For the last 21 years I have staunchly believed that a real estate agent could not use a Macintosh computer in the operation of their business. My rationale was that there was just not enough business software available for the Mac.
When our MLS’s moved away from proprietary software to web based applications, the nails were firmly driven into the Macintosh coffin. Afterall, in their infinite wisdom, all of the significant MLS vendors required that you use Internet Explorer with Active X controls enabled. Microsoft helped this situation not one bit when they stopped developing IE for the Mac platform
Now, I know that you could always run emulation software on a Mac to allow you to run Windows programs, but the experience in doing so was just awful. It was slow to say the very least.
Nevertheless, some Mac die hards continued to struggle along hoping that someday they could use their elegant Macs to do real business. Finally, Apple itself actually took several steps to solve the problem.
The first step was to completely redo the Operating System (OS). Apple left the fabulous GUI (Graphical User Interface) but ripped out the guts of the operating System and replaced it with a variation of Unix, the industrial strength OS that powers many businesses.
That was a great first step, but it still wasn’t enough to convince main stream real estate agents to switch. So, the second step that Apple took was the one that sealed the deal, so to speak. And that was that Apple abandoned the PowerPC Chip and architecture that had been it’s mainstay for years. Instead they reworked the hardware to use Intel processors and chips. This was a stroke of pure genius. If a machine is using the same hardware that Windows OS PCs use, then would it be possible for a Mac to run Windows?
Indeed it is. Initially, the only way to do this (well you could rip out the Mac OS and install Windows only…but that is insanity) was to use a beta software called BootCamp. Then there were some software companies producing software that would allow a Mac to run a “virtual machine” in addition to the Mac OS. BootCamp required a reboot to switch between OSs. This was inconvenient at best and a royal pain most of the time. The Virtual Machines were a better bet, but had some incompatibility issues. Both solutions required that you install Windows on the Mac in addition to the Mac OS. That meant that you had to own another copy of Windows!
Fast forward to today, and you find Macs shipping with BootCamp installed…it’s out of beta. So, buy a Mac and a copy of Windows XP and you are all set. Or, buy a copy of Parallels or VMWare Fusion AND a copy of Windows XP and you are good to go.
To test this theory out, I did just that last October (2007). I bought a 24” Aluminum iMAC, juiced up the memory and hard drive capacity, installed Parallels Desktop and Windows XP Professional and gave the rig to my wife, a real estate broker with The Blackhawk Real Estate Company. I installed all of her real estate related software…WinForms and Iris CMAPlus, moved her information from her PC to the Mac and set her free.
I can’t begin to tell you how happy that made her! The Mac running Leopard is made for real estate professionals. It’s ability to create multimedia presentations, it’s ease of use, and the fact that it just plain works is exactly what we have all been looking for all these years.
As time goes by I will continue to update you on our Mac experience, but let me just say this…my new MacBook Pro will be here at the end of this week and I am going to make the move to Mac myself!
Let me know what you think…are you using a Mac in your real estate business?