Head to Head: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion vs Windows 7

The eternal question: which is better, Windows or Mac OS? With the release of a new Mac OS, 10.7 Lion, David Ludlow takes another look at this age-old debate.

Microsoft may rule the roost when it comes to desktop operating systems, but Apple has been staging a strong fight back with the combination of OS X and its desirable hardware. Now, with the latest version of the Unix-based OS, 10.7 or Lion, we thought it was time to compare the two to see what they have to offer and find out which is best for business.

It's a little strange to compare the two operating systems directly, as Apple's OS can't be divorced from its hardware and you can't buy Lion separately to install instead of Windows 7. That said, if you're looking at changing the computers you've currently got you may be wondering if it's time to switch people over from Windows to OS X, or vice versa.

Licensing

Microsoft offers discounts for Volume Licensing for businesses, with a wide variety of different options. It can be a little tricky to navigate the confusing website to find out which package you need, but prices for Windows 7 Professional start at 123.53 per license for 20 PCs. These licenses aren't actually full versions, but upgrade versions of the OS, requiring that your existing PCs already have a licensed version of Windows already installed.

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OS X Lion costs 21 per computer to upgrade.

By comparison, OS X Lion costs 21 per computer to upgrade, which sounds considerably cheaper. For companies purchasing Lion through Apple's Volume Licensing scheme, there is a minimum 20 seat order. However, OS X 10.7 Lion can only be upgraded from 10.6 Snow Leopard, which is itself a 26 upgrade. This means the actual price of Lion costs between 21 and 47 a computer depending on which version of OS X you have. There are no further discounts from Apple, and there's just the one version of OS X for consumers and businesses alike. It's fair to say that Mac hardware is more expensive than standard PC hardware, so you need to factor in this cost, too.

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