The Wall Street Journal's weekly Walt Mossberg column (subscription required unless you go through http://ptech.wsj.com) comes out recommending Macs for home users. While many of us think Walt may have drank a little too much Cupertino Kool-Aid (visual: imagine Steve Jobs dressed as the Kool-Aid pitcher from the ads), it's certainly interesting to see this. He also discusses the limited availability of Windows XP on OEM PC's, as well as his frustrations trying to work with hardware in Windows Vista.
While Mossberg is certainly entitled to his opinion, I think the dearth of software targeted at the Accounting vertical market makes it a fundamentally bad idea to switch to Macs for a small CPA firm. Although people like Thomson and CCH are both offering hosted versions of their CPA Firm Apps (in which case you would really be hosting your apps in the "cloud"), I still think there's enough out there on a PC which you need in a small firm that you're not going to be able to run on a Mac. (disclosure: The last Apple product I have owned (besides my iPod)is an Apple ][+, with a scalding 1 Mhz 6502 processor, and a tricked out 64K ot RAM. If anybody is interested in purchasing it, please e-mail me - I think I still have it somewhere.) All bets are obviously off if you're a Big-4 firm, and can have your core apps written for you, but generally, the apps for vertical industries just aren't there.
Mossberg also discusses the Mac's ability to run Windows (since they're both based on Intel processors), but despite the buzz from the chattering creative classes, and their ad campaign which says , "You're a nerd if you have a PC", some things have not historically run well on Mac hardware. For example, when Apple first came out with Boot Camp, their application that lets you reboot a Mac using the Windows XP operating system, there was no way to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete. If you use a PC at home, this probably wasn't a big deal, but if you have a Windows computer at work, that's a pretty big problem, since most system admins require you to press Ctrl-Alt-Del before you log into your network. Oops. My Mac enabled friends seem to mutter about other similar issues in hushed tones, and stop talking about the things they don't like altogether when they don't like things.
Many of us in the IT community see the coming wave as applications hosted by third parties and running on the internet. Microsoft has seized on this with SharePoint 2007 (and the hosted version for SMB called OfficeLive) and its ability to assist business users with sharing information amoung disbursed teams. Google's new office competitor which runs in a browser offers a first edition view of what browser-based computing could look like (although it certainly has a long way to go before it becomes as elegant as Office 2007). With internet connectivity becoming more reliable, faster, and staying relatively cheap, these types of services may be the long-term future of computing. Basically, you would have a box that prints things and runs a browser that looks and acts a lot like today's PC, except you would never install anything on it. [Think of this as the modern version of a green-screen VT100 terminal from the old mainframe computing days.]
With all of this said, I'm probably going to purchase a Mac in the fairly near future so I can speak intelligently about the operating system and applications on the platform. While it's not going to be ready for prime-time CPA firm work for a while, they certainly do make a pretty piece of hardware, don't they? Besides, with six windows PC's in my home (just the ones that are mine), I'm approaching the point where I need to add a Mac so my computer inventory looks like what America is buying..... or something like that.