Which works better for the modern business MacBook or PC?


Why write this post?

Admittedly, I came into this post with my own ideas and answer to the question posed; Which works better for the modern business MacBook or PC?  I planned to lay out a strong case, present my own opinion and findings from over the years when I made the switch from PC to Mac, however I decided to send out a public poll asking folks to give me feedback on five questions specifically targeting what office users prefer and use in their daily lives.

This post will make my arguments but at the same time showcase responses [albeit my total population surveyed was 68 individuals] from the survey conducted.  To avoid the TL;DR I will say that the responses were mixed but favored PC being the preferred device for working professionals.  Most people surveyed are people I interact with in my professional and community speaking engagements, so they are technical professionals and not representative of the variety of job functions in the modern workforce.  Notwithstanding the latter, it was helpful having the responses especially from folks who represent my fellow Microsoft MVPs, community speakers, technical consultants, web developers, mobile developers, IT administrators, technical trainers, etc. as they interact with the larger audience who do make up that workforce.

To jump straight to my position on the matter from this bookmark

Tooling for conducting survey

This is definitely a plug for Microsoft Forms which I found so easy to use to spin up a quick survey.  The actual survey is an Office 365 Excel workbook that is stored in OneDrive.  The way you author questions is so easy and extensible.

Excel Forms Selection

Excel Forms Selection

Once inside the Excel Form you are able to create questions such as

Survey Question 1 Form

Survey Question 1 Form

You have the freedom and flexibility to select the question type: choice, text, rating, date, ranking, and likert.

Microsoft Form Question Types

Microsoft Form Question Types

There are several configurable options to make your survey capture just the type of data in interesting and user friendly/modern ways.

Excel Form Edit Question Eg.

Excel Form Edit Question Eg.

But enough there, lets get on with it.

MacBook or PC

What the numbers show.  Out of the 68 individuals who responded to the survey below represent the general feeling:

Out of the 68 folks surveyed, 72% or 49 individuals indicated that they DO NOT use a Mac as their primary device.  What you will see later on is that it was a mixture of Windows 10 [actually mostly Windows 10] with some Windows 7 interspersed there

Survey Question 1

Survey Question 1

Moreover, when asked whether or not they would prefer to use a Mac over PC, 62% or 42 individuals said NO.  Granted the way I had the question framed, I did not allow for other responses and even though I allowed for narrative response later on in the survey, if a person already used a Mac, I gave no allowances if they would prefer to use a PC. My assumption is that I would be able to discern that from the textual response.

Survey Question 2

Survey Question 2

Distribution of Devices per User

Overwhelmingly we saw Windows 10 as the dominant Operating System used, MacOS came in second and third was Windows 7.  With the 68 respondents, we had 46 Windows 10, 5 Windows 7, and 17 MacOS. Now, if you have been paying attention, the numbers above don’t work out, either 2 of my MacOS users.  In my pie chart we had 19 people say they use Mac as their primary device but only 17 reported when ask the question about their primary OS when given a choice to select their OS. I can only surmise that 2 folks erroneously selected Windows 7 or Windows 10 that belonged in my MacOS pool.

Survey Question 5

Survey Question 5

Feedback from the respondents

As an effort to get more details from the respondents on their feeling on MacBook or PC, I asked a few open-ended questions in order to expand upon the pointed and binary responses solicited from question 1 and 2.  The responses were quite revealing, and I will admit gave me cause for pause in my thinking on the subject.  Themes common throughout the 68 respondents could be summed up by these two (2) opposing view points.

Windows PC Proponent

Windows PC Proponent

Another viewpoint from someone who is an advocate of Macs

MacBook MacOS Proponent

MacBook MacOS Proponent

Responses received had these recurring themes: If you were a

Windows Proponent

Likes

  • Touchscreen
  • Matches my customers and have all the tools I need for Office 365 everything.
  • Cheaper
  • The tools I use for work have proper accessibility support and can be adapted to support neuro-diversity. I also like how I don’t need 500 different adapters for USB, video etc, just 3 for video

Dislikes

  • Battery
  • Lack of USB C
  • Having to choose between battery, power or weight. I’ve given up on “power” since I don’t run VM or Games on laptops now. I’m very interested in the ARM-based Windows10 that are landing in 2018. Probably will take the power dive for a week’s battery.
  • its huge and heavy
  • The nagging reminders to reboot after updates

Conversely if you were a

Proponent of Macs and MacOS

Likes

  • It just works, no Crashes
  • Lightweight and best Battery Life
  • Speed – Flash Memory and SSD Drive

Dislikes

  • Applications like Office is horrible. Lots of missing features, accounts that get out of sync, …
  • MS Office Apps are inferior to their Windows counterparts
  • Dongles
  • Some apps are less developed on Mac than on Windows
  • No Touchscreen

There were some more humorous comments noted, some of which we have to clean up, but worth showcasing, both lamenting experiences in the Windows sphere

First

Feel the pain of updates

Feel the pain of updates

and more aptly summed up here

 

Windows Developer Outlook

Windows Developer Outlook

Personal Attribution

I spoke to a few of my MVP colleagues and Twitter Tweeps and got some really interesting feedback.

