Hawk's Nest

Monday, February 07, 2005

Why Does Windows Still Suck? / Why do PC users put up with so many viruses and worms? Why isn't everyone on a Mac?

Okay, this will get you going in the morning. It's received a lot of attention in the blogosphere this weekend and thanks to Robert Scoble who's pointed to several responses:

**Ryan Rinaldi
Please note Ryan's debunking of the car analogy. Very important distinctions.
**Slashdot comment
**Ars Technica

My 2 cents:

Mark, the author of the article, continues to suffer from a misunderstanding of what Microsoft is doing and what Apple is doing. Microsoft is bringing the PC and its operating system to the common individual. They are providing it to a variety of hardware platforms, not locking a user in to specific hardware. People who buy a PC can do so because it's cheap (Apple thinks the Mini-Mac will change this, we'll see) and it meets their needs. Because of this mass appeal, the range of technical ability varies greatly. I would go so far as to say Microsoft has a majority of uneducated users (in the technical sense). This single fact presents unique challenges to Microsoft which Apple has never had. PC users are more gullible because of their demographic and they certainly don't understand security. Most security problems have to do with social engineering and PC users are the most vulnerable to these attacks. Microsoft has provided methods to keep safe on the Internet when flaws are found in the operating system or its included components. Microsoft can't provide the complete range of tools to keep a user safe on the Internet because of monopoly concerns. Third parties are required to mitigate these threats. The burden is on the PC users who need to familiarize themselves with the tools to keep themselves safe just as they would in any other enterprise of life.

Apple, on the other hand, is a fairly elitist operating system. When you buy one, Apple made the hardware and the operating system. Apple users are generally more highly educated and a very small percentage of computer users. They are a tiny target with greater ability to understand the risks online use might bring. If I were a virus/spyware/malware writer, why would I target this group? It would be a waste of time.

I submit the world would be different if Apple released an operating system which you could load on any hardware. The social engineering and ignorance of the average user would become their achilles' heel. But the reality is, they can't do it. They can't rise to the challenge which Microsoft has undertaken and so successfully achieved. So Mac users like Mark need to wake up and smell the coffee. This isn't the dream world of unchallenged Macintosh but the real world of Microsoft whose operating system continues to solid solution for operating a computer, despite its users.

4 Comments:

  • Mark also fails to understand that the vulnerabilities in Windows exist because they have 90% market share. Since Apple has 3% market share, writing a virus targeted at Apple users is pointless.

    By Blogger Randy Charles Morin, at 5:32 PM  

  • Right on, Real Geek. The great mind share is not focused on finding vulnerabilities in Macintosh product to the same degree it is for Windows. Because the minority love to hate Microsoft, their focus will always be on finding flaws in the company's products until Microsoft is displaced as the premier provider of operating systems for PC hardware.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 6:19 PM  

  • Bravo - I'm not much for adding fuel to Holy Wars, but this is indeed a battle that must be waged so that the MacInfanatics may one day embrace reason and logic! (Don't hold your breath)

    -Bernie

    By Blogger Bernie, at 6:48 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Bernie, at 6:48 PM  

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