On Tuesday, TechnoLawyer published "TechnoFeature: Mythbusters: Should Your Law Firm Switch From Windows to Mac?" by Christel Burris. Upon seeing the title, I was interested, particularl since I have written for TechnoLawyer in the past. However, upon reading the article, I was quite disappointed. The article by Ms. Burris, a former receptionist turned technology consultant, did nothing more than regurgitate many long-disproven myths that PC loyalists have used against Macs for years. Further, after seeing the many factual inaccuracies in it, I’m very disappointed that TechnoLawyer would even publish this article. To set the record straight, I present the following response from William L. Wilson, an attorney and MILO member:
An Open Letter to TechnoLawyer
I read Ms. Burris’s article with interest as the title suggested that some of the long-debunked Macintosh myths might be busted for the legal community. I was disappointed to find that Ms. Burris continued to propagate these myths. I am a lone Mac user in a law firm of 13 attorneys with plenty of support staff.
The biggest error in her article was that there are viruses that can infect Mac systems. The list of viruses she provided affect Macs that use the old OS 9. Since Apple moved to OS X, viruses are practically nonexistent. In fact, I do not run any anti-virus software on my MacBook Pro or any of the other Macs I own and use.
Ms. Burris continues her unfair attack by arguing that the Mac is not a secure platform. She is correct that the Mac OS is not 100% secure. Neither is Windows. Human beings are imperfect and software will always have some way that it can be exploited. The question is not whether a contestant was able to surprise people by hacking into a Mac quickly. The question is whether everyday users will experience problems caused by security holes. Microsoft issues a new security patch for Windows on the second Tuesday of each month. Apple releases security patches as soon as the problem is identified and solved. Unfortunately, Ms. Burris left the impression that the Mac OS is less secure than Windows. The fact that trojan horses, viruses, worms and so on regularly infest the Windows world while we Mac owners do not worry about these issues so much speaks for itself.
Ms. Burris also complained that some software was not as robust as other options available on the Windows platform. I do not have the level of experience she does in working with various pieces of legal software, but I can say that VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, and other options provide a seamless experience in running Windows applications on my Mac. Our firm uses PracticeMaster and Tabs 3, and I have no problem accessing the software.
Ms. Burris implies that Macs are somehow more prone to hardware failures by citing the example that she once had to replace a dead hard drive in an iMac while she’s had relatively few failures in Dell systems. One cannot logically draw a conclusion from this faulty analogy. With the proper tools and some brief online research for a set of instructions, she could have easily replaced the hard drive herself and upgraded its size at the same time in a few hours (if that). That alone may have been worth the cost of having the repair done under warranty. I have replaced hard drives in Macs and PCs, both laptops and desktops, and have found that they are equally simple.
As for the claim that there’s some software that can’t run on a Mac, with the aforementioned VMware Fusion or Parallels, this claim fails. It is true that the Mac platform lacks some "native" software applications, but with virtual machines running on Mac’s Intel processors, there’s no issue. Sadly, Ms. Burris’s attack on the Mac platform may discourage developers from considering and building more specialized Mac applications.
With respect to efficiency, I can count on one hand the number of times my MacBook Pro has locked up in the past six months. In fact, I only need one finger. One cannot be efficient if the computer has contracted a virus or run into some other problem that continues to plague the Windows platform. The infamous "blue screen of death" is not a ghost of past crashes. Lawyers should consider how often they have their IT specialist come in to fix a problem on the Windows platform. Our IT contractor comes in probably monthly (at a cost that I am not privy to) in order to provide some remedy (most often a virus or similar issue). As he said after one of our attorney’s computers was taken over by a spambot last month, "If you want to avoid this type of problem, you buy a Mac."
There is plenty of room to debate the merits of each platform in the legal world. Ms. Burris flatly concludes that the Mac cannot outperform Windows in a law practice. This may be her opinion, but it shouldn’t be presented as a proven fact. I am hopeful that my rebuttal (which is my opinion) has helped readers see the merits of a system that Ms. Burris has unfairly dismissed.
William L. Wilson, Attorney at Law
Anderson, Agostino & Keller, P.C.
South Bend, Indiana