Frankly three of the reasons why only very few in my team get macs:
– costs, the entry Windows Laptop eg. For a Sales person is 500$, the entry Mac is 1500$
– training, the majority of people has never worked with a Mac and I want people to be productive, not having to train their muscle memory to learn knew shortcuts or trying to solve the most basic tasks. Not an issue for tech people but they have their OS preference anyway
– can’t be joined to Azure AD, hence requiring additional management effort

Matthias Eing
CEO, Renore GmbH

 

[08:50, 2/13/2018] What is my strategy is InTune ;-). Developers have preference often, but the frontline worker? Not so much. Open Directory and networking is a giant PITA with Macs as well, more so in blended environments with PCs. Costs are well beyond Macs and you really start to lose out of specialized applications, e.g. Schlumberger, etc. so you have to consider the vertical the business is in.
[08:55, 2/13/2018] You’ll want to separate the sentimental responses from reality ;-). It’s like asking if you’d rather drive a Kia or a Porsche

Informed Source
Microsoft Corp

 

My thoughts on the subject

As I stated in the beginning of this post, I came into this having strong thoughts on whether MacBook or PC should be the default device in business organizations. I still feel the same way, but I now can appreciate differing points of views. What are my opinions? I will frame it in a paragraph and give bullet points to lay out my more pointed claims, but lets set the stage with how what my work duties and community speaking contribution looks like.

  1. My professional background is that of a software developer, for the most part working with Biztalk Server and then SharePoint Server using C# as my programming language
  2. I evolved into more of Web Developer still focusing on SharePoint but branching out to mobile development working mostly with REST API consumption into web parts, web pages, or mobile apps.
  3. My community work involves doing presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint and Demos that previously was on locally hosted VMs, but transitioned to Azure VMs
  4. Today I mainly do Prototypes, Proof of Concepts, Software Architecture and Design Sessions, and Team Lead Activities in my professional life and I rarely work in an office, I mostly work from home with occasional visits to client sites.
  5. Blogging and Code Samples for interesting topics in my spare time in wide ranging topics. To name a few, Serverless Computing, Containers, IoT, Artificial Intelligence

So, I made a switch from PC’s to Macs back in 2013. It came after attending a Microsoft MVP Summit where I saw Xamarin for the first time. After preaching the Microsoft Mobile First – Cloud First mantra for some time, I also made that leap from just fully doing SharePoint to considering SharePoint part of a whole which supported a Web Dev life with Mobile Development being the forefront. Microsoft subsequently doubled down with the Office Graph which became the Microsoft Graph, and made a transition into more Client Side development for SharePoint as well.

My Position on MacBook or PC

We live in a world where we have the following

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • We have ID as a Service (IDaaS) — Think Azure Active Directory, PingIdentity, Okta, and others
  • Mobile Device and IoT Development is growing with no signs of slowing down
  • Most of our Software is accessible with Software as a Service (SaaS) – Think Office 365 Suite, Google Suite, Salesforce, etc

With all of this, I find that I am more productive using a Mac and I strongly advocate its use in corporate institutions.  You dont need to be always tied into Active Directory anymore, IDaaS fixes that, and InTune manages that. For the most part, all your software is accessible via the Cloud, granted not full fidelity all the time. Microsoft however has been focusing on “Consumption” not perpetual licensing. If you are a staunch Windows User, they already have you, their focus is the other people they dont have, the other developers they dont have that can now use Azure as their platform. This is an exciting place to be and most fo those folks live in the Mac/Linux/Ubuntu space.

I wont get into the religion of whats the better development environment. I have done both Locally Hosted VMs on Windows Box, Locally Hosted VMs on Mac Box, Azure VMs accessible through RDP, and No VMS at all using Serverless Programming [Azure Functions and the like], or Containers and ASP.NET Core which runs on both Mac and Windows. I will just say this, read this post, look at the positions, and think… Us Mac users that live in a Microsoft Ecosystem, cant ‘all’ be crazy 🙂

I am not saying to Rip out all the PC’s in your environment either. I am saying in todays world, where we work and operate in a disconnected state more often than not, Macs have a place as corporate devices, its not just for PC’s anymore. Let me know your thoughts please? Cheers.

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