Avoid the Apple Tax – Cash in on the value of Windows

Avoid the Apple Tax – Cash in on the value of Windows

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With the ailing global economy, I am looking at ways I get better value for my money. One way I can do this if I need to replace a computer is by avoiding the “Apple Tax.”

Microsoft sponsored a new whitepaper (PDF) from Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates which takes a look at the tax from a tech analyst’s viewpoint. His paper shows the “Apple Tax” is the combination of what people pay up front when purchasing a Mac and what people pay over the life of their computer – the hidden tax.

Roger looked into both aspects in his whitepaper, and has discovered some interesting findings around the “hidden tax” of owning a Mac – using the scenario of a hypothetical family of 4 and their costs over a five year period. Knowing that Tax Day is just around the corner here in the US (April 15), I decided to have a little fun with his findings by building a mock up tax form using Roger’s numbers that show the whopping difference this family would get purchasing Windows PCs over Macs: $3,367.


I know taxes are calculated annually but I thought it would be more interesting to look in terms of total savings Roger outlined in choosing 2 Windows PCs over 2 Macs in that 5 year period.

So what could you do with that $3,367 savings by avoiding the Apple Tax?

If you want to get some exercise you could get bikes for the whole family, and still have money left over (All via Performance Bicycles)!

  • Schwinn Sid Coasting Bike ($499.99)
  • Schwinn Nancy Ladies Coasting Bike ($499.99)
  • Performance Girls 24” Kids Mountain Bike ($299.99)
  • 2008 Mongoose Amasa Comp Mountain Bike ($679.99)
  • 4 helmets: 2 Bell Ukon Sport Helmets @ $34.99, 1 Giro Women’s Kaya Helmet @ $39.99, and 1 Ascent Cruise Youth Helmet @ $29.99)

Take the family out for a night at the movies - 117 times (4 tickets @ $7.18 = $28.72)!

Make your home green, and save even more money!

It is human nature to focus on the up-front price. The coverage around our Laptop Hunters ads jumps right to that (“PCs are cheaper”). The harder thing to capture is the overall cost and the VALUE. Roger’s paper does a great job illustrating this. Cost is getting something cheaper. Value is a function of getting more of what you want, regardless of what you spend. And you’re a lot more likely to find that with a Windows PC.

Shoppers rarely do a lifetime cost of ownership calculation for a new computer (even though that’s the real cost and makes the PC advantage even greater) but they intrinsically calculate the value for a new computer. That’s what we see in the market every day and what we see in the choices made by Lauren and Giampaolo as they each selected a PC that met their own unique criteria (features and budget). They wanted the right value for them. And that’s the beauty of Windows PCs – the diversity of choice and options that exist so that people can find what’s right for their own needs, not someone else’s. You’re never forced to buy more than you need or give up features you want like Blu-ray, Mobile Broadband, Firewire, and more. And, Windows PCs offer this across a broadest range of price points and performance from low-end netbook PCs to high-end gaming rigs.

But let’s limit ourselves to the narrow scenario where Apple does have offerings. We get questions about this all the time so we asked Roger to take a look at the comparison chart that we’ve used before to outline features, specs and price points across Macs and PCs. Part of his conclusion is, “Holding the price constant and examining specifications only serves to exaggerate the better deals on the Windows side.”


Note: The chart splits the Mac and PC laptops in to 3 categories: Value for basic models, Mainstream for average models, and Performance for high end models to illustrate options where Apple has machines. Of course the full spectrum of PC laptops is much broader.

What do you think about the concept of value? And what would you do with a $3,367 “Apple Tax Return”? Sound off in comments. In a few weeks I’ll showcase what people say they would do with their “Apple Tax Return” in a follow-up blog post.


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  • Well I stumbled over this (as an ex-employee) and as I see it, it points to some alarming facts.

    Fact 1:  Brandon doesn't have enough to do.  Brandon is the product of a Orwelian machine that manufactures and markets badly made products.  He's able to blog things like this because whatever the question is, Microsoft is the answer.  If he could, Brandon would cite Windows as being better at Aircraft Navigation systems than McDonald Douglas, or the like.  Imagine.

    Fact 2:  Brandon thinks that an argument on tax matters is cool.  Like everyone, Brandon would like to be cool but we must remember that the company that he works for thinks that it's CEO is cool.  No, really, he is, surely....

    Fact 3:  Brandon feels threatened by Apple.  He feels threatened because of facts 1 and 2.  as a repressed inidividual only allowed news-speak, his natural insecurity (much like a bully) only allows him to threaten and prey on smaller things.

    Fact 4:  Brandon surely buys from Wal-Mart.  Brandon's idea of 'value' is --low cost--.  To value something really means to appreciate and protect it - in other words, something expensive, rare or coveted.  Brandon's emplyers don't think like this - it's all about volume.

    Fact 5:  Brandons brand on Windows (if you follow me) is of like-for-like.  How sad.  Apples products are better built, more reliable and stable (oh, and secure) and yes, more expensive, but better value for money than pretty much any Windows PC.

    Fact 6:  Brandon is a flat-earther.  Whilst the whole inidustry is in transformation around mobility, Microsoft give us Windows Mobile...somewhat like a Surface device but no good at making phone calls.  A chocolate teapot

    Windows 7:  Lipstick on the pig.  Brandon (in some small part) is responsible for the Neo-Vista world.  Desperately trying to make Windows 'cool' and ergo-sexy is not the answer - just improve Windows XP and you're there.   No, don't forget Brandon's internal employee mantra is  'Microsoft - change the world or go home'.  

    Chill out and appreciate value.

  • I'm sure that this point was raised again and again, but I count this as "casting my vote" on this mater.

    People need to start learning to build their own PCs. Buying PC parts and fitting them together on your desk at home reduces your PC cost up to $500 for a very good motherboard, processor, RAM, HDD, (low graphics board) and a case. Add to that a free OS like Ubuntu or whatever you like and you can SAVE a lot more ;)

    Ubuntu comes out of the box with a lot of stuff, and there's basically a free version of the software that you would run on windows/mac for linux aswell.

    Maybe I would personally buy windows one day, when MS will come up with a decent OS, without many Out Of the box stuff that I don't use anyway like (IE, Outlook express, MSN messenger (these were in XP), ... and whatever else came in vista (like ability to watch TV if u have a TV tuner (lol, every decent TV tuner comes with it's own app)).

    So this is at the same time an appeal to MS to come up with a bare-bone OS, with higher security and a lower retail price (like $50-60), and I bet you'll have a lot more fans.

  • theiguy
    4 Posts

    OK Brandon the price of Windows 7 wasn't announced but looking historically on XP and Vista the upgrade price wasn't free, and for a full OS you are likely to be in the $250.00 range or more.  But what about pricing for iLife equivalent (without future upgrades!), why isn't that in the white paper?  Is it because there isn't anything comparable?

  • theiguy
    4 Posts

    Hi Brandon, in regards to long term value and experience (which is what the white paper is supposed to be about)  The latest Forrester report with overall satisfaction with computer manufacturers rated Apple in the lead with 80%, HP behind with 64% and Dell came in last with some results BELOW 50%.  This kind of drives the point home.  You can buy a cheaper computer (although the gap is much narrower than the white paper suggests!) but what is the price tag for a good computer experience versus a bad one?  

    According to the Forrester report you will need all the movie tickets you can get because apparently with a Dell you wont want to be stuck in front of your computer!!

