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The truth about Macintosh computers

Jan. 24 marks the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh - happy birthday Mac. Milestones within the years include the 1989 Portable Macintosh, the first combo burner drive in the 2001 Power Mac G4 and the 2008 ultra thin and light MacBook Air.

I am truly fascinated by Apple's well-executed marketing efforts. The Macintosh is a fine computer but, in my opinion, over-hyped and over-priced. I support the opinion with three things: the shift to Operating System X (ten), the move from Motorola to Intel CPUs and the way in which Apple allows Mac users to believe they are nearly impervious to malware.

Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 and started the NeXT Computer Company. NeXT computers featuring an operating system based on BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) Unix which has a clone in the form of BSD Linux. A few years later as Apple struggles to update the aging Mac OS it purchases NeXT returning Jobs to Apple along with what will become the new Mac OS. In essence, Apple is marketing an OS that has a freely available clone.

If I remember the move to the Intel CPU correctly, Apple set the Intel chip "free." That probably makes more marketing sense than "Try the new Mac, it has the heart of a PC."

Some Apple users mistakenly think Macs cannot get a virus. Last October Apple patched 40 vulnerabilities in OS X; that broke the 250 barrier for the year. In November, Apple released a support document that encouraged consumers to use AV software. Many believed that was the first time Apple has done that. They abruptly pulled the document without comment a few days later.

All Internet connected computers need security software including the Macintosh. Apple knows and should be promoting this fact a little more openly.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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