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Why Doesn’t My Wife’s Mac Have This Problem?

By:Christine Fettinger

As a primarily PC support company and PC users, this is a question we hear often enough. Apple does a good job of maintaining the “Apples don’t have problems” mystique when this is not the case.

Most of the time it turns out there is a perception issue. Case in point, a call I took from a client a couple of days ago who was having troubles with a certain web site he uses. Within seconds of launching the java applet it would crash his copy of Internet Explorer 8. So at one point as we were troubleshooting the issue he asked the above question, “How come this never happens on my wife’s Mac?”

One of my first questions to him was, “Have you tried this website on your wife’s Mac?” and the response was, no, the website would only work on PCs. The short of it was that the website’s programmers have a site compatible with a very narrow set of devices; it has to be windows running Internet Explorer 7 or earlier, no Windows Defender, and no intrusion protection on the SonicWALL firewall. It does provide some great tools for him, but it also forces him to operate with some fairly hefty security vulnerabilities to do so.

But ultimately, is the problem or faults Microsoft’s or the web site designer’s? Microsoft’s Vista operating system was perceived as buggy when it first came out, and indeed it was a problematic upgrade for many users, but in actuality roughly 29% of the crash data collected by Microsoft early on was from video card drivers from a specific hardware manufacturer. To re-state that, nearly a third of the crashes (many were not the traditional crash requiring a restart) in Vista were not caused by anything Microsoft did, but a separate company that they had no control over and just had a working relationship with. Microsoft, however, wound up with the egg on their face because all the user saw was that their computer crashed.

In the case of the afore-mentioned client, it was not that the Mac was more stable, but that it was more limited in what it could do because of a third party who had no affiliation with either Apple or Microsoft. This is a situation that people should keep in mind. Apple would love it if you bought in to the hype and mind set, but it really is making a descision on false pretenses.