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Microsoft Windows 8 versus OS X Mountain Lion

Karl Hodge | Oct. 30, 2012
Mortal frenemies Apple and Microsoft have been locked in battle since 1984, when the first Macintosh shipped. Apple has always been the innovator; the prestige developer with big ideas. Microsoft took care of the mundane side of the market, catering for enterprise and home, developing solid products that ran on a range of hardware.

In the Cloud: Skydrive integrates with free Office web apps, enabling you to to create Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents online

Mountain Lion doesn't have the same built in document editing features. In order to open iWork files, you need to have Pages, Numbers or Keynote installed locally. A point docked for Apple there.

Other features associated with iCloud in Mountain Lion are integrated seamlessly in Windows 8. Connect your Google or Facebook accounts and you'll find your contacts and calendar update automatically.


Mac : 6

Windows : 7


12) Windows 8 verses OS X - App Switching

Windows 8 has changed the way users switch between apps, but has retained the same keyboard shortcuts. It's a rare moment of user experience awareness in an upgrade largely devoid of it.

Still, application switching doesn't quite work the same way as in Windows 7 (or Vista). ALT and TAB enable you to cycle through all open applications. Once activated, you can move through open apps using the arrow keys.

Holding the Windows or Start key and TAB now brings up a sidebar displaying applications running in Windows 8 mode - and only those applications. The arrow keys don't work here. Losing Windows 7's Flip 3D application selection feels like a regression. Again, the lack of interface consistency between Desktop and Windows 8 mode is frustrating.

In the space of three upgrades, OS X first matched then exceeded Window's app switching capabilities. With Mission Control (combining the best of Expose and Spaces) and OS X' s context sensitive Dock, there's no contest. Mountain Lion wins this round.

A New Beginning: Windows 8 has a new Start screen. The tiled environment is an equivalent to OS X's LaunchPad

Ready to Launch: Apple's LaunchPad is a clear inspiration for the new Windows 8 Start screen - but Mountain Lion allows you to choose when to use it.


Mac : 9

Windows : 4


13) Windows 8 verses OS X - Full screen apps

Frankly, Windows was winning the full-screen battle until Lion came along. Cross-platform apps, like Chrome and Firefox, that happily ran in full-screen on Windows Vista couldn't route around OS X's windowing restrictions.

That changed with built-in full-screen app support in Lion and Mountain Lion.

By now, you've probably twigged that Windows 8 is an operating system of two halves. There's the Windows 8 style overlay and, beneath that, the old desktop metaphor. From the Start screen there are several native apps that work really well in full-screen mode. The clean, minimal design rules really suit Windows 8's new Mail application, for example.

But there's still that conflict between the Windows 8 layer, where everything looks and works in the same way, and the old Desktop layer. For example, using Chrome in full-screen mode disables access to the Charm bar.


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