Features: Windows 8 vs. OS X Mountain Lion
Windows 8: 7
OS X Mountain Lion: 9
Over the years, Apple has made OS X much more than an operating system. It's also a product suite, with a very capable email client, calendar manager, browser, lightweight word processor, image editor/PDF markup tool, media player, and instant messaging client. For many users, these apps are all they need. Beyond the assortment of moderately to highly capable apps, OS X has exceptional support for human languages and for people with various kinds of disabilities.
Windows 8 offers less than OS X across the board, partly because Microsoft wants people to buy its Office suite, so tools such as WordPad and the Mail app in Metro provide only a subset of OS X's equivalent features. But even where Microsoft doesn't have a product it wants to sell you -- for example, media playback and PDF markup -- its tools are decidedly inferior to OS X's. Its services for sharing, notifications, and search are also both less capable and more clunkily implemented.
The Metro apps are decidedly lightweight, offering fewer capabilities than even their iOS counterparts, and IE10 remains significantly behind all major browsers in its support for the emerging HTML5 standards.
Manageability: Windows 8 vs. OS X Mountain Lion
Windows 8: 9
OS X Mountain Lion: 7
If you're willing to spend the money, you can manage Windows 8 PCs every which way from Sunday using tools such as Microsoft's System Center. Remote installation, policy enforcement, application monitoring, software updating, and so forth are all available.
OS X Mountain Lion provides similar capabilities through its use of managed client profiles -- enforcing use of disk encryption is a new capability in this version -- through OS X Server. Alternatively, they're available from a third-party tool such as those from Quest Software that plug into System Center or via MDM tools, including from the likes of AirWatch and MobileIron. But the degree of control available to Windows admins -- as well as the number of tools to exert that control -- is greater than is available for OS X admins.
Security: Windows 8 vs. OS X Mountain Lion
Windows 8: 9
OS X Mountain Lion: 9
With nearly every computer these days connected to the Internet, security is a big focus, including both application security and data security. Windows has been a malware magnet for years, and antivirus software has been only partially effective in protecting PCs. Macs have been immune from most attacks, but in the last year, the Mac has seen a handful of high-profile Trojan attacks through plug-in technologies such as Oracle Java and Adobe Flash.
So it's no surprise that Microsoft includes its Windows Defender antimalware app in Windows 8 and Apple has included antimalware detection in OS X Mountain Lion, with daily checks to update signatures and remove known malware. Windows' registry does make it harder to truly eliminate malware than Apple's approach of relying on discrete files and folders that can simply be deleted if found to be harmful. But there are more tools available to monitor and protect Windows, commensurate to its greater risk.
Both OSes' boot loaders include antimalware detection, and OS X has a password-protected firmware option to prevent startup from external disks; users can't bypass the startup password by opting for their own disk. (One of OS X's handy features is that you can boot a Mac from external disks and network volumes easily, which is great for testing and shared environments.)