  • Hey lollht,

    I had a similar problem when my brother in law upgraded to Vista, apparently the old Wireless B Belkin Router he had was not compatible and there was no update from Belkin Available.

    I ended up buying a new wireless G router which was on sale for $20 and that solved my problem.  It could be the hardware your trying to connect to.

    It may also be the wireless card in the HP laptop, try updating its drivers to see if that resolves your problems.

    Networking problems are a fact of life for both Macs and PCs, but usually the solutions are fairly simple.  

  • Squish
    5 Posts

    Another thing not included in the whitepaper...Quality & customer satisfaction:


  • lollht
    44 Posts

    All I know if one of my users bought an HP with Vista and it just won't conect to the Interent no matter what browser or network I try.  Helping her out is taxing my day.  I hope Allchin enjoys being in the music biz after inflicting Vista on so many people.

  • nzdog
    1 Posts

    I like the fact that the whitepaper itself is another example of the difference between Windows and Macs.

    The argument looks nicely thought out and seems logical, but when you dig a little deeper you actually find that it doesn't really work. Perhaps they can release a patch to the Whitepaper, or fix the problems in Whitepaper 2 (price still to be released).

  • Isn't it really funny how Brandon "coincidentally" replies to and asdresses only a very few comments posted here?

    On the other hand he very "cleverly" avoids to reply to any of those  comments that depict all the more than obvious faults and flaws of this "study" (cough cough).

    Great job, Brandon! Of course I now might get a reply like "Besides running this blog I have a LOT of work to do. I cannot reply to every single comment but of course I appreciate all the feedback. Keep the comments coming!"

  • oark
    1 Posts

    Hi, I just wanted to make a few points (some of which others have already made). One is that the Mac Pro, which you have had the family get, is a *workstation*, for digital media professionals... I don't think you'd get it as a family computer, in fact I guess you'd be much more likely to get an iMac as a family computer, as it is Apple's consumer desktop. Secondly, you have listed an iLife upgrade, but the latest version of iLife (in this case iLife '09) comes free with every new Mac, and you are under no compunction to upgrade that down the track if that version of iLife is working fine for you. Thirdly, the third party Linksys router that you list for the PC would have worked just fine with the Mac. And lastly, MobileMe is entirely optional (I'm a Mac user, and am getting along fine without it!), thereby saving the family $750... Thanks!

  • snakes
    1 Posts

    steve ballmer´s campaign against apple is stupid.

    mirosofts file system is bad, windows must always use the hd to make some operation if you count the defrag time on this you have a slow operating sytem.

    if you use windows you have every day problem with some types visus, with my mac i can work and make money and must dondt defrag o spend time to install some virus detection software.

  • @Brandon - saying that the pricing for Windows 7 hasn't been announced is fine - but it won't be free, thus unfair comparison - especially as things like future versions of iLife have been added when you don't know the cost of those either?

  • scronide
    21 Posts

    As a somewhat relevant aside:

    After a full week of wrestling my main, Windows PC since the display corrupted, died and then eventually wouldn't complete a boot...

    A week spent downgrading from 7 to Vista to XP, and all the way back again...

    A week spent buying, installing and returning two new graphics cards...

    A week spent updating drivers, the BIOS, running diagnostics...

    Only to discover that the motherboard (C51GU01) your OEM partner built the machine on is notoriously cheap, awful and prone to failure. (One of the OEMs a "desktop hunter" would find, as I did, in a typical big-box store.)

    I went out today and bought a 24" iMac:


    Operating system, complete user experience and aesthetics aside -- (so many leads, adapters and peripherals gone now!) -- a build quality I can trust is worth the premium alone.

  • I really like what Microsoft is doing here.  And that they hired you, Brandon, as the person to manage these blogs.  What had always gone wrong with Microsoft products is that they released things without being stable and then offered service packs.  They failed to make a stable operating system to begin with.  I tried the Windows 7 beta, loved it, joined the Facebook group, and committed myself to buy one.  The marketing strategy is smart, however, kind of blunt, but true.  The things people look for in Apple products were the stable operating system and the applications meant to create things.  Microsoft only sells office software in retail and includes a very crappy video editing software and browser with their operating system, but that actually was an advantage because the normal computer user doesn't need all those applications they'll never use.  Microsoft should always provide beta operating systems if they plan to fix these problems.  The blogspot is also a good idea because that's what the Apple people do.  They look at blogs and find things users don't like about their system and fix them before the next OS release.  I hope this will get to Microsoft so they know what my whiney "friends" on the Mac side are saying about them.  Basically, Mac people want way more with their operating system, remember that.

  • theiguy, I don't follow. We haven't announced pricing for Windows 7 yet which is most likely why it wasn't included in the whitepaper.

  • theiguy
    4 Posts

    Brandon why wasn't the upgrade price to Windows 7 (from what I read above about $300.00) put into the white paper while a trivial thing as the iLife upgrade (which is non essential) was.  Why is it so tough to (excuse the pun) try to compare apples to apples?

  • A couple side notes/questions:

    Why is Windows 7 even coming out in 32-bit?

    --- Anybody who doesn't own a 64-bit capable machine isn't going to spend $300 on a new operating system and if they do, Vista and XP are good choices at lower cost. ---

    Why doesn't Microsoft build anti-virus into Windows?

    --- Microsoft has Windows Firewall. That may not be good enough for a lot of people, but it's a least some form of protection. I don't see why Windows can't also come with a built-in Anti-virus application. At this point, anti-virus is a must-have for PC owners and if MS can suck it up to admit they need a firewall, then why can't they admit the same about Anti-virus software? You want to be the biggest OS in the World, you got to know you're OS is going to be attacked the most. ---

  • I have to agree with everyone on the "bloat" from OEM machines.

    Every time I get a new PC, I completely erase the hard drive and start with a fresh install of Windows. It's a requirement for me because it's faster, easier, and more efficient than trying to clean up the mess that's left behind.

    When you purchase a new computer today, you no longer get the Windows disc with the package. That makes this problem even worse because you are stuck with the "bloat" no matter what you do unless you have a separate disc that you purchased from somewhere else (Which Windows Vista is still around $140 for Home Basic).

    It would be nice to buy a new computer without the "bloat." I'll buy my security applications when I'm ready or I'll use what I already have. I use free online email services like yahoo, google, and Windows Live Hotmail. My ISP is comcast. I don't need Vongo, Vonage, or America Online. Just give me a great PC and Windows and I'm happy.

  • Value - as in what the Playstation 3 offers

    Cost - as in what the Xbox 360 offers

    This post is a conflict-of-interest for Microsoft products. Xbox 360 offers you choice, but at an additional cost. Playstation 3 "forces" features, but those features add more value to prolong the life of the console.

    The same concept is applied here where you argue that PC's have more value for the cost when compared to Apple computers. The PC's you show have more power (adding value) at a lower cost. Expect Apple computers are your Xbox 360 and PC's are your PS3 (because if you put everything out-of-the box with the PS3 into the Xbox 360, the Xbox 360 costs more -- not to mention you can't get Blu-ray on the Xbox 360 and HD-DVD isn't a good replacement since no more movies are being made for it and it can't be used for games).



    Disregarding the overlooked items in this post; if I had an extra $4,000 from the "apple tax", I would get bikes for my entire family (2 adults, 2 children, 1 pull-behind for infant/toddler). Then I would purchase a screened-in tent for taking camping, along with lots of firewood, pans for cooking outdoors, and eating utensils. I would buy new sleeping bags. I would also buy a luggage rack for the top of my car to carry all our stuff. I may want to purchase an updated DVD for my navigation system. I would purchase a selection of DVD's for the camping trips to watch on the new PC laptop. I may get a cellular wireless card for the laptop and pay for a summers worth of service.

