Apple Computer as Toyota

Amusing little article in Salon. It is most certainly true that more people are voicing their frustrations with the morass that is the Windows world - spyware, adware, a virus every other second, clunky design choices. Some people are 'swearing off' computers, etc. Will this ever translate to market share increases for Apple? Who knows. Would us Mac users even benefit from being the 800 gorilla? Does Michael Dell have any indie cred? I personally have given up trying to convince people that Macs are better, it is ultimately a futile argument. I just won't help Windows peoples with their computers. I don't hate my XP machine, it's a useful tool sometimes, with different software options, but if I have a choice, I'm always buying an Apple machine. But if you don't care about elegance in your operating systems, that's fine too. Technology | Hallelujah, the Mac is back:
The landscape of the personal computer market has altered. In recent years, the home computer has increasingly become a digital entertainment center; people use it for the Web, they use it for e-mail, and they use it for photos, movies and music.

The Mac is not just good at these few tasks: It's the best there is. There's simply no arguing that Apple's built-in software and operating system make for the single most powerful photo, music and movie system you can buy.

But the things that the Mac is good at make up just one part of the story. There's a flip side -- the increasingly obvious failings of PCs running Microsoft Windows. Among Windows users, there's a rising feeling -- accounted for mostly by anecdotes and not all that well-measured, but nevertheless important -- that the system is becoming too hard to maintain. Talk to experts at computer security firms and they'll give you some pretty scary straight talk about how spyware, adware and viruses are just killing the user experience on an ordinary Windows PC.

It's not unusual for people to throw out their year-old Windows computers because they've become just too clogged with bad junk, says Richard Stiennon, vice president of threat research at the anti-spyware firm Webroot. The Mac, in contrast, simply doesn't suffer such afflictions.

David Gelernter, a computer scientist and tech visionary at Yale, likens today's PC market to the American automobile market of the early 1970s. At the time, Americans were buying American-made junk -- and because they didn't know any better, they were putting up with the junk. “So what happened?” Gelernter asks. “What happened was that Japan started exporting huge numbers of Hondas and Toyotas, and people saw that for a reasonable price they could buy a car that didn't fall apart in two weeks. When you picked it up at the dealer all the parts were in it, the whole thing worked. Until that happened, people were satisfied with the garbage they were getting from Detroit.”
But the main reason that the Mac Mini may find more success in the Windows world than the iMac did is that these days, the Windows world isn't doing too well. There are about 100,000 known pieces of “malware” -- viruses, worms and Trojan horses -- targeted at the Windows operating system, says Vincent Weafer, a computer security expert at Symantec. In addition, there are between 40,000 and 100,000 individual bits of spyware (defined broadly) aimed at the OS. Weafer says that by all accounts, the spyware problem reached a fever pitch during the past year. “Judging by submissions and support calls, it was getting a lot worse,” he says. “We are also seeing a trend where a subset of the programs are becoming a lot more viruslike -- to hide themselves on your machine, they're using methods like viruses to try to become more persistent.” Some people calling Symantec looking for answers to their spyware and virus problems are just beyond help, Weafer says. “They've tried many different things and it doesn't help. They'll end up reinstalling or cleaning it out or buying a new one -- a lot of this stuff is just so deeply embedded, it becomes more and more difficult to get rid of the gunk, the sludge at the bottom of your machine.” Compared to Windows, the Mac is a Fort Knox of security. There are only about 200 pieces of malware known to attack the Mac platform, and security analysts could not identify a single instance -- not one -- of spyware aimed at the Mac. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the Macintosh operating system is inherently more secure than the Windows platform. As a technical matter, the Mac operating system, which is based on Unix, has a much smaller “surface area” for attackers to target, Stiennon says. Windows, by contrast, “is a really dirty OS that requires thousands of system calls to do simple functions -- and every single system call is an opportunity” for an attacker to get at the system, Stiennon explains.
There's more, get a day pass to read it yourself.

{, , }

Tags: , /, /

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 31, 2005 10:04 PM.

Corruption continues unabated was the previous entry in this blog.

Law Barring Junk E-Mail Allows a Flood Instead is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37