We have been in web development for a while and the love for the medium just keeps growing. What never ceases to amaze me though is the Mac verses Windows debate. With a background in networking and development I have been thinking about how both platforms work inside this ecosphere. I find there is alot of mis-information and the real pitfalls are not always discussed in a level headed way. My personal position on which operating system people should use is - neither. I develop and use Linux where ever I can.
Can Mac and Windows coexist?
The answer is yes. In one network I know of there are 12 Macs and 20 Windows machines working under the same domain and connected in active directory. If set up properly connectivity can be a non issue. You will hear quite often that Windows will not talk to Apple clients wanting to share folders, but that is usually a permission issue. In the past getting Mac OSX to talk to a Windows server could be a challenge but this is no more.
Mac cannot see Windows formats?
This use to be true a very long time ago. Microsoft now have a professional office product that is fine. Sometimes you don't get the same functionality as say Outlook or Word, but it is so minor it in not an argument. For the general user they would not know the difference.
Mac cost more than Windows
The answer really depends on who you talk to. Depending on what the machine is being used for in most comparable situations a Mac will cost more, the reason for this other than Mac's shiny white clean look is that the Mac parts are more durable. I have seen Macs that keep going for years after a Windows machine would have died. I do say this with a proviso, you can buy pc hardware that is just as durable that will run a Windows OS, quality think-pad machines have been doing that for years. Mac OS do have an edge over Windows and that is security. This can save the user hundreds of dollars a year. This is not to say that they are totally secure but they don't have the same market penetration and so they don't make a large target for hackers.
Mac and Windows Technicians
Lets face it both of these platforms are complicated, this is the real issue as Windows techs have so much to learn they don't have time to understand Mac so their first reaction is to use an excuse. The same goes for Mac technicians as well. To understand, implement and maintain a dual platform for a technician is not impossible but does take time and companies are not willing most of the time for this to happen. Mac technicians are also not an abundanly available and this creates other underlying issues for a company as most of the time they are not looking at an ideological situation they want productivity.
Using Mac in website development
This is where Mac used to hold market share. But over time Windows graphics have caught up with the Mac. IDE's are now cross platform ie eclipse so there is no real market advantage unless you want to develop for the Iphone. But with the introduction of Andriod web development will not need to worry about this issue in the long term. Today as this world is moving toward interoperability it will help the web development community have less issues. So to answer the question Is Mac the best tool for business?, it does not really matter as long as the tool creates work flow at a profit. Both operating systems will work in the web development ecosystem.