Apple bounces back;Letter

14th May 1999 at 01:00
How depressing it was to read James Whitehead's letter (TES Online Letters, April 16). The magazine has indeed defended the notion of a "mixed economy" of platforms in schools, but it has clearly shown no bias, but rather a refreshing open-mindedness and realism that is sadly lacking among those who, like Mr Whitehead, advocate a single solution: the Wintel route.

There are so many flaws in his letter. Let's start with the "real world" argument. He points out that there are many areas, particularly publishing (one could add the music business), where the Mac is standard. But like so many who advocate the IBMPC solution, his definition of the "real" world is synonymous with the world he inhabits. Where are the statistics to support his assertion that "99 per cent of the world uses PCs"? Sure, it may be the majority, but that can't be the sole test.

Then, we get the tired old VHSBetamax videocassette recorder analogy. VHS won because of enormous business pressures exerted by vested interests. Microsoft has rightly supported Apple as it is in its interests to do so.

Mr Whitehead concedes that Macs have a better processor and a better operating system. Microsoft recognises that in so far as each improvement of Windows has been an attempt to make it work more like the MacOS. Of course, Microsoft Office dominates the market - that is why running Office 98 on a G3 Mac equipped with a PC emulator is the getting the best of both worlds.

As for your advertisers "calling the tune", it is clear that Mr Whitehead hasn't looked through the magazine: adverts for Intel processors, RM, Tiny, Time, Viglen and Compaq easily outnumber those for Apple (or even Xemplar).

I hope that TES Online continues to keep its mind open. It can hardly be called bias to feature the occasional article from someone comparing Mac and Windows NT networks.

PS. In your article on ICT training ("Trial and Terror", page 10) you offer a "subject-by-subject" look at what's on offer. Where was the column on music, then?

Robbie Mitchell, Head of music, Varndean School, Brighton

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