Windows 8 vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion head-to-head review

A comprehensive look at the UI, software, security and business features to see which OS is top dog.

The Future

Equipping an office with computers means it's worth considering the future for your OS of choice. If you've bought Windows 8 then you're in luck: Microsoft won't be ending mainstream support until January 2018, and extended support won't run out until all the way in 2023 so you can safely use Windows 8 even though it will have been superseded by newer versions of the OS.

Apple will likely support Mountain Lion and Mavericks for many years to come, but Cupertino's locked-down approach means that you'll only be able to upgrade to later versions of OS X if your hardware's good enough. So when your colleagues are running a fully supported version of Windows 8 at the start of 2018 it's extremely unlikely that you'll be able to upgrade to the latest version of OS X.

Apple's software will continue to run smoothly on high-end hardware, but it also means that OS X-based machines will lag behind in just a few years. Microsoft's approach wins for business thanks to machines that can be maintained and supported for over a decade.

WINNER: Microsoft


So it's 4 - 4 in the categories, but which OS do we pick as the overall winner?

Apple OS X has better apps, tighter security and works well on high-end hardware, so it's ideal for smaller businesses, sole traders, creative types and those don't need the corporate features served up by Microsoft. Windows still has the better UI, more versatility, enhanced business features, and longevity making it better for bigger medium and larger businesses.

We're quite capable of installing our own security software so we don't have to suffer with Microsoft Security Essentials and, when it comes to productivity, a copy of Office running on Windows is superior to the Mac alternative.

Windows pulls ahead in other important areas, too. Its business features lead the way, and Windows 8.1 irons out several of the issues we initially had with the UI while making the controversial Start screen more versatile and less intrusive.


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