8 Reasons Windows Users Don’t Switch

by Steven Leigh Oct 02, 2007

Let me say it right off the bat: Macs running OS X give the best computing experience on the planet. It’s not that Macs are perfect, but compared to everything else, there is nothing like the Mac experience. With that in mind, it’s difficult for many Mac users to comprehend why there are so many Windows users suffering needlessly by running a Windows system. That’s where I come in.

I have been a die-hard Windows user since I started computing. If you had told me I would switch to Mac at any point in the future, I would have laughed at you. There was nothing that could ever make me switch! Well, that didn’t exactly last forever, but as a recent Mac “switcher,” I have a unique perspective on both worlds. Experienced Mac users may not have the perspective that it takes to see what makes Windows users stay with Microsoft, and let’s face it, some Mac users (not you or me, of course) are just downright zealots who think that anyone using Windows should be cast into the fiery pits of Mount Doom and forgotten for all eternity. (Nerd alert!)

So allow me to take an objective look at what keeps some Windows users from switching, from the perspective of someone who has resisted switching to Mac for a long time and was looking for any excuse to stay with Windows. And once you’ve read this article, check out 8 Reasons Windows Users Do Switch to Mac to learn what is working.

1. Ignorance
Ignorance is merely a lack of knowledge, and when it comes to Macs, most Windows users, myself included, are extremely uninformed. My experiences with Macs were mostly pre-OS X, before the really good stuff began to happen, and I made a decision that Macs were not for me and never looked back. Many Windows users think they’ll have to “re-learn everything” and that nothing will be familiar. While this is partly true, Macs are so much easier to use; many beginners find it easier to do most tasks intuitively, without having to be taught or open a manual. As someone who has spent long hours teaching family and friends how to do simple tasks like email attachments, I can you tell that the same cannot be said about Windows.

2. The Office
No, I’m not blaming Steve Carell, I’m talking about where you work. Most office environments run Windows, period. While this is beginning to change, the reality is that the majority of people are using Windows at the office. If you need to bring your work home and get things done, it makes sense that you should run Windows at home, right? Not really, but the average Windows user doesn’t know about Office for Macs, or that their files will still be compatible. They don’t realize how easy it is to work across both platforms, or that they can even run Windows on their Mac when all else fails. Even if they do know these things, they figure that it will be more difficult to work on two platforms than it is worth.  Apple is doing a great job lately of educating people on these misunderstandings, but it is still the prevailing thought among Windows users. Even if the Mac doesn’t get a strong hold on the business market, it’s important that people know they’re capable of it.

3. Hardware
I have always been a bit of a hardware geek, and used to enjoy building my own machines. Every few years, I would upgrade the motherboard and processor, and re-use the case, the hard drives, and power supply, and could make a significant upgrade for $400-500. I can never do this with a Mac. Hardware geeks are hard to convince for this very reason, and even average Windows users may scoff at something like an iMac because they don’t want to pay for a new monitor every time they upgrade their computer. Mac Minis are popular with Windows switchers because they can use their current monitor, mouse, and keyboard and not have them bundled as with an iMac. This is becoming less of an issue as the price of Macs have come down considerably, and technology moves so fast nowadays, you’ll likely to want to upgrade almost every component every few years anyway. As a former system-builder, I’m now at a point in my life where I would rather pay a little extra for a system that works right out of the box and has great support than save a few hundred dollars at the cost of countless hours of being my own tech support.

4. Price
The perception by Windows users is that Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs. This may have been true in the past, but the new Macs are very comparably priced to similarly equipped PCs. Unfortunately, the perception remains. Budget PCs may undercut Mac prices, but budget PCs sacrifice quality parts and support. Apple has shown that they are not interested in competing in the budget computer market, and it’s a smart move, as the margins in this area are extremely small. Windows users should consider what they’re getting for the extra money. Apple’s support is top-notch, the included software, such as iLife, is stellar, and the quality and design of the machines is always first-class.

