Company Face Off: Are You a Mac or a PC? [Quiz]


For years, consumers have self-identified as Mac or a PC people, a label fueled in part by Apple's Mac vs. PC ads. Some research about the two companies' customers was even done by and it showed that many of the stereotypes are true: Mac lovers are typically younger and more likely to live in urban centers, while PC enthusiasts tend to be more politically conservative and prefer Harleys over Vespas.

But let's not forget the army of designers, programmers and sales staff who work for these brands. What kinds of people work at Apple and Microsoft and what are the companies like as employers? Data from revealed some interesting differences in median salary, benefits and work culture.

Who Pays More?

PayScale data shows that Apple's starting median pay is $43,100, while Microsoft's is almost twice as much: $86,900. Median age (33 at Apple, 35 at Microsoft) and years of experience (eight at Apple, nine at Microsoft) are roughly comparable at both companies, so what gives?

Al Lee, director of Qualitative Data at, says the value of the companies' stock is a factor. "Anybody in the tech sector who is looking at the total compensation package with equity, stock options, is going to reach a much different conclusion," he says. "That's the kind of thing that can easily be a 10 or 20 percent difference. Stock has gone nowhere at Microsoft [in recent years] so they've had to pay more in cash compensation."

Which Jobs Are Available?

Lee also points to the types of jobs available at the two companies. Both companies hire high-level tech talent but Apple also employs people in other departments that aren't as prevalent at Microsoft. "They have the whole sector around the music and video licensing that Microsoft has on a much smaller scale," he adds. "All those designers, media relations people, people who are working in marketing the iTunes store are generally paid less than a senior software designer."

Overall, the pay gap narrows by mid-career, when median pay is $112,000 at Apple and $127,000 at Microsoft.

Packing in the Perks

While both companies' work culture often varies by department, employees rank Apple slightly higher on overall job satisfaction, while Microsoft employees rank their employer higher on job flexibility. In fact, Microsoft employees are allowed to moonlight and one former Microsoft employee said that she organized an at-work yoga class. "You had the freedom to create your own stress relief," says Sarah, who worked as a Microsoft employee for two years and as a vendor for five.

Lee says that Microsoft is also known for its generous vacation time (three weeks per year compared to 2.1 at Apple) and paternity leave policy. A current Microsoft employee says the company's healthcare coverage is the best she's ever seen. "I have zero co-pay," says Wendy. "You can order any tests at the doctor's office because it's covered. If your family is sick and you can't get to the doctor, they have doctors who make house calls."

Apple employees enjoy some perks of their own -- like inspiration. A former Apple sales and marketing communications specialist, Hannah, remembers Apple's "passion about the product, passion about the work," as she puts it. Now self-employed, she says, "I still think of myself as changing the world through the work I do and that's an attitude I picked up at Apple."

Just for fun, PayScale decided to put together a quiz, based upon their data about working at each company, and's research on Mac and PC users.

Quiz: Are you a Mac or a PC?

1. I would rather work:

a. Beneath the tall evergreens of the Pacific Northwest.

b. Tucked in the golden foothills of California.

2. When it comes to food, I either:

a. Enjoy meat and can't imagine living without it.

b. Am or was once a vegetarian.

3. At snack time, I reach for:

a. Sweet treats.

b. Salty goodness.

4. After work, I wind down with:

a. White wine.

b. Red wine.

5. Politically, I'm a:

a. Conservative.

b. Liberal.

6. It's important for my company to offer me:

a. Good paternity/maternity leave.

b. Awesome free tech toys.

7. I'd rather have:

a. A nice, big salary.

b. Stock options with good potential.

Mostly A's: You're more of a Microsoft person.

Mostly B's: You belong at Apple.

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i am an apple girl!!!!

October 31 2011 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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October 11 2011 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am definitely a PC. I like meat but I also can live without it. As far as the treat thing goes, I am not into salt or sweets-try to stay away from both. Microsoft is my favorite comapany and always has been. In the political arenea I am an independent, and pride myself as having a good judge of a company's worthiness.
I live in the south and therefore I am accustomed to taking the heat and would have an awful time in California or the Pacific Northwest. I AM DEFINATELY A "PC" in Texas.

August 22 2011 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

stupid useless poll, I'm apparently a PC in spite of using Apple from 1985 and being an Apple 'fanboy'/evangelist forever. Nothing wrong with a PC if you like that sort of thing. I babysat a full lab of PCs along with Macs for many years. Knowing Windows intimately just reinforces my prejudice.

Theresa, "if only they were within my budget!" Lame, Lame, Lame excuse!
Are you kidding? For what you would pay for a new lame 3rd tier Windows box, you can buy a 2 year old top of the line Mac that will still be going strong 10 years from now. Step out of your YUGO into the BMW.

August 12 2011 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a PC, more than one in fact, but apparently you wouldn't know it from this quiz. I like California, so I'd pick that for #1, which is a "b" (MAC) answer. I enjoy meat, the second question, because I like all options open to me and don't like to be labeled in one group. That's why in question 3 I like sweet and salty snacks. I love the M&M's (sweet) with the pretzel (salty) center. As for 4, hmm, I like beer, not wine. And politically (5) I'm an Independent. Concerning question 6, I'd like to be paid the monetary value of both. Lastly, 7, a nice salary. Stock options? Have you seen the Dow today? No thanks.

August 08 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I started out using an Apple computer. It was love at first whirl & keystroke! I discovered that my younger daughter's tampering was thwarted easily! However, my PC was another story! Discovering C drive was a total gigle! Needless to say that I lost almost everything. Of course this was back in 1999 and I had very little experience with computers. I was rather amazed watching my daughters zip through with fingers flying over my keyboard. I was constantly asking,“ how did you do that?” Nowadays I use a PC, but it still waxed lyrical about my blueberry blue Apple computer! TerryDould if only they were within my budget! Oh dear.

August 08 2011 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


August 07 2011 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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