CommBank CIO praises “rich” Mac interface


blog The favoured tool of chief information officers everywhere has long been their sturdy ThinkPads, but it looks like Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief information officer Michael Harte might be a bit of an Apple fan.

As reported back in March by iTNews, the bank is planning to roll out MacBook Air laptops to thousands of staff when it opens its new Commonwealth Bank Place facility in Sydney later this year, and in a new video interview with the Financial Review (the entirety of which is available online for free), Harte praises Steve Jobs’ little creations.

“New entrants … coming into the workplace and they expect the convenience that they get at home on their desktop at work,” Harte says in the interview. “If they’ve become au fait with and love the convenience and richness of an Apple interface, and then have to go back to some clumsy PC that’s being run by some enterprise service group, they get frustrated.”

The only problem is … has Harte tried Windows 7? We’d argue Microsoft’s latest opus is at least on par with whatever Apple has on offer. Your writer uses both — Windows 7 on the desktop, and Mac OS X as a laptop. And, apart from Windows’ tendency to get bogged down with cruft after about six months, we find they are pretty much on par at the moment.

Image credit: Apple


  1. I’m still trying to get someone to give me a single solid reason why I should buy a Mac … I’ve not been able to find a scenario where my current Win7 system is unable to do what I want, nor have I found a task that I found difficult or clumsy to accomplish.

    I normally have a pretty terrible gadget impulse-buy compulsion, but a couple of grand on a nicely specced, and undeniably well designed and built, machine just seems a bit silly. Perhaps when my current laptop dies, I’d look at a Mac, but I’m really still out there looking for that one truly compelling reason.

  2. Mac in a corporate network environment will be a bitch to administer. I wish them luck, but I would personally have just told entrants to “just deal with it” when it comes to Windows 7.

    • Agreed.

      There is no doubt that Mac is a “nicer” experience, but in a corporate environment, it will suffer from a lack of qualified people to administer a Mac-based corporate network, when compared to the employment skill set of people to administer a Windows-based corporate network.

      It’s all well and good to have the shiny solution, but if you can’t get people to run it PROPERLY, the shiny solution takes the shine off your IT budget bottom line.

    • Re: Mac in a corporate network environment will be a bitch to administer.
      I disagree. There’s not much you can’t do from an Administration point of view.
      UNSW are a great example of a mixed enviorment with thousands of PCs and Macs working nicely together.
      All the Macs are administered by 2 people.



  3. Uhm, Windows 7 is great compared to Windows XP, but having to use it at work it’s still incredibly clumsy.

    As a simple example, take logging in. If you enter the wrong password, you still get “Welcome” for 2 seconds, then Windows goes “Oh shit, no, you entered the wrong password, ummmm now go back and try again”. It’s like some overworked scatterbrained secretary.

    On the other end of the scale of annoyance, open and save dialogues don’t behave in a coherent manner across apps, sometimes they are selected when you open them, sometimes the window behind is still selected, so you start clicking and selecting files and you’re actually interacting with the program below the dialogue. Drives me batshit crazy.

    It might be well ahead of XP, but it’s still cluttered, clumsy and ill-footed compared to OS X.

    • I think it’s a little harsh to blame MS for the quality of all apps on their platform! Devs are given the API’s and tools they need to keep everything consistent, by MS is always going to be shy is forcing developers to conform to anything that might raise the hackles of the anti-trust police.

    • Incredibly clumsy? I think not.

      I use both operating systems daily (as well as Ubuntu on my media centre), and I have to say that I find Windows 7 the easiest and most powerful. Ever tried to maximise a window in Mac OS X? Yup. It doesn’t quite work, does it? You have to click and drag.

      Then there’s the overly simplistic Mac OS X settings window, which loses options with every major revision of the O/S. Want to configure your machine the way you want it? Even tinker with *basic* power management settings? No. You can’t. Those settings used to be in Mac OS X. Now they’re gone. Go figure.

      Tried doing something as simple as partitioning your hard disk during operating system setup? Wait … Apple actively discourages you from doing this.

      Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses … let’s not pretend Mac OS X is perfect.

  4. The problem I see with this is… what do you do when you come across someone that doesnt want to use a Mac?

    Over all, it goes without saying that there are more people comfortable using Windows than there are using MacOS… pretty much everyone has at some point in their life, used a Windows operating system… can that honestly be said of Macs? Yes MacOS is easy to use, and people will be able to learn… but what happens to the older guys at this office that have only used Windows before?

    Seem’s rather silly to implement such a massive change, for a technology that will be harder to administer, and most likely not everyone will be 100% comfortable with… this guy reeks of ‘Apple Fanboy-ness’

      • Ah… makes sense I guess… but still, that seems a bit pointless buying more expensive Macs for their ‘ease of use’ and ‘rich interface’ only to have some people using Windows on them…
        But then again, I’m a shameless Apple hater..

  5. Mac and Windows on par? If that’s what you think of your mac experience then you’re doing it wrong.

  6. I actually use all three on a semi-regular basis (Mac at work, Windows and Linux at home). Personally, I prefer to work on Linux, play on Windows and use the Mac as little as possible…

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