5. Lies
Let’s face it: Apple tends to bend the truth once in a while, especially about Microsoft and Windows. One of the “Get a Mac” ads states that Windows is for spreadsheets and pie-charts, while Macs are for “fun stuff” like photos, movies, etc. To Mac users, this seems both funny and true. Windows users, however, are thinking of the aisles and aisles of games that are available for Windows, while there is a half-shelf devoted to games for the Mac. I don’t know about you, but I can only have so much fun playing with photos. Things like this just sound like lies, and they sometimes present Apple as a company that has to lie about its competitors to get business. Other ads point out flaws in Windows that are so true it hurts, especially letting people know that Macs don’t get viruses, or that Macs include a lot more useful software and less bloat than Windows. Don’t get me wrong, I take the commercials as a light-hearted jab, as they are intended, but some of them bend the truth so much that it creates mistrust.

6. Windows Bashing
Apple and Steve Jobs are constantly making jabs at Vista and Microsoft, and Mac users follow suit. That’s understandable, but when Steve Jobs is constantly berating Vista and Microsoft instead of touting the features and advantages of Apple’s own products, it makes Windows users think that Macs don’t have much going for them. I remember watching the 20 or 30 minute Vista-bashing session at the WWDC conference and wondering why Steve Jobs is so insecure that he has to berate the opposition. Can you imagine shopping for a car and having the salesman only talk about what’s wrong with the competition’s cars? This always reminds me of John Kerry, whose entire campaign was about bashing Bush instead of telling you why he was a good candidate himself. It didn’t work for him either. Apple, your products are the best in the industry. Act like it.

7. Vista
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, but you need to sit down first. Windows Vista is actually a good operating system! There. I said it. The ugly truth is that Vista is the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, and for many users, it is good enough. That’s right, good enough. I really like Vista. It fixes so many of the little issues that have plagued me for years, and if I had to use Windows, it’s the version I would use. But now that I have spent time with OS X, I could never go back. For Windows users who have never touched OS X, or are resisting Macs for any of the reasons listed here, Vista is the best operating system they have ever used. I know, I pity them too, but all we can do is hope that they see the light eventually.

8. Mac Users
Okay, I’m not talking about you or me here, but there are some Mac users out there who have just a little too much love for Apple. When they are shouting (or typing in all caps) about how much better Macs are, they’re not convincing anyone to switch, they are scaring them away. Even well-intentioned Mac users can sometimes get a little carried away. I’ve had many friends lecture me for hours on end that I was stupid not to switch, and all it did was push me further away. In contrast, when I got a chance to sit down and quietly use a Mac, I began to enjoy the experience, and luckily, a friend was smart enough to answer my questions and just let me play for a while, and it made all the difference.

Apple is doing so much right these days. I am sometimes awestruck by their constant stream of good decisions, but there are still so many Windows users unwilling to take the bait. I think it helps to know what we’re up against when we’re trying to convince Windows users to join the Mac side, and I hope I have provided some insight.

Did I miss some reasons? I’d love to read them in the comments.


  • “Aisles and aisles of Windows games”? What store are you shopping at? You’re lucky if you find one glorified bookshelf full of games for Windows if you walk into a Gamestop or Electronics Boutique these days. 90% of the store is dedicated to consoles and the “Games for Windows” strategy Microsoft has employed doesn’t seem to be helping this.

    Keith Sheehan had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 11
  • Reason 4 (Price)

    When I decided to buy a Mac, it was because I was intrigued by the Mac mini. However, after I priced it out, I determined that in my case, at the time, the 17-inch iMac was not only cheaper, it was the most computer per dollar of all of Apple’s models. There’s a lot to be said for proper price comparisons.

    Reason 8 (Mac Users)

    For twenty years, whenever someone asked me if I would ever get a Mac, I said, “No, I worship a jealous God.” I only bought a Mac because I needed a backup machine and Linux didn’t work out. A year later, I discovered to my great surprise that the Mac had become my main computer.

    When I was a kid, we had to sell cookies for the YMCA. We had oversaturated the neighborhood so badly that when I rang on one doorbell, the man who answered just shouted “I don’t need any YMCA cookies” and slammed the door. People are so badly battered by over-zealous Mac users that they react like that man.

    If you oversell your product and insult your potential converts, you become just one more of those door-to-door religion salesmen that everyone dreads. No one hears your message; they just want you to go away. Everything the Mac zealots say is true, but it comes across to Windows users as utopian and delusional. Let’s soft-sell people into using Macs rather than beating them over the head with them.

