The Case For Getting a Mac

A reader–we’ll call him Junior–writes with an Apple-related quandary. He wants one, but his bosses don’t want him to have one. He works in an educational institution (which is odd, because usually they’re keeners for the Apple):

As my role expands and changes I’m working on more and more rich media. We have an initiative to get started on podcasting, screen casts, video tutorials, image and logo development and other duties.

Problem is, I’m limited my by hardware and software. We have money in the budget of our department and I want a mac but the head of the tech departments says that without a really convincing argument he’s going to purchase a PC for a new editing suite.

The fact that I’m an experienced mac user doesn’t matter, it’s a moot point as he says that wasn’t the reason they hired me plus what if I leave, no one will use it (i counter you can run it as a PC of course). Both platforms can output the same formats, so that in that regard the platforms are equal. I can’t argue that we need one to help with student support as we don’t support macs.

So, the question is, can you think of any reason why I need a mac? How is it superior? How can I break though to the head of technology? Why will a mac help to keep the department and faculty competitive?

Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Junior has replied in the comments with, well, some comments.


  1. Unfortunately there’s nothing to tell your IT Chief that will change his position. His reasoning has more to do with not wanting to support another operating system than any reason you may give him.
    In that respect he has a valid point.
    He however, fails to realize that a Mac running OSX will likely play nicely and be of minimal effort to support.
    Most IT proffessionals that have gotten beyond their Mac bigotries have already done so. Many IT’s have realized that OSX with it’s UNIX underpinnings, is solid and robust. It’s also a very valid and growing alternative to Windows.
    He’s one of the types that wants nothing to rock the boat. Eventually he’ll evolve his thinking and allow technolgy beyond status quo. Until then….I think you are going to be stuck with a new Windows machine.

  2. Gee, I think creates its PodCast using the FREE Apple Garageband.

    I am a serious Mac fan, being fluent with both platforms and knowing all the things Windows DOESN’T do well. Your friend should offer to Dual-Boot (two computers for the price of one), paying for a copy of XP HIMSELF if there is no site license.

    If the Podcast is delivered via a web page, a Mac is essential, anyway, so the page can be “checked” on all the common browsers.

  3. 1. How about the simple argument that it will make Junior happier to use the Mac? And a happy worker is a much better worker, especially if they’re working on creative work.

    2. Alternately, there’s the fact that the Mac comes loaded with rich media software that just works, all together, with all the peripherals. More advanced software? Yeah, that works too. And is easy to find. And likely already built for the Mac because that’s what everyone uses.

    2. (a) Seriously, what’s the ROI of putting on pants in the morning? Yet you can bet it gets done. No one asks the accounting team to use a Mac. Choose the right tool(set) for the job.

    2. (b) In my experience the ‘show me the business case’ argument is usually horseshit thrown out because people are afraid of difference and too lazy to learn. That’s a huge, gross, generalization and it’s fun to make.

    3. If Junior really believes in the Mac, tell him to buy his own and charge the usage of it back to the school on an hourly basis. Or take the per-PC cost they have for his workstation (plus all the software) and augment it with his own cash.

  4. I agree that IT folks in general are justified in not wanting to support multiple OS’s. He (reasonably) doesn’t want to be called to your office to fix something he isn’t familiar with, and he’s (somewhat less reasonably) worried that your mac won’t play nice with his network, email, etc. systems. However, it is VERY likely that content creators at this educational institution (if it’s large enough) already have macs, so he may be able to find some allies if he does a little research.

    In terms of cost of ownership, however, I think he can make a good cost argument – the Mac will come with a great audio editing/producing suite (garageband), OK basic video editing (iMovie ’08), and good DVD authoring (iDVD). If you need better video editing software, FinalCut Express is EXCELLENT, and only costs $179 for an academic license.

    Find out what the roughly equivalent audio and video content creation software is, and price out a system on the PC side with all the necessary additions (Firewire for connecting to cameras, external storage, DVD burners, etc.). I suspect that there is _no_ way that you can get a similar hardware/software capability on the PC side for close to the same money. I think he could also collect reviews of video and audio editing software from both sides and show how well reviewed the Apple software is compared to the PC stuff (there WILL be some excellent PC software, by the way, but it will likely be pricey).

    Finally, he could make a case that he wants the Mac for content creation, but he would let the IT guy set it up ALSO as a PC. Let him set up the BootCamp side of your Mac however he wants for email, word processing, etc. Then your friend can use the Mac side for the content creation.

    Hope this helps.

  5. I have to wonder whether the IT chief has the best interests of the organization at heart. If Junior is likely to do his work better and more efficiently with a Mac (which seems likely, since that’s what he’s familiar with, and it is pretty much the industry standard for the kind of work he’s being asked to do), any minimal initial capital and ongoing support costs should easily recoup themselves in his doing his job better.

    But that’s not an easy argument to make to the decision maker who may not share that opinion.

  6. try this…

    tell them that with virtualization software, a mac will let you run OSX, windows and linux simultaneously and move files between all these environments, which not only means you will need fewer machines in the future, but it will give you the ability to run practically any piece of software for any operating you access to the best tools of each platform.

    tell them that the days of a single business platform are long over and that to be competitive you need to comfortable using multiple platforms and that this hardware would allow you to become more cross-platform saavy.

  7. Junior should go read some of the other “valid complaints” at

    Introducing a new platform into the mix will be a convenience for Junior and a potential pain for everybody (including Junior). If there are any connectivity or compatibility issues, Junior will impose extra work on the IT people, or more likely (since “we don’t support Macs”) he’ll be forced to become a geek and figure everything else himself (find the drivers, patches, etc.).

    I don’t know if Junior is “just a user” or a full-on geek when it comes to administering Macs. If he’s the former, I’d say it’s outright irresponsible to recommend that virtualization will save the day. I noticed that the L-word slipped into David R’s comment above for no reason in particular; sure you can run Linux on a Mac with virtualization, but what does that have to do with Junior’s work?

    There are also financial and administrative complications in introducing a new supplier and order process into an organization that probably has an established relationship with one or two IT providers. The transaction costs are non-trivial.

  8. Thank you all for your valid and excellent feedback.

    In a previous life I worked directly with Apple and was Apple certified in several different areas. I’m very proficient with the mac so that’s not an issue.

    Suppliers aren’t an issue as purchasing is done though an intermediary that supports a variety of manufactures.

    The unit would be a stand-alone production unit. I wouldn’t check my email on it and it’s doubtful that it would be required to authenticate to active directory. It may not even be connected to the Internet. Also it would be locked down, even with my experience as a system admin.

    Making me happy isn’t a priority. I knew it was a PC only environment when I accepted the job.

    I can’t buy my own and charge it back to the institution. That may fly at a private company but at a public institution it’s not so kosher (at least in this case).

    In the end BootCamp and, strangely perhaps, GarageBand are my best arguments. I’ve created a little chart and will be meeting tomorrow with the boss man. Fingers are crossed and I’ll be sure to update you. Thank you again for all your feedback thus far.

  9. Looks like I wasn’t convincing enough. Dude, I’m getting a Dell. damn. Thanks so much for posting this Darren.

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