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Microsoft and Mac co-existence rules

Microsoft and Mac playing well together isn't nearly as awkward as one may think.

Microsoft and Mac playing well together isn't nearly as awkward as one may think.

I was speaking with a business owner today about how to not get "trapped" by his platform.  He bought a top-of-the-line Dell XPS three years ago, and he's considering moving to the Mac now that some of the highest performance Macs are actually less expensive than their PC counterparts.  One of the details that rarely gets talked about when someone buys a PC is how to retain ownership of your software - Windows and Office - when the PC finally bites the big one.  You may think you're saving money now by getting something "bundled" from a company like Dell, but most people get a nasty surprise when it's time to switch to a different computer, regardless of whether it's a PC or Mac. 

Microsoft now considers Mac OS X an "upgradeable" operating system in some cases

Microsoft now considers Mac OS X an "upgradeable" operating system in some cases

So I was really glad to see Microsoft publish this guide on volume licensing (opens new page).   Before you go and read this, just know that unless you're an attorney or someone involved in an equally minutia-fixated business, it will probably make your head hurt.  

The bottom line for most of us operating individually or as part of a small business is this:

Mixing and matching is possible with Microsoft's Software Assurance, which can be a good part of a "switching" strategy.

  1. If you want a Mac for its hardware, and you're going to run just Windows, Microsoft allows you to qualify for an upgrade.
  2. If you have a mix of Macs and PCs, or plan on introducing more Macs to your business over the next few months or years, buying licenses with software assurance carefully will allow you to mix and match versions- which could save you several thousand dollars and also save you lots of headaches.  Microsoft's actually making it easier for you to switch your business to Mac hardware.

If you own a business and need help interpreting this, or if it just makes your head hurt but you want the benefit of it, just drop us a line at TechRoom or send me a note.