Reliability of Mac OS versus Windows (Part 2)

The market share difference between the Windows install base and Apple Mac OS is huge. A recent study showed Windows with 88% of total market share with Mac OS at 10% for desktop computers. A school of thought assumes the statistics are skewed by a North American sample extrapolated to the world. Global stats have shown Windows as high as 93% and Mac OS at under 5%. Either way, there is a large slant towards Windows desktops. This is the first statistic skewing perception and reliability. If every 5 systems have some sort of issue, the number of issues in the Windows environment will still dominate through a sheer lead in numbers. The second difference is the business model – Microsoft sells the Windows operating system which is installed and integrated with components certified by hunderds of vendors. Windows must inter-operate successfully with an enormous number of variables if all combinations are taken into account. Apple sells a dozen MACs all engineered to operate successfully with the MAC operating system. The only comparison nearing appropriateness would be to compare a family of Dell Windows PCs or HP Windows PCs with Apple PCs to determine realtive reliability and security differences. All other comparisons are really comparing Apples and oranges.

3 thoughts on “Reliability of Mac OS versus Windows (Part 2)”

  1. If the question is really around reliability than market share is not the pertinent question. Based on the latest data from an independent research organization, Information Technology Intelligence Corp, AIX and other flavors of Unix lead the pack with the least downtime encountered, in a enterprise server environment, which in theory is the most demanding of situations.

    AIX had the least downtime at 15 minutes
    HP/UX averaged 39 minutes
    MAC OSX averaged 37 minutes
    Windows 2003/2008 2.42 hours (down from 3.77 hours)

    The other interesting factoid of the study was the amount of level of expertise required to maintain the given OS-which to an enterprise translates to support costs. A system admin in a UNIX shop has 12.7 years of experience, system admin in a Windows shop 7 years of experience, MacOSX-3 years of experience.

    The business model is admittedly different, however lets look at an example where Microsoft has been able to ‘control’ or ‘engineer’ the solution.

    Windows Mobile has from the start had strict guidelines from Microsoft in regards to CPU, memory, feature set, even screen size.
    Surely using the ‘Apple’ analogy they would be able to create a superior solution? As they do control in that solution, the engineering, dictate the hardware, and have the ability to withdraw licensing from a vendor that does not meet expectations.
    Garter no less, estimates the death of WM in 2010.
    Market share in the most recent reports continue to drop. There is not one product in the top 10 smartphone list by market penetration that runs WM.

    Even the recent release of WM 6.5 seems to at this early stage of the game be a dud. Nevermind the current issues with Pink, T-Mobile, etc.

    Lastly, the argument that the ‘enormus number of variables…’ which I take to imply the various hardware devices, drivers, controllers, etc, is a straw man argument. I would argue that most third party vendors at this stage of the game have their act together, and produce for the most part effective drivers and solutions. The problem continues to be the core Windows architecture and Microsoft’s attempt to band aid solutions.

    Just last week Microsoft released 25+ patches on what has become a monthly calendar entry for most IT shops ‘Microsoft Patch Tuesday’. All of those issues related to technology developed in house, internally, by one organization-Microsoft.

    Even within their own product lines, there does not seem to be a cohesive solution. Example the fact that you cannot install on Windows Server 2008, Sharepoint 2007 without slipstreaming in patches from SP2. Is that a third party issue? Both products are engineered and designed by Microsoft teams. Have you ever heard of such a concept on Mac software, from Apple or third parties?

  2. Apple delivers mammoth update, patches 58 bugs

    These just aren’t publicized as much in Apple’s commercials, but yes, all operating environments require care and feeding.

    From the article: More than half of the vulnerabilities patched today, 32 out of the 58, were accompanied by the phrase “may lead to arbitrary code execution,” which is Apple’s way of saying that a flaw was critical and could be used by attackers to hijack a Mac. Apple does not assign ratings or severity scores to the bugs it patches, unlike other major software makers, such as Microsoft and Oracle.

    My words: Yes, it is a tale of two strategies, Microsoft and the market have put Microsoft’s patching schedule and vulnerabilities under the microscope – one of the costs of a massive market share in critical business applications. Apple chooses a less structured approach, unscheduled patching and a patch classification system which allows for user interpretation of severity.

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