Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Mac vs. Windows


I have a small but fast-growing business and am strongly considering going with Macs, but I’m not sure if it’s the cost-effective way to go. What are the pros and cons?


To a great extent, it depends on the size and type of business, but I can give you a few general pros and cons. Macs typically cost more upfront, but can save in maintenance costs because they aren’t susceptible to most malicious software and, in my experience, they crash less often. They tend to be easier to network, and, like Windows PCs, they work with Microsoft Exchange. They run standard productivity software, like Microsoft Office, and can access most online business sites and services. But there are many niche business applications that are written for Windows only. You can overcome this by running Windows on a Mac for the occasional program. But if your business would best operate using software that is only for Windows, you’d likely be better off with a Windows machine.


My wife loves my iPad but gets very frustrated because it doesn’t handle Flash player. Because of this, many of the sites she shops at are not operable on the iPad. Do you know if any of the other tablets are more Flash-player friendly, or whether Apple will come around anytime soon?


The latest tablets running Google’s Android Honeycomb software can handle Flash, though in my tests I have found that it may not work on all sites. The PlayBook tablet from Research in Motion is Flash compatible, and did a good job on Flash sites when I tested it. I have absolutely no information that Apple plans to support Flash on the iPad.


How can I use AOL’s instant-messaging system on my T-Mobile Android phone?


There’s an app for that. AOL makes an Android app for its AIM instant-messaging service. You can find it on the Android Market, or here: http://bit.ly/d5CEzP. I can’t be sure it’ll work on your particular model, since some apps require different versions of Android, but it’s worth a try. There are also AIM apps for the BlackBerry and the iPhone.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox and my other columns at the All Things Digital website, http://walt.allthingsd.com. Write to mossberg@wsj.com.

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