    That's listed in the order of priority. So, if I ran low, I would cut out a few things. We love camping. I would use most of it to make sure we had a great time in the outdoors in the summer. We don't usually use laptops or electronics while we're out, but if we had the extra cash, we could spend more time out there, but not miss anything "important." :-)

  • Brandon this is not fun. This is embarassing.

    The numbers are nowhere near realistic. Granted, your "tech analyst" may not even know that. But i fear this will seriously backfire.

    I could not find a single working link on the website (pretty Windows 95 style btw.) apart from the one with your whitepaper nor any relevant info about your "tech analyst".  On the other hand i could not find the date 1st april. So i think you mean this for real.

    What i have seen from Build 68 of Win7 there is a slight improvement vs. Vista.

    But somehow Microsoft does not get it. My father, he hated Vista on his new cheap (loud) Dell PC and he will hate Win7 too. And his next machine will be a Mac.

    I am really glad, a do not have to use PCs. Really!

  • Comparisions  against defunct Macs to make Windows look good - www.theregister.co.uk/.../microsoft_flames_macs

  • This is the typical biased marketing crap companies produce which loses them credibility. This report fails to take into account:

    a) The quality of the product - there are premium products and cheap products, comparing one with the other based purely on price and specifications is about as accurate as comparing a korean car to a german car.

    b) The report fails to take into account the time wasted by consumers trying to resolve issues with the product itself. Most of these are created through poor tested by manufacturers, but ultimately its the Windows software that gets blamed because Windows has no control over the hardware vendors. Apple hardware has minimal problems for this exact reason.

    c) As a consultant who bills out at $1500/day, my migration from one PC laptop to another took more than a day, normally around two. Migration assistant did it for me in 3 hours with about 10 minutes of my time. Add $1500 at least to the cost of the PC.

    c) I'm not sure where you get half the software from. All the Mac software I used required PC software to be purchased as well. The free stuff supplied by Microsoft was a load of crap anyway and the Vista version I used didn't even come with free DVD drivers...I had to bloody buy them! WTF?

    d) Someone mentioned choice? WTF? What choice do you have in operating system when all the hardware manufacturers supply it whether you want it or not. So much for choice, you have a choice with everything except the software.

    e) How about the fact that the operating system (Vista) is just plain crap and has forced so many users to go back to XP Pro.

    f) Surely the fact that so many people are prepared to pay so much more for Apple gear should tell you how many problems there are with Windows? Think about them, fix them, not your advertising.

  • Squish
    5 Posts
  • Aaron
    3 Posts

    I didn't know that Microsoft was a PC retailer... Apple is both a PC retailer and an OS manufacturer...So please compare what is comparable...

  • scronide
    21 Posts

    Respect is earned and this latest marketing surge has lost all that remained of my respect for the work of the company.

    Microsoft under Steve Ballmer, the Gerald Ratner of technology, is daring its competitors, partners and customers to join with them in a race to the bottom. Reveling in mediocrity, in "good enough". Well that isn't good enough.

    Microsoft is hoping for quick and dirty short term gain at the expense of its brand and its long term growth. If I held any stock in Microsoft, I'd dump it now because the future under this strategy is bleak.

    By playing fast and loose with the truth now, what will happen when you actual need customers to believe something you say?

    By effectively declaring the operating system inconsequential by focussing on hardware components, how do you suppose you will convince customers that Windows 7 is something worth paying for?

    By focussing on cost relative to the economy -- and convincing people the market Apple is costly but cool, the option to be rejected first before settling for less -- what will you do when it picks up?

    By focussing on cost alone, how will you convince people to choose Windows over Linux? Fear of the unknown? That's the strategy so far and will be obliterated with exposure.

    What can you do if Apple releases its own hardware at a magical sub-$500 price point? Bear in mind that scaling up an iPod touch to a tablet would cost Apple very little. It doesn't take much vision to see that.

    They won't, but what would you do if Apple released OS X into the wild for all Intel-compatible computers? If clones returned, carefully-crafted with the likes of HP and Sony?

    If you succeed in convincing your target customers that "good enough" is good enough, how will you get them to pay for something new? To dump their XP machines at home, NT and 2000 in the workplace, and buy some tat preloaded with a hobbled version of Windows 7? To stop using Office 97? IE6?

    What Price Good Enough?

  • Just a friendly reminder on a wonderful Saturday morning (for me) to make sure comments stay on topic, appropriate, and respectful. I appareciate everyone's responses so far. Please do continue to leave comments.



  • theiguy
    4 Posts

    Hey Brandon, aside from other things mentioned above.  Every Mac ships with a full OS, and a full non time limited media suite free (iLife).  When making the comparison shouldn't both the PC and Mac start at the same level?  Shouldn't the user be able to get the same experience from the get-go in order to make it a true comparison?  So the upgrade from Vista home to Vista Pro would be $$?  And for Video editing Premiere would be $$?  The other thing you fail to mention is the support!  From personal experience (Dell+Windows) when encountering "technical issues" Hardware support (Dell) say it is an OS issue please call Microsoft and Microsoft support say its a Hardware issue!  With Apple you only call one number!  I don't mind comparisons and I am sure that there are many things at which Microsoft+PC would have advantages but we both know this white paper is "full of it" and at the end for people that have a basic knowledge of both platforms, it just make Microsoft look bad!

  • scronide
    21 Posts

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Microsoft, Roger Kay and you Brandon -- yes, you -- should be ashamed at publishing this nonsense. Both the whitepaper and your "tax return" are padded with optional, mismatched and just plain bizarre items in an attempt to inflate the figures and you all know it. It's pathetic. It's gutter marketing used to highlight a point that could have been made honestly.

  • Actually the interesting thing to me, given all the comments in this thread is how much of the complaints about the Windows experience falling down is directed at bloat...

    what is bloat to me, all the pre-installed bloatware on OEM PCs.  While I admit that Windows 7 beta is great, much of its speed is due to the lack of bloat, so the experience I have now with the beta may be far superior to the one I get on my next PC that I buy with Windows 7 pre-installed.

    It would be nice if Microsoft when it sells an OEM version of Windows 7 to its vendors ... forces them to give users the option when making recovery media to make both a bloat free and bloated recovery media.

    My wife is the perfect example, she loves her media center PC laptop, but uninstalling Vongo on that DV6000 PC was a nightmare, safe mode uninstalls of the main program and a macrovision installashield updater, and there are still traces of it on her system, I even had to make a new default user profile so that if a new user or guest user is added the Vongo (Spyware/Virus) doesn't come back and reinstall itself.  There is no way to actually uninstall this program.

    This took me hours to work out and was a real pain, it will no longer install with a new user profile, so its like its not installed, but still it took a long time over 2 hrs.

    Read more about this now old but annoying issue here:


    My point is, to get the optimal Windows experience, users should have the opportunity to make a bloatware free recovery disc to get rid of Vongo, Google Updater, or whatever other OEM "junk" their might be on an OEM machine.

    In many ways it is kind of sad, Windows 7 is so good, but by the time an OEM installs


    CD / DVD / BlueRayBurning software

    I tunes

    Acrobat Reader

    Photoviewing Software

    Browser Toolbars

    Instant Messengers

    Office Suite Trial

    Google Earth

    Games that collect user data and machine specs

    Vongo or equivalent Virus

    Tax or Finance Software

    30 day antivirus trial

    30 day internet security suite trial

    ISP offers

    Webcam software

    Misc links/favorites’ on your machine think ebay, skype, paypal, amazon, yahoo

    etc... etc..

    will the Windows 7 user experience be jeopardized?

