​Microsoft's Mac to Surface Book switchers guide: No need to buy antivirus (and try our Edge browser too)

Turning your back on a Mac is easier than you think with a Surface Book, according to Microsoft.

"We want you to feel confident switching from Mac to Surface Book," says Microsoft's new website. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft's new Surface Book promotion hopes to counter all the reasons why former PC owners might have switched to a Mac.

Microsoft is on the offensive with its new high-end Surface Book, which went on sale yesterday alongside the launch of its first brick-and-mortar store in New York, complete with its own take on Apple's Genius helpers.

The Redmond company has now launched a new website to re-educate Mac owners who've been tempted by Microsoft's flagship hardware. The site contains a starter guide, file migration tips, and advice about how to use an iPhone with the Surface Book.

It even has a crack at busting the myth about Macs' immunity to malware, addressing the question of whether former Mac owners will now need to worry about getting viruses and have to buy antivirus apps.

"On my Macbook I always heard PCs get viruses and Macs don't, so I didn't need antivirus software on my Mac," the site states.

But as Microsoft points out, the popular belief is based on false assumptions.

"Most computers, including Macs, can get malware. A combination of safe web browsing habits and antivirus software can help protect you and your computer," the site says.

Just as Macs feature XProtect, Apple's basic anti-malware, Microsoft stresses its hardware comes with built-in protection, meaning consumers don't need to buy antivirus.

"Your Surface Book comes with Windows Defender and Windows Firewall to help protect you from malware, so you don't need to purchase antivirus software." Former Mac users used to Safari are urged to give the new Microsoft Edge browser a go, too. "It's built for touch and has Cortana built in for faster, easier help," notes Microsoft.

The guide also re-acquaints Surface Book owners with Windows shortcuts they may have forgotten, such as that the Ctrl key serves basically the same role as the Command key on Macs, and that Microsoft's answer to Spotlight is its search icon.

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Overall, the key message Microsoft highlights is that today, despite a few differences, there is a fairly common experience across platforms that makes the switch a less daunting affair than it may seem -- and there are even bonuses for users tying themselves more deeply with Microsoft, such as signing up for its larger free cloud storage quota compared with Apple iCloud.

"You used your Apple ID to download apps, set up iCloud, purchase iTunes music and movies, and sync content across Apple devices. Similarly, a Microsoft account allows you to download apps, purchase content, sync with your other devices, and gives you free cloud storage with OneDrive," notes Microsoft.

Finally, chances are that the Mac switcher will have an iPhone and to allay concerns over inferior integration with a Windows device, Microsoft stresses the Apple smartphone will "get along really well" with the Surface Book, thanks to iCloud and iTunes for Windows.

The question is whether Mac owners will be keen enough on the Surface Book to fork over the extra $500 it costs to get one compared to upgrading an equally specced MacBook Pro.

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