The traditional fight between Mac versus Windows has now expanded to include OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8. The developer preview of both these operating systems is out and now Microsoft has even raised the curtains to give consumers a glimpse of Windows 8 at MWC 2012.

OS X has drawn its inspiration from the iPad (iOS) while Windows 8 has drawn its inspiration from Windows phones (Mango OS 7.5). Both the companies are narrowing the gap between their desktop and mobile OSes. Now the battle between the two tech giants is at a whole new level. Here’s a quick comparison of the features in the two OSes.

Cloud storage

Apple announced iCloud in June 2011. After iCloud integration in the iOS, it is now a key feature in OS X Mountain Lion too, offering 5GB of free online storage.

On the other hand, Skydrive is a part of Windows Live services, offering 25GB of online storage. Microsoft is a winner in cloud storage battle as it offers 5X more free storage than Apple.

User Interface

Mac is following the traditional dock style user interface. Many of the iOS features have been ported to OS X Mountain Lion, but the UI is almost the same. Previous Mac users will get easily accommodated with Mountain Lion.

On the other hand, Microsoft is building Metro UI from scratch. The Start button is gone and Windows 8 is very different from Windows Vista and 7. Most people will love the new interface while some will miss the old UI.

A draw here.

Security

Malwares and Mac OS X were two different things once upon a time. But now even Apple admits that malwares on Mac OS are present and are growing. Mountain Lion has a new security feature called Gatekeeper, which will block app installation from unverified resources. However, it is still vulnerable as the digital certificate (as a sanctioning measure) can be easily purchased online.

On the other hand, Windows Defender is one of best free antivirus and antispyware programs. Secure Boot is another security feature added by Microsoft in Windows 8, which loads up early and prevents malwares from taking control.

Windows 8 wins in security department.

Web Browsers

Apple Safari remains unchanged in OS X Mountain Lion. Windows 8 now features Internet Explorer 10, which is also identical to IE9. No winners in the Safari versus IE battle.

Application support

This is a market segment dominated by Microsoft. There are tons of applications – both free and paid – that are Windows OS compatible. OS X also has good application support but lags behind Windows. And when it comes to gaming, Windows is unmatched by any other OS.

In application support, Windows is a clear winner.

Who is the Winner?

Apple iPad rules the tablet market. OS X Mountain Lion is very useful for those having an iPad or iPhone (4S). Example, with the new Messages app, users can start a conversation on Mac and continue it on their iPad. It syncs all the info with all iOS 5 devices running on same Apple ID. People who are using Mac OS X previously will find Mountain Lion more interesting.

However, when we are talking about computer desktops and not tablets, Windows is the ruler with over 70% market share. The UI is changed – both good and bad. It is good because Metro UI is something amazing and bad because entry-level users, who have just got familiar with Windows 7, will find Windows 8 more confusing.

Right now, Windows 8 holds a slight advantage over Mountain Lion in the battle between Mac versus Windows. However, knowing Apple, things can overturn very quickly. Who’ll be the ultimate winner in the Mac versus Windows war? We don’t know. But we do know that the benefits will spill over to the consumers. So let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

(Reported by Johnny Wills, Edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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