This week I once again found myself explaining the only operating system that means anything in todays computing world. That is the Internet. If you think about it between 50% and 100% of what you do on your computer is internet related. When people look at computers for their parents they only want them to be able to surf the web, check email and maybe video chat with the grandchildren. When you look at the amount of time your on your computer at work it is divided between email, your customer system (maybe internet hosted) and productivity apps like Office (so you can email it?)
With that in mind your choice of computers is no longer based on “Can the person I am interacting with open this document?” (trust me they can) but rather will my computer integrate with the Internet in a meaningful way so I can get my work done?
Now every major platform today has the Internet baked in but it is always to different levels. If you run Linux you get the rawest of integration possible. Sometimes too raw I mean who wants to have to write code just to get the latest service running on your computer. Windows also has decent support for the Internet, but they hide many features and just don’t support some standards (think CalDAV or remote access to your internet calendars) I guess this is because Microsoft is more interested in selling you Exchange then letting you work the way you want too.
I am often asked why Macs are better and frankly this is the only reason that matters. Apple has done a great job of supporting open Internet standards out of the box. With support for open collaboration standards, a full host of internet services that integrate into the OS (Twitter I am thinking of you) and a easily accessible catalog of software via the App Store to extend its reach they make it simple to add new services as you need them without ever leaving your desk.
In summary when your planning your next computer purchase whether for home or work I would urge you to really look at how you use your computer. Do the research and pick the platform that makes the most sense for you. Above all make sure you get access to the entire internet as this will be the most important thing you can do to make your time on the computer the most productive it can be.