in the end, a large majority of them finally come over to the “force” and see the light and the utility of owning a pc.
These are simply my observations based on true situations and people I encounter being a tech guy at my office. Every bit of this is my own personal opinion. If you disagree or agree, I’d love to hear your side. I am still trying to figure out why anyone aside from a Pavlovian college student would be interested in owning an overpriced and under-useful mac. By all means, respond and let me know.
About the author:
IT Guy/Head of Research for an independent research and resources company
Unaffiliated with either mac or pc
Uses a computer: About 9-12 hours a day