    Don’t get me wrong I understand that this stuff reduces the cost of the machine, but at least give people the option of making a bloatware free recovery media so that if the OEM goes too far you can get back to the basic Windows experience in its purest form a machine that is a blank slate for you to shape in your image, your style, your life.

    Don’t get me wrong sometimes some of the OEM programs are useful especially if you like the pre-installed components, so I know they have a place, I’m just asking for more options.

  • Wrong
    1 Posts

    First, your page is not W3C compliant.

    23 Errors, 8 warning(s)

    Go figure.


    Your chart couldn't be more wrong, but what one would expect from a Microsoft Blog, especially the ineptitude.

    1st, the proper comparison is not a Macbook Pro, it would be an iMac.

    2nd, you don't have to buy MobileMe (Free services abound)

    3rd, $99 for a year of training is cheap, but again, not necessary

    4th, what is "Other Software"?

    5th, iWork covers Office well, or even OpenOffice works...(FREE) and that would be a Microsoft tax for $250

    6th, iLife comes with the Mac. What do you get with a PC? (crickets)

    7th, Quicken? Get reall. Same price for both PC and Mac, and Quicken is horrible. There are other packages cheaper and better for the Mac.

  • Apple Tax vs Windows Tax

    Ok, so this is from a personal perspective:

    I have been a Windows user from the start. About 6 years ago I made the leap to Mac/OS X for my personal PC. I still use Windows every day for work. So here's my 2 cents:

    You have to look at the a) TCO - Total Cost of Ownership and b) Satisfaction level.

    Personally, I spend less time messing about with the silly things on my Mac... like actually getting it to work versus doing the work. In general it does just work :-) I reboot less, spend less time messing about getting things to work.

    In the past few years I have converted a bunch of every day PC users to Mac, as I am their defat family/friend tech support. Phew life has got easier for both them and me :-)

    My father phoned my in a panick as something was not working the other day on his Mac Air... his Mac had frozen, he could not do anything or click anything... after about a minute I worked out his batteries in his wireless mouse had gone flat. Seriously, this is the about as bad as it has got. We have had an issue or two with running a few old DOS programs he still uses, so he had to succump to VMware Fusion which he runs from time to time. Even with this hurdle life seems much easier.

    A friend of mine, a plumber, converted to a Mac several months ao - he's over the moon. He's running Entourage etc on Mac. He initially was worried that software he was running was PC only... with a little investigation he found that he could run everything natively on the Mac - Office, Mail, GPS software,,,, In his life before Mac, every few months I used to help him rebuild his PC from scratch as it came to a grinding halt. His poor Windows Machine suffered from Windows-bloat, a common nasty, the machine would slowly come to it's knees. We actually got good at this "refresh" and could do it over a few hours on a weekend. Imagine teaching each and every car owner to repair a head gasket?

    On the other hand my mother inlaw went with a PC. The machine was cheaper but a year or so and the the thing as lamost ground to a halt. Takes many minutes to start up, do things etc Very very painful.

    So, yes... look at the complete picture but be honest with how much time folk are going to spend fixing and waiting for the Macs vs PCs when you want to compare them.

    My 2 cents on why windows machines are cheaper vs Mac: Mac tests most things (hardware, software...) working together... so the complete package is more fool proof. In general, Windows lets the periphal creator do it's own testing. The net result is a cheaper less robust Windows machine. So I'd pay a little more for the hardware, OS etc for a more robust system. So Microsoft... perhaps you need to think about this approach and providing better quality machines & peripherals for a higher cost?

  • Squish
    5 Posts

    We have a new modern operating blah, blah, blah it's called Windows blah, blah, blah just like all the other versions of Windows blah, blah, blah it is the bestest, most secure OS on the blah, blah, blah!!!! What we did was come up with a bunch of someone else's ideas & repackage them for consumption by the people that use our blah, blah, blah & think we actually have original ideas!!!

    A look into the future:

    We would like to apologize to our customers for Windows 7 & let you know that Windows HyperSuperDuperWOWmostexcellentOS will be the bestest product that anyone on the planet has ever seen...except of course you Mac users who have seen these ideas for 3 to 11 years already, but our customers have never used anything else...it's like stealing candy from babes I tell ya!!!

  • Noble
    1 Posts

    By "analyst" (referring to Roger Kay), you mean "Bought and paid for shill". This supposed study is laughable, inaccurate, and makes deliberate omissions.

    First off, several of the Mac models shown are older models, ie, Macbook with X3100 video (that's been gone for months) and Minis with the Intel 950 card. Sorry, there are newer models that have been out for some time now with better value.

    Second, what about a lot of omissions, hm? I see this "report" as playing up to the strengths while ignoring many other facets. How about RAM speeds and type? Newer and better chipsets? Last I checked, Apple is using the newest Intel mobile chipsets with a 1066mhz FSB, a minimum of 3MB cache, and DDR3 1066 RAM. A lot of Windows computers in the cheaper range will use older hardware to keep costs down. I don't see that mentioned. How about Bluetooth and N wireless? On every Mac (minus N on the Mac Pro, available as a BTO option). No HDMI? All Macs have video output that can be adapted to HDMI. In the second comparison, it's even more obvious as PCs with HDMI are labeled "Yes", Macs are labeled, "No", and PCs AIOs without HDMI HAVE NO ITEM IN THERE. Couldn't say "No" on the PCs but it could on the Macs, eh?

    But hey, the study doesn't mind tossing in largely irrelevant items like media readers (A $20 item that can be found anywhere) or TV tuners (nice, but again, it can be added and usually isn't a big selling point). Wh

    And on the second graph (not posted, but available), I find it utterly laughable that the Mac Pro is compared to a commodity quad core. Last time I checked, the Mac Pro was a workstation with Xeons and ECC RAM. The competition listed was NOT. You just try to build a PC equivalent to the Mac Pro and see if you can make it cheaper. The Mac Pro is not a home/gaming computer. It's a workstation for heavy duty computing, ie, multimedia, video production, 3D modeling, CAD, scientific computing, etc. The competition that was listed isn't anywhere near the same class.

    Then how about those yearly costs that were listed in the "Study" by Roger Kay, shill for hire? Why in the heck was Mobile Me listed as a must buy every year when there was no equivalent on the PC side? Why does a Mac user have to buy an Airport base station when they could easily use that same Linksys router? Why is the Mac user required to buy all that extra software? Apple users must buy an iLife upgrade but Windows users would never need to buy equivalent upgrades? Since when is a standalone Blu-Ray player anywhere close to an equivalent to a BR internal drive? Why buy One-on-One service at the Apple store when Applecare covers most of that and there is no equivalent on the PC side?

    Sorry, but the report is horribly biased and slanted. Microsoft paid a guy to say what they wanted him to say. Yes, Macs can be more expensive. Yes, there are less options overall. The thing is, manipulating the numbers and spouting off utter crap to exaggerate those points doesn't exactly make Microsoft look good. It just shows that they're willing to barf up FUD whenever they feel threatened.

  • mehall
    5 Posts

    I apologise Brandon, I had misread something, I thought MSFT had admitted what we all see throughout this biased and inaccurate report.