    Hugmup had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 40
  • I too am a recent (or rather recent) convert to Mac from Windows, and must say that my experience has been quite pleasant. I try not to get over zealous about my experience when speaking to friends and family, even though I sometimes wish I could grab them by the shoulders and scream “Do yourself a favor!”.
    As for the first post, you are correct in your comment about Gamestop and EB, however, ever take a trip to Best Buy? Maybe a CompUSA? If not, let me enlighten you to one little fact: they do have aisles and aisles of software for Windows, and have at least one to two aisles of games. This is quickly becoming less of an issues anyhow for hard core windows gamers, as the use of boot camp allows you to partake in the wonderful world of windows gaming, yet retain the working elegance of OS X. I was, or rather still am a big time windows gamer, although I do love my XBox 360, and use boot camp often for just that purpose. Yes it does seem like a bit of a pain in the rump to have to reboot, but I can tell you that my Mac Pro is “more” than capable of running anything out there for Windows.
    Overall however, I will say that my experience with Macs have been stellar. I also used to be a “system builder” and built my fair share of systems for family and friends, however now a days when asked what they should get, I simply share some of the pros and cons of switching to Mac, try and give a very level headed opinion based on my personal experience, and let them know that if they choose to switch, there are a ton of resources to help them make that leap of faith, including myself.

    CanadianJeepGuy had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 2
  • Vista is a good operating system? The best Microsoft has put out? If you had said that of WinXP I’d have agreed but given that my new Vista work notebook had to be upgraded to WinXP three days ago for me to be able to scan, print, and say on our network, I just cannot agree. And at home? My media PC was down more than it was up. No, Vista is the biggest mistake MS has ever released.

    davidwb had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 32
  • Great comments from you all. 

    Even though I think Vista is great, as I said in the article, it’s definitely not good enough to keep using it.  Compatibility issues like yours are the main drawbacks, and that’s a HUGE drawback.  I will likely write a more detailed article soon about the best and worst of Vista (mostly worst), and I will be able to elaborate more.  Still, my main point in this article is that Vista is not as bad as Steve Jobs and Apple would like you to believe.

    I was thinking specifically of CompUSA, where there are multiple aisles of Windows games, and only one little shelf of Mac games.  Obviously, console games are even more prevalent than either Windows or Mac games, but that’s not really the point.

    Steven Leigh had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 13
  • Dear All Mac critics,

    For me one reason,  we never have some leading professional application for MAc for certain domain of activities.

    CAD/CAM: nothing like PRO/E, Unigraphics, etc… and the list is long !
    Also : For 3d the reputation of the platform is really bad, regards to Pixologic, Zbrush have a lot of delay on our platform , you can say : we have Modo, but in three d, we talk about pipeline and for the MAc the only serious app is Maxon C4d.

    For PC, its a huge choice of weapons…

    That’s on the side of manufacturing stuff, but still there’s a wind of change… but takes time….

    We have the video ! Yes !!!! You can make the best editing on a mac

    2d no problem !

    We have Artmatic, Vtrack, Voyager, and Metasynth great apps only for the MAc… video editing and more… graphics ... landscape….

    We have a very good OS, but still nobody think so ! I’m still waiting for Leopard to show how far we are…

    And we are the best fans in the world…

    But still I need a Pc for three d graphics, and that’s make me mad !

    See ya folks…..


    boblog had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 3
  • As a recent convert myself, I can say you’re definitely right. If you just put a Windows user in a room with an Mac instead of bashing them over the head with it, they’ll eventually realize how much better their computing experience really is. My wife got a Mac and I slowly began to realize just how annoying Windows was in comparison…so eventually I had to admit I was wrong (not easy), and I bought a Macbook.

    As for my PCs and the hardware geek in me: what pushed me over the edge was my yearly Windows reinstall. Instead of spending an afternoon putting all that crap back on my PC, I installed Linux. It is easy to use, comes with tons of GUI options, stable (at least the Debian distro I’m using) and satisfies my inner geek far more than Windows ever did.

    Linux/Mac combo is an ideal combination for recovering windows users, IMHO.

    RussellD had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 1
  • 5, 6, and 8 I think are the really big turnoffs for people besides 1 and 2 (which are basically the same thing). I’ve been using Macs since the System 7.5 days and really only out of practicality, not religion: I feel more productive using a Mac. Use it productively while you have electricity because at the end of the day, none of it matters, it’s just industrial junk when it’s not being used.

