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Can you use a Mac for business?

Can you use a Mac for business?

Well, yes, you can use a Mac for business if you need it for some of its hot uses, such as creating podcasts or films, or for great graphics and photos. Or if you just generally think clients are impressed by your sleek, white laptop or computer on a ball and stick.

But, in truth, if you're doing business with corporate America or even accessing a lot of its services, you're going to have trouble with a Mac. Those of us who surf around using different computers and programs and browsers already know what's now been proven: a lot of companies, including big ones, are not hospitable to people using personal computers that aren't PCs (meaning Microsoft-based).

I often can't use a VPN (virtual private network that lets me tunnel into protected networks) on a Mac. I can't load certain content management software that lets me manipulate a company's Web pages. And now it's been shown that I can't use a Mac to apply for a job at American Express or Target or Sears. On Yahoo (which is, by the way, infuriating me with its clunky e-mail), I have not been able to use its Web building tools on my dad's Mac to set up a Web site for him or let him use those tools to make changes.

So, for a small business, the issue may come down to simply buying a PC if you want to access the most corporate applications and databases. And when you're setting up Web services, decide if you're willing to exclude or alienate a chunk of your customers. Remember to ask which browsers, and which computers, your company's Web site is optimized for. And test.