    I apologise, MSFT are happier to say a biased paper is fact, than admit they sponsored something inaccurate,

  • @Brandon - I'd guess the "Admittance" of saying it is bias may come from the guy who wrote it himself - Roger Kay, he stated that Microsoft came to him with numerous extra padding that they would have liked to have added to it, though he removed some.

    Then there is the lack of logic with things missing like Anti-Virus etc that is a yearly payment. Then the PDF states that the user experience is better on a Mac yet will be better on Windows 7 - so why have the upgrade costs from Windows 7 for the 4 licenses not been added - etc Something that will cost a lot more than upgrading to Snow Leopard for the family too. Doesn't really fill people with confidence for something that was supposedly sponsored by Microsoft yet clearly paid for in its entirety by them and with the padding pushed by them.

    Thus Biased and inaccurate seems correct to most readers who are on neither "Side"

  • ZenTigerpaw, sorry you feel that way. Certainly give Windows 7 a try - perhaps will be one Microsoft product you may like :-)

  • I'm ashamed to have even liked Microsoft products back when Windows XP was still dominant. Now more then ever.

  • mehall, I would love for you to point out where we "admit" that the 3rd party we sponsored for the whitepaper is "highly biased and inaccurate".

    I stand by my blog post. It was designed to highlight the whitepaper and have a little fun with it - thus the Apple Tax form.

  • mehall
    5 Posts

    The 3rd Party which even MSFT have admitted was highly biased and inaccurate, yet you still blog it Brandon?

  • I would like this opportunity to remind everyone to make sure comments remain respectful and appropriate. Let's refrain from the blatant cursing and what not.


    Keep the comments coming!

  • Jonathanmx, you seem to be a little confused. I did not write the above mentioned whitepaper. As mentioned in the blog post - Microsoft sponsored a 3rd party source for the whitepaper: Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

  • How much money did MSFT pay you to write this big pile of biased BS?

    Both Mac and PC have strengths and weaknesses and making a "fair" comparison just mentioning the weaknesses of one part is not ok.

    Everything else was already said on other comments.

    PS: You should use the money that MSFT paid you to buy yourself a Mac ;)

  • The bottom line is there is, in reality, a Microsoft/Windows/PC tax. I have detailed knowledge of and experience on both platforms in both a business and personal/family environment. My time is valuable and worth something. The Mac platform has saved me, over time, hundreds of hours - freeing me to do other important things to make money and be with my family. Furthermore, Macs have enabled me to generate a far better product with Apple's iLife and iWork software. The final analysis is that PCs are definitely more expensive in the long run. P.S. As an analogy, I don't buy the cheapest automobile I can find. I buy the better car - one that will require less maintenance, be more reliable and have greater value at trade in. The Mac wins on all these criteria.

  • chitbill
    20 Posts

    good advertising is as follows:


    Buried and forgotten because it claims way up front to be misleading, it is very good and they should all get a raise!

     This ad, for good or bad, has sparked controversy and headlines.

      In the spirit of april-fooling around, I propose an ad that clearly shows that Mcrosoft hires more tokens (the slow,women, people of color, Indians) than any other software company, and that it is in more consumers' lives "Living, powered by Microsoft", or maybe just hire CM Burns To buy an HP and gleefully say "Excellent".

    Apologies to India in afvance.

  • First I have switched all of my systems from PC to mac excluding servers at this point.

    It took a bit getting use to the switch but I LOVE it now.

    I feel Microsoft has lost its innovation..  Actually I don't think they ever really had it.  I think they just steal other peoples ideas and implement them..

    Case in point  Windows icons, Vistas widgets, windows 7 App bar  etc.. I'm sure there are a ton...

    Although in regular business I think it's good to have competitive commercials etc...  But with Microsoft so far behind Apple in so many areas on the consumer front... I think they need to worry less about pushing there current crap and focus that money on some good R&D..

    Microsoft is beginning to look like GM to me..... Crappy cars, lack of design etc....

    GM is realizing this and is starting to make changes but can Microsoft?

    Can someone example to me why with so much $ why can't Microsoft get some really good talent together and start developing great stuff.

    Steve Ballmer needs to get his head out of his butt and realize that jumping up and down on a stage saying how much he loves this company is pure rhetoric.

    Competition is good, it keeps you on your feet.  Apple has a great set of products and they are winning more and more consumers every day.

    If you want to be in the consumer products market...GO Innovate, file some patents and bring a great product to market.

  • As others are again saying - Mobile Me Family pack can be bought cheaper elsewhere - what about the other points made such as the $300 extra on blu-ray drive when you can actually get it on the Mac for the same price as a PC one.

    Next the facts that most Windows users have to shell out yearly subscriptions for anti-virus software, something over looked (for obvious reasons) in the tax. Yes of course Mac's can also have viruses, but right now I don't know one Mac user who has needed or will ever buy anti-virus software. So please add that on too ;o)

    Next. Well I have a hotmail account, I can get a SkyDrive account - both on my Mac's too - so why does that family HAVE to have mobile me? Also Windows users can have mobile me too - but again its optional so should the PC tax also have the extra "$750" you have mentioned?

    From my experience with Mac's they have lasted a lot longer than any PC I have ever had - My old Powerbook from 5 years ago runs the latest OS X fine - something that can't be said of even a top-range PC Laptop and Vista - so does this mean there should be another additional purchase of a PC laptop added around the 4 year mark to the tax study?

    Next what are the quality of the screens in these comparison PC's - they won't be as good as the Mac ones no doubt, and for myself that makes a difference. The graphics cards were also dire - and the comparison of a 1CPU desktop machine against a 2CPU Mac wasn't really a fair comparison either was it?

    When you have the writer for the piece (Roger Kay) stating on CNet yesterday that Microsoft provided him with even more stuff to pad to the article, I think that really sums up why this is one really bad (well another really bad) PR campaign.

    If you want to the best advert you could do right now, it would be to forget about HP, Sony etc in your TV ads and show how to install Windows onto a Macbook - as sadly for those companies they have proven to be the best performing laptop versions of Vista there is.

    Maybe your ads should be lambasting how badly the companies like them are producing Vista onto their Laptops etc rather than producing uneducated, basically lying facts and making yourselves look really really stupid.

  • Anguis
    3 Posts

    @LTMP: I did miss OS X's speech commands functions.

    To me, after having used Vista, minimal SR = speech-to-text dictation.

  • Tibo
    1 Posts

    Hi Brandon...

    I didnt know that Microsoft was a PC retailer... Apple is both a PC retailer and an OS manufacturer...So please compare what is comparable...

    Oh you forgot to mention one thing... Windows Vista is running far better on Mac (with Bootcamp) than on a pc with equivalent configuration.

    And... One more thing what about comparing the user experience between OSX and Vista in a next post ?

    Keep me posted!

  • pooria
    1 Posts

    Nobody excepts you Windows Makers to tell the truth...


    Why are you lying??!!

  • gctwnl
    1 Posts

    The tone of the report gives it away, not a fair comparison.

    - "Already Windows 7 is showing itself to be a far more worthy competitor for Mac OS X than Vista was." That says something about Vista (which is a real product and apparently not a worthy competitor, so we have that settled). Windows 7 is vapourware until it is released. It will be better than Vista, I expect (as it is hardly possible to get worse press than Vista got), but it won't become a miracle just like that. How often has Microsoft done this? Anybody remember Cairo, Longhorn, Trusted Computing, OS/2 3.0 (which was renamed to NT), and all the stuff that was promised for Vista?

    - Why the need to buy iLife again after three years?