    DiamondDog had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 1
  • Yes of course, but mainly, all users of Maya makes displacement maps in Zbrush , Zbrush is in vers.3.1 Windows, for Mac osx users, we are in vers 2.

    Its always like this, for certain software, but not on windows systems…

    And also I can say that Ashlar Vellum makes good software on Mac, but nothing like Unigarphics NX, Or Standards for manufacturing CAD CAM (Pro E).
    All is about standards, to look serious, but I agree , you can do many things on a MAC (like also EIAS great soft 3d render), but still, if I work under a design manufacturing development, it will   be some little problems…. All is about workflow now…
    I hope those systems(MAC/Win) will brought inter compatibility for most of the PRO Apps.  (look at my eyes on Autocad !!!!)
    I don’t want to talk about alternatives , I want the same soft, for quick convert for exact same workflow : from a Mac to Windows.
    That’s why peoples (not geeks) like me, still don’t move to MAC, why I need a good system, without my apps ? How I can work ?
    Is it sure to convert those files without crash, bugs, etc… same versions ? People likes simple things…. like an Ipod!! he he he

    That’s a problem ... not ? Or I’m confused… please tell me? Maya is stable on a Mac ? That’s , all the fear…..... .
    I’m sure, there is a dark cloud on MAc users, still. Without those big guys in Professional applications and its not only in 3d and cad, its also in PRO apps, SAP,ERP sys, etc…we will not have the total trust of our customers, mac fans.

    That’s why they don’t move, move cost money, workflow cost money….

    boblog had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 3
  • I would supplement #1 with apathy in addition to ignorance.  Most people I know are aware of Macs and what they do, but they simply don’t care.  And why should they?  The only really tangible benefit is virtual immunity from particularly malicious virii and spyware.  But I find Vista to be almost, if not as, secure.  The rest is HIGHLY subjective.

    With #4, I have been arguing lately that price is less of an issue than it was but I’ve changed my mind as of late.  A new logic board on the iMac costs $800 to repair.  Why does a logic board cost $800?  Pure unbridled rape-tastic greed.  So you either MUST buy Applecare, or face shelling out nearly enough money to buy a new Mac just to get your junky one working again.  Either of those adds significantly to the famous TCO of a Mac, especially the notebooks.

    And my main beef with switching has been #8.  It’s STILL a good reason to avoid the Mac until the veneer wears off and you can actually discuss problems with your Mac without people saying you must have done something wrong or telling you to shut the hell up.  I’m hoping that their recent iPhone boondoggles move that veneer-scraping right along.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • “Maya is stable on a Mac ? That’s , all the fear….....”

    It’s relatively stable, albeit a bit less so than on the PC.  It’s certainly usable.  I use Maya on the Mac as my primary system and hand off rendering to a PC.

    I have to say though that the PC is much better bang for your buck in terms of 3D.  In order to get a Mac with a customizable graphics card, there is only one choice - the Mac Pro.  My iMac is good enough for what I do, but it’s probably substandard for really high-end work with a lot of polygons.  Mine bogs down quickly, but my work isn’t too demanding for now so I live with it.

    A few weeks ago my Mac died and I had to switch over to my PC for a couple of weeks.  The work experience was nearly identical in terms of pushing geometry around, BUT the machine I was on cost HALF as much as my iMac for roughly the same computing/graphics power.

    I’d say stick with a PC unless you want a Mac for other types of work.  I use a Mac because it is also my primary editing machine and my overall personal computer.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • I also converted when I bought a gen 1 MacBook Pro. I am a Windows .Net developer and all i say to people it this, “I can burn a DVD, listen to iTunes, compile my software under Parallels, and surf the web all at once without skipping a beat.” OS X rocks! Man, I can even watch a movie while playing WoW smile

    ChrisP had this to say on Oct 02, 2007 Posts: 2
  • The big problem with lists like this is that they miss the subtleties—the underlying realities.

    The Mac is a consumer, not an enterprise, computer; Apple does not care much about the Enterprise market or market share. Apple intentionally does not compete in some markets, like the low end markets where there is no money. And too, Apple is digging itself out of a big Public Relations hole caused by mismanagement in the early to middle 90’s, along with the effects of a FUD campaign created by IBM and carried forward by Microsoft.

