New business: PC or Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by timmac, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. timmac macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2006
    Hattiesburg, MS
    I'm thinking of hanging out my shingle later this year and starting my own law practice. At first, it would be just be me and a secretary (if that). I'd like to be a "mac office," but most of the law office management software out there is pc only. Not to mention most law practices use wordperfect, which is pc only. (I presume Word on the mac can open wpd files, though).

    The other consideration is the higher up-front costs of a mac. In any business, especially at first, you want to keep costs as low as possible.

    The big plus for using macs, to me, would be the "resistance" to malware. At the office where I work now, our part-time IT person is constantly reacting to some spyware or virus that somebody has received and installed on the network. At least for now, that wouldn't happen with a mac.

    So, to get to my question, Would you, in a pc-dominated business world, start a new business that uses macs or concede to the domination?
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Egad not another Lawyer:rolleyes: Mac is the only way to go nowdays because they can do it all minus a million viruses and windows clunky interface.
  3. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    If you can afford to, go Mac. But go Intel Mac so you have the option of booting into Windows should the need arise. There's also the prospect that virtualisation software will only get better.

    I'm currently wanting to convert my own business to Mac. It'll take time as we already have x thousand pounds of Dell equipment, but the advantages are obvious.

    All the best with your venture!
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Please, start Mac. I work in a Windows shop over the summers and nearly everyday I bring up "This would be so easy on OS X..." from an administration view.

    Strangely enough it's cheaper for us to buy Mini's with LCD's and Windows XP Pro then a Dell tower and monitor. :confused:
  5. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    They use Macs in Boston Legal. :eek: :D

    If I ever start a business I would definitely try to set up with Macs - so much more reliable even if there may be some initial compatibility issues. But as miniConvert mentioned, vitualisation will hopefully improve so that there aren't any issues.

    Good luck! :)
  6. timmac thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2006
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Thanks, Cooknn. I had viewed that page before. So I know it's feasible. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't carrying my mac advocacy too far.
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I would suggest looking at going with the Mac platform. An iMac:
    - Is easier to maintain.
    - Is easier to network and share a printer
    - Has built in wireless so you don't need to run a Cat 5 cable network.
    - Has no malware, virus, trojans or worms to speak of -- especially compared to Windows.
    - Can run Office for the Mac. Should be able to open WordPerfect files.
    - Can set up to dual boot into Windows XP to run WordPerfect and any other lawyer specific software.
    - Takes less desk space, less cabling.
    - Is easier to make backup copies for emergency restore.
    - Can serve as your office background music player -- don't need a dedicated stereo system.
    - Easily imports pictures to use in your briefs if need be.
    - Runs quietly. Important for a small office where you will be meeting with clients.
    - Is easy to swivel with the appropriate base which makes it easy to show a client what you are working on, such as a tax document, will, etc. You could also use an external monitor for this function.
    - Is easy to connect a projector for giving presentations.

    I could go on, but I think that you get the idea.

    BTW, I have a few lawyer friends who swear by their Macs. They love them.
  8. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    well you posted this on a mac forum so you are going to get everyone saying go get a mac. But reason for not getting a mac they will not see or just be blind to it.

    First and most imporantly.
    1)What is going to be types of software you want to run (word processing, billing and acounting software plus anything else that missed)
    After that
    What are the programs out there to cover those needs and check what plateforms they are advible on. More to the point making sure that everything you need is there for the Mac.

    If there is some imporant piece of software that is windows only then you answer is clear you office is going to need to be PC. Dual booting is really not a solution to the problem. It a hack job of a work around that will work in a pinch but it is not a long term or even a good solution to the problem.\

    Going with a PC is a safe bet. You know for a fact that your software needs will be met. it has draw backs. Going with the Mac set up you advatages and the draw backs of the mac. There may be some software you need in the future that not going to be advaible for the mac which means you need to buy pc. Bootcamp is not a working solution to the problem.

    As for word perfec yeah MS office can open them but some time things to transfer quite right and the speicallity stuff WP will can add office can not read or open and the same goes the other way around. But more and more places are switching over to office and the .doc format is the standard for most of the world any how so that should not be a real issue.
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    It's not the machine, its the software.

    Choose your practise software first. Then choose the machine and other infrastructure to run it.

    Sometimes you are constrained by the billing/submission software: all the law firms around here who do federal prosecution and.or public defender work, some years back, were told: Buy Windows PCs or you don't get paid -- because the gov't brought in a proprietary billing system that only worked on Windows.

    Go have a look at Randy Singer's MacAttorney page
    I don't know if Randy lurks on MacRumors, but he has been known to pop up with good advice. (Hi Randy!)
  10. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Wow, hidden spam. Haven't seen that in a while...

    EDIT: darn, those mods are fast!

    Lawyer friend, I actually suggest getting a Mac server (which can be an Xserve or an old G4 Sawtooth, depending on your needs) and buying a bunch of cheap PCs and installing Linux on them. You get the same protection, your network is secure, and you save a ton of money.
  11. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    If you need software that is Windows only, then you need windows--it's that simple. I set up a manufacturing business based on this, even though they would have much preferred to go all-Mac, and I certainly would have preferred it if they had as well. They have a couple of Macs for the people who don't need the Windows-only software, but the rest are Wintel boxes (Dells, which turned out to be a mistake--you learn the hard way).