    - Where is the anti-virus you need on the Windows side

    - Most PC's are not used that long, Macs in my experience are used longer than PCs. Prepare to buy a new PC every 3-4 years, a new Mac every 5 years.

    - Apart from the fact that Vista is not generally liked, why pitch a 'home' version against OS X (which arguably has only one version: ultimate)

    - If I move form PC to Mac I have to re-invest (e.g. in MS Office for Mac). But the same is true if I go from Mac to PC. So, this is effectively telling the 90% of users: there are switching costs. That is something different than an Apple Tax. If I go from Mac to PC there are also (huge) switching cost.

    - The desktop is 2CPU (Apple ) versus 1CPU (HP)?

    - Why would I buy the optional Mobile Me?

    - What about memory type? Some DDR2 others DDR3? Huge difference.

    - What about pixels? Yes I can get a very clunky low resolution laptop that is far cheaper than an Apple.

    - Etc. Others may dissect this one by one.

    Apple is not perfect. I for one have not been thrilled by build quality over the last years.

    These attacks from Microsoft show desperation and fear more than any real argument.

  • MobileMe is entirely optional. Windows users can sign up for MobileMe too, and some may want to because of their iPhones and iPod Touches, so should we count that ridiculous $475 "tax" under PC's too?

    And maybe it's just me, but I don't think Hotmail supports push mail at this stage of life. And last I checked, I do know Mac users with hotmail accounts too...and as far as I know, they sure as heck didn't pay for that.

    Although truth be told, I'm starting to see a really, and I mean REALLY, big shift of both Mac and "PC" userbase towards online services offered by Google. Yup, not Apple or Microsoft, but Google.

    And maybe that's it. I'm pretty sure that Microsoft is still a software company by majority, so why are you all trying to help OEM's sell PC's? I think Microsoft should bring Seinfeld back to the marketing team - at least people get a chuckle out of those commercials and it actually seems more "Microsoft" than those new laptop-hunting commercials.

    First impression when I see those new series of commercials, I see Best Buy and I see HP. I don't see Microsoft, I don't see Vista, and I don't see Office, Visual Studio, ExpressionWeb, Live! products, or (most likely the biggest hardware cash cow these days?) the X-box 360.

    I know most of these ads may have some retaliatory natures to them, but lately even Apple's dropped those and focused on "usability" for their new ads. You don't see them making commercials bashing Windows Mobile for their iPhones - they focus on app diversity and user friendliness. Their previous Macbook Air ads focuses on how thin and light it is, not how they've got OSX out of the box and how much Vista pales in comparison to it.

    Why can't Microsoft do the same? Why can't Microsoft make commercials that illustrate the cross-platform compatibility of Office Suites? Why can't Microsoft showcase the security and stability of Vista or the upcoming 7? Heck, if MS wants to retaliate, why not emphasize the point that out of 100 computers, 80-90 of them run Windows and only 2-5 runs OSX? It won't be a difficult one to make, just go out and spend 100k and random buy up computers. Here, I'll write you a punchline for free:

    "95% of computers run and prefer Microsoft Windows and great products like Office. Corporations, small businesses, schools and home users continue to depend on the versatility and stability of Microsoft. There's a reason why we're everywhere."

  • Rosyna
    16 Posts

    Oh, I forgot to mention. If you want a Hotmail account on a Mac, get one. If you want to use SkyDrive on a Mac, use it.

    If you want to use MobileMe on Windows, use it.

    It makes no sense that you have to only use things in the Apple ecosystem with a mac and only things in the Microsoft ecosystem on a PC.

    I thought this was about choice, after all...

  • Damnit I just wrote a whole comment then lost it.  Anyway the main point was that the biggest glitch on my Mac is MS Office glitching in Spaces.

  • Rosyna
    16 Posts

    Brandon LeBlanc,

    1. You don't need to buy a family pack for MobileMe with just two computers, even if you want more than one email address.

    2. the Family Pack is $88.05 (www.amazon.com/.../ref=sr_1_2).

  • Oh and then there is the fact that a Mac is more likely to get stolen as they're more expensive.

    This is an old article, but it provides some backing to my statement


    If I was a psychology major I might get some mock ups of a PC and a Mac with a lose cable...and leave them on a table with a hidden camera and time how long they last in a high theft area.

    I bet a Windows 7 PC would be stolen faster than an XP PC too, oh if only I had the money to test my theories.  The latter would be an interesting Viral Marketing Campaign.

    "In tests at MVP summit.. the Windows 7 PC was stolen on average 5 minutes faster than the same PC running Windows XP! "

  • ... I realize that the analysis is based on re-acquisition of software such as Microsoft Office for the Mac, but that argument is pretty poor given that when Windows 7 comes out most people will be running Windows 7 - 64bit edition which means that they will most likely want to be running Office 2007 or a higher version, and will need to pay for it.

    I know I want the next version of Office, as soon as it comes out!

  • Well the general point is a given PCs are better value for money, if you invest in a Mac your basically starting down a road of expensive peripherals and add on software.

    With a PC most retail software and hardware will just work, and over time these get cheaper due to the mass market that is PC software and hardware. With a Mac although support is getting better every year you are more likely to have to pay top dollar for everything you buy, be it a printer or the latest Mac games.

    That said the argument is reduced to drivel when you state that people need Mac software e.g. Office 2008 MAC, and there is no PC equivalent in the PC cost column, can't your analyst use Excel?

    It looks like your either encouraging people to not use Office 2007 PC, or saying that it has no cost! ...Unless you picked up Microsoft Equipt at Circuit City during a liquidation sale and made money buying Office 2007 for your PC, last time I checked Office 2007 Student edition on average cost at least the same on the PC as the Mac edition at regular retail.

    A better approach would be to include the price of Office 2007 Ultimate which really has no comparison on the MAC and include extra software equivalent to Groove, Publisher, InfoPath and OneNote....

    Then you wouldn't look quite so biased, but the price difference would still be in your favor.

    The PC definitely is better value, look at the vast quantity of quality software available for free or cheap at download.com or giveawayoftheday.com and the advantages add up quickly.

    Good argument, good point, bad execution.

  • HD Boy, we got a nice new "modern" OS coming very soon. It's called Windows 7 :-)

  • byron_hinson and others, regarding MobileMe - according to Apple's website, a MobileMe Family Pack (4 family members which is used in the whitepaper for the Bancroft Family) costs $149 a year.


    That totals $745 for 5 years reflected in the above Apple Tax Form within the blog post.

    Seeing as you can get free email accounts from Windows Live Hotmail and SkyDrive accounts for each family member also free with 25GB of storage - not sure the Family Pack from MobileMe is much of a deal. For 4 members - SkyDrive offers a total of 100GB of free online storage.

  • JoeMcK
    1 Posts

    WOW, Apple must have Microsoft running scared to have commissioned someone to make up this obvious distortion.  Why not compare Windows Vista and Mac OSX side by side, feature by feature?  Why not make a fair comparison with like services (Windows Live), software (Microsoft Office) and supporting hardware (current hardware & Linksys router)?  Taking the high road would have made it the comparison accurate and made the point.  

  • Thank you everyone for your comments! Keep them coming. A lot of great feedback.

  • Squish
    5 Posts

    Windows truth & consequences:


  • LTMP
    1 Posts


    Regarding value, Vista's built-in speech recognition capabilities are always overlooked. This is amazing technology that OS X fans would have to pay at least $100 for just to get minimal SR functions, compared to Vista.

    OS X has had speech recognition for at least three years, never been a charge for it.

