News flash: Apple computers can crash

It’s a shame when stereotypes about religious differences lead to misunderstandings and resentment, isn’t it? No, I’m not talking about the Middle East, I’m talking about Apple and Microsoft. The conventional wisdom about the two is that Microsoft is the embodiment of evil — with products that are poorly designed, break often and are otherwise a giant pain in the ass — while Apple can do no wrong, with products that are virtually flawless in every way.

apple-aqua.jpgThe growing number of reports about problems with Leopard, the new Mac OS, show that there is a lot more to it than that. I just heard from a friend — a relatively recent convert to Apple PCs — who said that the upgrade didn’t just present him with a blue screen (something that until now had been associated exclusively with Windows machines), but actually wiped out most of his data and a substantial number of applications as well. I don’t know whether his problems were a result of using the third-party Application Enhancer software or not, as some have reported.

What I do know is that for my friend, losing that kind of data is no laughing matter — it is a serious, serious issue. Much of that data is crucial to his business, and while he does regular backups (as we all should), he doesn’t do them every minute of every day. Having a blue screen, or a buggy install, or having to jump through hoops is one thing. Losing data permanently through no fault of your own is a completely other thing.

I’m not some Microsoft fanboy who is gloating that Apple is having problems too (including reports of a Trojan in the wild and other reports of problems with wireless connections after installing Leopard). I’m just saying that Apple is not infallible. Upgrading operating systems is no trivial task, and things go wrong — even with Apples.

Update:

My friend Rob has put up a lengthy description of what happened — and is taking predictable fire from Apple fans in his comment section.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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