Apple's Macs are better than PCs, says IBM? Well, of course

It seems that IBM employees who use Macs are considerably more productive than those who use PCs. This has to be true. Then again, there's one finding from this study that is even more entertaining.

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Better? More productive? More loyal, too.

Image: James Martin/CNET

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It's the argument that never dies.

Even when those involved in it do.

Some believe PCs are real computers, while Apple's Macs are souped-up toys.

Others look at PCs and just don't know where to start. Or why.

Can we ever, though, find objective evidence that PCs are better than Macs? Or vice-versa?

Well, here is a startling headline that may cause a reenactment of several scenes from Game of Thrones.

It reads: "IBM announces research showing Mac enables greater productivity and employee satisfaction at IBM."

As my colleague Larry Dignan observed, this study, presented by IBM's CIO Fletcher Previn, may be a case of correlation masquerading as causation.

However, as soon as I read that 22% more MacOS users than PC users exceeded IBM's expectations in performance reviews, I confess to emitting guffaws.

You see, then I read that those who use MacOS closed deals that were 16% larger than the poor Windows types.

My innate sense of Apple-seeded superiority reared its ugly parts and twerked toward the world's PC users. 

I've used Macs ever since I learned they existed. They've always been reliable -- until my latest, infernal MacBook Air -- and, more importantly for us creative types, understandable.

I could always make them work. Whenever I was forced into a corner and made to use a PC, I was more confused than I last was listening to Kanye West.

I know that PCs have improved over the years. By becoming more like Macs.

Some of them have done a very good job. Then again, when I went to Best Buy not long ago and asked which was the best Windows laptop, a salesman told me it was, oh, a MacBook.

I'm sure that so many Apple fanperson types are exalting in these IBM results and preparing to lord it over what they see as less enlightened PC colleagues.

It's understandable. PC people can be excessively worthy and strident.

I should point out, however, that there's one finding from this study that does rather dampen the buccaneering Apple spirit.

You see, Previn also revealed that MacOS users are 17% less likely to leave IBM compared to PC types.

I'm sure IBM considers this another note in favor of Mac users. But is it?

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I can't help thinking that working for IBM isn't, perchance, the apogee of employment these days. Or even tech employment.

Where once IBM used to be (a certain sort of) sexy, now it seems a rather more staid place.

Could it be, then, that Mac users have become conventional types who work their way up gray corporate organizations, while PC users are more adventurous? Could it be that PC users are more prepared to strike out into the scary world of startups, apps, and, who knows, making the world a better place?

Once, Apple users were rebels. Now, they're just like everyone else, trying to keep their heads down, eke out a crust and survive the madness.

Yes, they may be more productive. But what if it's only fear that's making them so?