  • Anguis
    3 Posts

    And, just to add, that c500 is still going strong, no problems (I did bump up the memory by 512MB, to 1G, when I bought it) - I watched Masters coverage on it today (Amen Corner). Smooth sailing. . .

  • Anguis
    3 Posts

    Regarding value, Vista's built-in speech recognition capabilities are always overlooked. This is amazing technology that OS X fans would have to pay at least $100 for just to get minimal SR functions, compared to Vista.

    I think some folks' emphasis on BSODs tends toward FUD - they haven't been a problem for me since the Win98 days, about 10 years ago (back when I was always screwing around with my setup). I still mess around with my systems, but BSODs haven't been part of my experience with XP and Vista. There has been no "time tax" with XP and Vista.

    As for e-mail, websurfing, and printing? There is no way anyone should justify a Mac purchase just for that - it'd be a ludicrous waste of money. I bought a Compaq c500 laptop running Vista Home Basic, maybe 3 years ago, on sale at Best Buy for $300. That's about the max I'd ever pay just to e-mail, websurf, and print letters (I'd try for less, actually).

  • Just noticed, that aside from some typos I dropped a word in the last sentence. "If you save money on the wrong end, it will" +backfire. Just like my cheap PSU chose to melt all my components one year ago - just because it didn't have some overpowering protection.

  • Also forgot to mention it might be worth posting up a proper update Tax form as it seems very out of date - not just with discontinued products - but the pricing of things like mobile me (which is $250 cheaper than you state) and ilife are completely wrong...wouldn't want people to think you are lying to the public.

  • God damn this is going to come back and bite MS in the ass pretty soon - what a classic piece of bad PR this is. It may sound like something bitter from a Mac user - but as a user of both PC's and Mac's - how the hell they came up with those costs yet ignored things like Office for Windows, Quicken for Windows - yet added them to the Mac prices? MobileMe for $700+ yeah, but its optional! A blu-Ray drive from sony for $300 when you can get one for the Mac from LG for $110. iLife for $99 - yet find any decent likened software for the PC and you'll be paying a hell of a lot more! Heck they even use a HP pc that even HP don't advertise anymore. They don't do a consumer mac comparison either, just a Mac Pro??? Well I class myself as pretty professional when it comes to computers, but hell not even I use one of them! Memory upgrade here for 4GB cost $50. Applecare - with no comparison to the prices of sending your PC in for repair, the assumption that people will only go for a Apple router which albeit is far better than most others is more expensive - when the one they show for the PC works perfectly fine with the Macs.

    Yes we all know Mac's cost more than PCs. But if they really want to actually make these PR stunts work, they need to actually show what the PC does better, or is that starting to be the struggle here?

    I could go on - classic. At least the press (and not just mac loving press) are laying into this one so easily now. Someone fire the PR guy there and put the focus on what WINDOWS does better - you have 98% of the market, heck even Vista is a decent OS in my mind, or are they too embarrassed to show the actual software anymore these days.

    The big mistake you have made here though is you say that "Roger" came to all these conclusions - yet he has since stated himself the costs and ideas were given to him by Microsoft. Doesn't exactly fill you with confidence does it.

  • joedd
    2 Posts

    I also agree with the MS "time tax" some commenters pointed out. I have spent a lot of time troubleshooting Windows installations, and still do. There are plenty of things I just give up on and live with them. Right now (XP at work, Vista at home):

    - my work machine completely hangs for 60 seconds every time I delete a large folder

    - Outlook at work freezes randomly for 30 seconds when I go from one folder to another

    - COD4 at home takes 5 minutes (!) to start

    - my home machine gets a BSOD on average every 2 weeks

    - home machine goes into a BSOD when I plug in a Microsoft Habu USB gaming mouse

    and the list of petty annoyances goes on and on and on...

    So far, no annoyances with the 2 Macs I recently purchased (but I had one for less than 4 months... time will tell - my wife's Mac has 2+ years and no annoyances, but she is not a developer so...).

  • joedd
    2 Posts

    Ah, the good old price argument... Be careful because linux is the ultimate price win, it's a moot point to try and "save money" with Windows... no? One would have to be seriously blunt to buy that argument.

    I think the problem with Windows is the product: you guys need to get a seriously good OS out there.  I'm a long time Windows developer that is now switching to the Mac because I don't want to deal anymore with Windows (especially Vista). The price is a factor, but it all depends on how good the product is. So far the Mac wins hands down. I'm still learning a lot, can't say I'm as familiar with the Mac as with Windows, but a few months should take care of that.

    I can't help but smile at how much you try to travesty all this by heavily insisting that the Mac is all about the "cool" factor and branding... It is has nothing to do with reality in my opinion. I have 2 Macs now, and I wasn't seeing them as "cool" really, until you guys started pounding it a few weeks ago. It is remarkably stable when compared to Windows. Many things are done quite differently, many make a lot of sense, many are a step down from Windows.

    You are completely off mark with the "cool" thing. It's all about the product, and its stability. Windows needs to get leaner, faster and above all stable. I have decided that I will not stand for BSODs anymore. A BSOD in this day and age is completely inadmissible. I used to get one every 2 weeks on average under Vista. Unacceptable. Also, having to enter a "product key" every time I install an OS is getting on my nerves (linux and OS X are getting this right: they don't ask for one). No amount of discounting can't heal that nasty problem - it would be a burden even if Windows was free! I have lost 2 paid Windows licenses because I've lost the CDs they came on - that's a hidden MS tax right there!

    In this economy, I'm thinking linux makes most sense: it's free and open. The Mac also has several advantages in this bad economy:

    - no hassles (no "product keys" to keep around, it just works, saving me time thus money)

    - resale value is much higher

    - the sleep function on desktops is implemented correctly, unlike on Windows where the sleep function is useless (I never could use it, as the machine would irremediable fail on wake up): I'm saving on the electricity bill with the Macs

  • Rosyna
    16 Posts

    How old is this report? It contains discontinued items and grossly inaccurate product details.

    MobileMe does not cost $150, as listed in the report. MobileMe is $79 for first year, $99/yr thereafter (unless you buy from amazon, where it is $68.49).

    Why would you buy 2GB of DDR2 ram@800Mhz for a mac? The current ones all use DDR3@1066Mhz.

    iLife costs $79, not $99.

    A blu-ray drive (external) *specifically* for mac costs $124.99, not $300.

    And many of the PC products listed have been discontinued.

  • HD Boy
    1 Posts

    A previous poster hit the nail on the head about Microsoft's "Time Tax."

    I had to use a PC at work just twice in long career. Fortunately, I no longer have to be subjected to the constant troubleshooting that's necessary to use and maintain Windows systems for my own work. Unfortunately, I still am besieged by Windows-based friends, family members and small business clients who always are calling for help with interface problems such as navigation or opening and saving files or e-mail browser incompatibilities, dysfunctional video chat hardware, virus problems and data recovery and software re-installation issues, just to name a few. I thought I had selected Macs to avoid issues like this, yet I still must endure them. Bad Karma, I guess.

    Over the years, I've converted a few hundred business users to Macs. Finally, this year, I was able to convert my sister, her son and daughter in Albuquerque from PCs to Macs so that they can have a couple of malware-safe computers in the house, reliable video chats and music editing for the kids (who each have iPods). For now, her hubby and another son remain Windows users. And my brother in Atlanta has vowed to switch his small business to the Mac when his Dell laptop needs to be replaced (in the next year or so). He became sold on Apple after using a new iPhone 3G for the past six months, but to be honest, he had lost faith in Microsoft a couple of years ago (when all the security and malware problems were revealed), and in Dell (when their cost-cutting hardware design and manufacturing went to hell in a handbag and their tech support went to India).

