Whether it's Apple or Microsoft for your business – here’s what you should consider

Few businesses ever really consider why they use the IT operating systems they do, whether they are getting the most out of what they have or even how to achieve that. Neil Smith of ReformIT offers some pointers.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
When it comes to judging which operating system is best for your business and how to get the best from it there is one simple verdict, according to Neil Smith of ReformIT.

If you run a business, the chances are its operating system is either Microsoft or Apple, and just as likely you have never asked why that is or whether whoever manages it for you can really help you get the most for your money.

If that describes you, or if you are about to invest and are now agonising over the choice, you do not need to worry. Neil Smith, of Gloucestershire managed IT firm ReformIT explains that if you instead focus on who looks after your IT, everything else will fall into place.

Why the focus on Microsoft and/or Apple as the operating system of choice?

The reason we would focus on those two is that they are the two most popular, and the two that are compatible with the most applications. Microsoft is almost platform agnostic – and we are a partner.

We are trying to create an MSP (managed service provider) that really doesn’t care what hardware you want to use – and besides, the move to the cloud should mean that businesses can use whatever hardware they want

A good IT company will be able to make your business IT work, regardless of the hardware you and your team want to use. Cloud-based technology and the advancement and flexibility of technology should mean that you can use the device you are comfortable using rather than having to learn new equipment or operating systems you are not familiar with.

Why would a firm deliberate over Microsoft or Apple then?

It usually comes down to what people are used to using. If they are used to one type of operating system, they often opt for that because there is no learning curve.

Both systems are similar, but different. Apple is good for graphic design, and arguably the applications that provide that functionality are designed to fit the Apple way of working more than Microsoft – such as Adobe.

Don't fret over which of the big brands you opt for, says ReformIT.

Is it really a case of either/or, should a business consider both, and is one more expensive?

I think they should consider both, but ‘yes’ Apple is more expensive.

Lots of manufacturers make Microsoft compatible devices, but there is only one company that makes Apple. Which means no competitors.

Apple is difficult to upgrade and repair, but we are specialists so can do this, it just costs more than Microsoft.

Apple's marketing creates the impression that their hardware and computers are so much better than everything else and more secure, arguably until recently it was, but only because hackers don’t target it as much as it’s not as popular.

In making its choice, should a business also consider what operating systems its customers use?

The short answer is ‘yes, integration is a consideration’. But it also depends what you do as a business.

If you are a design company and you want to help your customers then it’s a consideration.

Generally, it shouldn’t matter as most applications can work on both operating systems though.

Do firms ever really take a proper look at their IT systems, use them to the best of their potential and if not, how can they do that?

Generally they don’t.

It is important to have regular reviews of the suitability of your IT to ensure you are taking advantage of the latest technology, to the get the best value for money and improve your technology peace of mind. How to do that? Contact your IT provider (or us!).

How can a business ensure its managed IT provider is a Microsoft or Apple expert?

Look for qualifications and partnerships.

Microsoft partners would hold silver or gold qualifications. Apple with be members of the Apple Consultants Network and its engineers may hold additional qualifications and experience.

Ask for references too – and you can check partners on the Apple and Microsoft websites.

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