    Also, there are big differences in the marketing plans between Wintel and Apple which make it difficult to compare competing systems. Thus, Apple is always low balled by being compared to inferior computers. Hence, there are huge segments of the computer market which have a bias against Apple based on ignorance, different expectations and perceptions along with an unwillingness to accept the truth that the Mac OS is a better operating system than Windows. But, enough about that. That is about the past.

    So long as Apple’s sales are growing at 30% per annum, many of those perceptions and expectations will change. The FUD no longer works. Apple is no longer beleaguered, or liable to go out of business soon, when it’s profits are a half again more than Dell’s and two thirds of Hewlett Packard’s. Thus, the two leading computer makers may sell 10.7 times as many computers as Apple but between the two of them they make only a little more than twice as much profit. Clearly, Apple is doing something right or Wintel is screwing up badly.

    The computer market place is changing. Wintel got its huge market share gains by delivering the lowest possible hardware price combined with a standard Operating System mostly to the Enterprise market.

    Meanwhile, Apple has pushed the computing envelop. Vista is an attempt by Microsoft to match the appearance of Apple’s Mac OSX 10.3 Panther and failing. Vista does not have the underlying modern foundations of Mac OSX which is why it requires more expensive hardware to run its full Areo graphical system. Of course, Wintel tries to hide the higher cost of trying to compete head-to-head with the Mac. But, people are catching on.

    Computers started among big companies, then spread to the hobbyist tinkerers and finally to the consumers. The world wide commercial markets who comprise Microsoft’s mainstay is practically saturated; There is only 5% growth per annum.  The Consumer market is the only market segment that shows any new growth. Therefore, Apple has chosen to concentrate where its advantages of panache, flexibility, ease-of-use, compatibility and power shine. The Mac also tends to have twice as long a useful life than a PC. This is why the Total Cost of Ownership of even a cheap PC is two to three times higher than a Mac.

    Even the Enterprise and Government markets have refused to upgrade to Vista. A substantial portion of the new computers sold with Vista have been reloaded with Windows XP.

    Microsoft has dug itself a huge technological hole which has not yet turned into a Public Relations fiasco, but it will. Apple keeps delivering advancements. Many of the changes in Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard are under the hood. They are API’s that will allow developers to design applications in less time at a lower cost. Then, add in the fact that Apple will make BootCamp a part of Leopard so that you can run all your Windows software if you must.

    Apple is on a roll. It is advancing both in sales and market share. Microsoft’s low end computers that are currently used as point of sale devises and front end for mainframes or the Web will be replaced by embedded Linux machines in five years while Apple nibbles away at Microsoft’s highly profitable Consumer market.

    Perception is everything now. Microsoft is desperately holding onto its perception of being a monopoly. Once Microsoft starts to slide, people will start to jump ship. Many will wind up in Linux and Apple computers. They will wonder why it took them so long to jump. But, that will be then, not yet.

    UrbanBard had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 111
  • interesting…

    boblog had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 3
  • How about the opposite of #1. It is too much knowledge of Apple’s past deeds.

    I used to own an Apple Mac. In my college days back in the late 80s and early 90s, Apple was clearly the leader in computer technology. Macs were everywhere. PCs are not pervasive in college campuses. At work, there was a good presense of Macs. At least 50% of PCs were Macs. I used a Mac at work. I bought a Mac for myself.

    Unfortunately, Steve Jobs was ousted and Macs suffered. I also felt burned. I could only afford a Mac Classic in the $1,000 range. I realized I paid too much for an unpowered closed machine. I couldn’t configure it much except paid for a technician to install memory. After two years of getting further and further behind, I realized it is a door stop. It is barely useful. Slow and painful to use.

    Since then in the mid 90s, I bought at least three PCs and each one costed less money. Of course, Apple declined and Windows went up.

    Now that Apple is back with Intel, I still haven’t gone back. I am not confident with the all-in-ones like the iMacs. The time has come and gone. Apple needs an open computer. iMacs are a step back. However, this has always been Apple’s business model. With the introduction of the iPhone, I am sure Apple will NEVER have user friendly systems.

    Apple is limited by its own restrictions on its customers. That’s why I don’t think Apple will make big in roads in Window’s markets.

    In price comparisons as well, surely Apple is competitively priced, but you have to start at a higher price point. In the mid and high range, Apple shines.

    BTW, Apple is a monopoly as well and it behaves petulantly like Steve Jobs. Look in the mirror.

    TechGuy2 had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 12
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