    You really can have the best of all worlds, now, though, and I don't think I'd have set that shop up the same way were I to do it now. So long as your software isn't 3D intensive (which I'd assume no law software would be), it'll run just fine in a virtualized Windows install. Parallels is only $40 a license right now, and although you'll need to buy a copy of Windows, most Intel Macs are roughly cost-competitive for a decent, similarly equipped system so the end result isn't that bad.

    This way you've got the MacOS for everything normal you do, and you can fire up your full-speed virtual machine for the Windows-only app(s). The fact that it's virtualized can actually be an advantage, since it's somewhat shielded from everything else. In fact, you can even kill its networking entirely if you software doesn't need a net connection, while maintining full Internet access on the Mac--now THAT'S the way to keep Windows secure while remaining productive.

    If and when a MacOS-native alternative to your windows software becomes available, it's easy to ditch Windows and go Mac-only.

    The same basic strategy applies to software that for one reason or another requires booting directly into Windows--if you buy Macs and use Bootcamp, you'll end up paying a little more initially, but you've got a lot more flexibiltiy for the future (if it's a "mac day", use the MacOS, if someone needs to be working in Windows, boot in Windows, and if eventually viable Mac replacement software becomes available, you can "switch" with no new hardware outlay).

    With a shop as small as yours, you needn't think about a server or such yet, and I'd guess the ease of setup and lower IT costs to maintain the system will far outweigh the somewhat higher initial cash outlay.

    There's one other advantage--the hardware on your desk makes an impression on your clients, and a reasonably stylish-looking iMac is going to stick in somebody's mind as a lot less dreary than yet another black Dell box. I know the iMac on the front desk at my day job makes a better visual impression than the back end of a Dell LCD, that's for sure.

    If you're on a really tight budget and almost everything you will do is in Windows (say, you're a CAD shop that only runs SolidWorks) then it's inefficient and rather silly to make a Mac do the job. But your situation sounds perfect for a Mac-hardware-based, cross-platform office. Or, if you can find MacOS alternatives for the software you need to run, pure MacOS.

    [edit: Whoops, I didn't see the date on the original post, so I guess I'm a little late with the advice.]
  12. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Avon, IN
    Haha! I know what you mean. Dell really sticks it to businesses it seems. The laptop my employer just ordered me cost almost $800 more than I could have bought it for on the website... makes no sense!
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Yeah, we haggle sometimes. We call our Dell rep up and complain about the Home Dell store getting such cheap prices for the same hardware we're getting the Healthcare one. Dell isn't cheap when you're running a business.
  14. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    it all depends on the programs. Shop for the programs you want, and then make sure they work on a mac. Then get the mac, and see what programs you actually NEED. then, get the programs as you need them.
  15. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    This is off topic, but you know, I haven't figured out if Dell's pricing is some sort of massive, chaotic scam intended to confuse the unwary into paying too much while giving the clever too-good prices on occasions where things line up wrong, or if it's just a horrifingly disorganized mess controlled by some series of committees that don't talk to each other and thus create a random, interwoven patchwork of inconsistent pricing.

    One day, you'll go and the'll be some convoluted combination of stackable coupon codes and instant rebates in the small business store that lets you, say, add a monitor to a system for what *must* be a loss to them, while the same thing costs twice as much in the home store. The next day that deal is gone and the home store is selling an identical computer for $200 less than the small business section. And then there is the ever-changing flow of mail-in rebates, which always seem particularly preposterous when they're in the busines store--I understand trying to use the rebate scam on consumers, but you'd think if you're creating a seperate "store" just for businesses, you would leave that scam out of it.

    I also noticed something amusing when experimenting with price configurations for one of their systems. I was matching up the features with a similar Mac, and since Apple's got the free-printer rebate thing going (man, I hate rebates, even when they're that good) I configured the Dell with their cheapest printer. The funny thing was that the printer was "on sale" for $70 down from $90... but right below it there's an option to add a USB cable--marked in bold letters as required to actually use the printer, since it doesn't come with one--for $24. So basically they're claiming to give you a $20 discount on a crappy printer, then overcharging you about $20 on a cable for it.

    Your average clueless consumer is either going to pay $24 for a $5 USB cable, or they're not going to notice and then wonder why they can't hook up their printer when it arrives.

    One semi-on-topic note about Dell's business store: They do have ONE nice feature that you don't get in the same form from Apple. You can log into their system and basically check all of the hardware you've bought from them, including serial nubmers, warranty status, etc. It's sort of a poor-man's asset management system, and could be handy for some smallish businesses.

    You can get something vaguely similar by getting Applecare for all your stuff, since you can then log in and at least see serial numbers and warranty status, but it's not nearly as nice.
  16. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    well there is an answer to the diffence in price bettween the home and bussiness side. And it not because dells trying to screw bussiness. It how they set up the to deparments. They are completely different areas that really dont talk wtih eachother much. Each sets their own pricing and dells at any given momement. Problem is when one side is a lot cheaper than the other people will noticed and ask for that dell just the home and bussiness side dont related to eachother in how they price. Each manamanet desides there own thing
  17. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Ahh, so my "B" guess was correct--disorganized web of bureaucracy. That also explains the too-good deals, since there are probably several different departments generating coupon codes or instant rebates, and they're not working out that these occasionally like up to get products at absurd discounts.
  18. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    *sigh* We just bought a Celeron with a 17" LCD and CD-RW for around $900 off of Dell Healthcare.

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