    Since that time, Microsoft's systematic use of coordinated "talking points" (from the CEO down to company bloggers and PR spokespeople) really comes across as forced and disingenuous. The latest "Apple Tax" mumbo jumbo is just another in a long line of deceptive headlines conceived to draw attention away from the PR problems created by the lingering XP security issues and the more recent Windows Vista fiasco.

    Talking points, nor Windows 7 (which seems to just be the next Vista service pack update being rushed into production with a new product name), are not likely to change these perceptions, or this switching trend.

    The day Microsoft introduces a new, completely redesigned, modern OS and your ads and bloggers start talking about really useful Windows Vista features, industry standards (instead of proprietary features) and things like ease-of-use instead of besmirching the competition, is the day reasonable people will begin to take a second look at your desktop OS products once again.

    I don't expect this to happen any time soon.

    In the interim, the only "Apple Tax" I'm aware of is the money you lose when you first purchase a Windows-based PC and then elect to replace it with a more reliable computer -- a Mac with OS X.

  • Time Tax vs. Apple Tax:

    for myself always do a "time tax" calculation: "Install 30$ software (30min) and done"  vs. "Install free software (15min) and get it working (3h)". If my hour is worth 20$, the math is easy.

    Time is something Apple enthusiasts buy with the product - they just want to save time for their day-to-day work. This also means that they want the relevant stuff out of the box. And relevant stuff isn't just "send/receive e-mail" these days anymore. Contact organizer are useful (personal and business), but the "Contacts" ist just half-baked. It's incomplete, doesn't have an API which 3rd party apps could use. Get inspired how Adium and Mail are using the underlying OS in perferct harmony, and how your iPhone is synced.

    But of course, you cannot put "everything" into the box - and there are people (EU) who don't want Microsoft to do so. So, there will be installations - but they provided the same experience for the last 15 years (although they dropped the blue gradient in the background): anarchy. Most applications do the installation their own way - no standard pattern (like DragAndDrop under OSX). This means for me (since I gave myself away as a PC-tongue) there be no week without being called and asked "Is it ok to check option X if I install Y?".

    Now if you say that Windows strength is "options", then I should have the option to not have options! Windows 7 installation requires the fewest clicks of all time, I like it. So force the existence of the iWillBeHappy-Option in installers. Don't ask users if they won't be able to give response. Encourage them to choose the no-pain path. Options are great for Administrators, Businesses, but not for the casual PC user. XBox/GfW Marketplace, Mobile AppStore, why didn't Windows get the one-click install yet?

    If I'd sum up all that time, I might find out why I am not a millionaire yet. If you save money on the wrong end, it will

    P.S. Another time-eating monster for me, fellow-students, and developers: ssh, bash, etc. OSX has all the love now where I (as a Windows user) have to spend multiple hours on getting those things to run on my PC. And since Linux refuses to run on my PC or my Laptop I consider buying a MacBook (although I hope that one won't break one week after the 1y-guarantee is over like my iPod touch did).

  • Quikboy
    30 Posts

    @Anengineer: Maybe if you buy a Dell... but I really haven't had much issues with my Sony Vaio!

  • I own a widows system and 2 macs. There are some things that only windows can do well: I use mine for a home theatre PC, and Quicken on Mac is absolutely terrible. But everything that I can do on either, I choose the mac. Because it just works. I look at buying a mac like preventative maintenance. Yes, you may pay a little more up front, but think of all the time you save by having everything just work.

    It took me years to convince my parents to switch away from their PC, which they got because it was cheap. All they do is email, print letters, and surf the web. When they found out how much easier it was to do that on the mac, they told me they were kicking themselves that they didn't switch sooner.

  • I would buy a Macbook Pro and eat the Apple Tax.

    I hate my Dell so incredibly bad. I bought it my freshman year in College (Fall 2007) and since then I have had the screen replaced 3 times, motherboard replaced one time, graphics chip one time, memory one time.

    In addition to that the paint is wearing off, some plastic parts are cracking...etc.

    On top of all that, the 8600M GT they use in here was fited with DDR2, not the GDDR3 that the Macbook pros used. So this laptop consumes more power and is slower than what I would have gotten with Apple.

    Granted Apple have their own problems. They share the fate of the Nvidia chip issue, but I would think they are still a higher quality that what I got. They get LED backlights in their 15 inch models (that was unrivaled when I bought my laptop) and their body is constructed of aluminum and not plastic.

    If I had the money (which sadly I do not, tuition, books....) I would buy another laptop, and one of my choices would definitely be a Macbook Pro.

    Microsoft has to do something to push their OEMs to create better pieces of hardware. I hate mine, and I know many others who hate their Dells, and HPs. I can no longer blame anyone for wanting a Mac.

  • Can't say I agree with all of your points - it's way too simplistic a comparison of value. My experience is that what the Mac brings to the table is a higher level of service (you can get help at the Mac store, the same is not usually true at the local electronics store where you bought your PC).

    First, you're comparing machines with different capabilities: theYou'd also need to take into account the difference in software to make a fair comparison, and that typically ends up being about the same for either Mac or Windows.

    As an example, I have both a MacBook Pro, and a PC running Windows. Neither one came with XP Pro, so the difference in price for software for Windows, was simply the cost of Parallels ($49).  For a lot of the software, it's either open source, or the cost is the same.

    There are differences in the warranty, and hardware that you don't account for either.

    And for complete costs, you'd probably need to take into account things like boot time - my Mac boots from complete shutdown in seconds (well under a minute), and from sleep nearly instantly, and has never blue screened. I used to have time to get breakfast every morning when booting up my PC (can you say 30 minutes a day for a full work year? the Mac just paid for itself with productive time).

    My Mac is lighter, faster, better supported, and it does Windows - what else could I ask for ?

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    I have Dell XPS 1530 and i love it.

    I have a desktop build BY ME :D and monitor Dell 2707 ultrasharp

    now i change my gpu (8800 GTX with GTX 275 Nvidia)

    Hey mac user  you can?? NO!


  • mehall
    5 Posts

    Brandon, there are more Linux netbooks with integrated Mobile Broadband than there are Windows.

    There are more Linux apps that can fulfill your needs, more Linux Desktop Environments/Window Managers to make your desktop exactly that: Yours.

    You're arguing choice? So can others.

    I don't argue that Apples have less choice OOTB (out of the box), Windows isn't exactly the "freedom of choice" choice, now is it? If Windows crashes on my hardware, and it does the same on a re-install, I need to wait for MSFT to fix it, instead of having myself, and friends, and kernel hackers all available to ask for help in fixing it.

  • Jonathan Rothwell, thanks for the feedback and comment! I appreciate it!

    I do believe the post does play into one of Windows' major stengths: choice.

    In regards to mobile broadband, you can buy a Windows PC today that has built in mobile broadband capability for several major wireless carriers. And Windows 7 will be also sporting enhancements to take advantage of mobile broadband:



  • chitbill
    20 Posts

    Imaginary scenario based on real life experience:

    "What's that? your scanner caused a blue screen? Too bad, buy YAS (yet-another-scanner for the OS du jour). Internal modem killing your printer? Sheesh, that stuff is old, buy another modem, probably a printer too. Tuner card going wonky? Yeah better add that to your list. Listen we whip out our OS well in advance so you can know what to buy [sucker]. Where do you want to go today?

  • And just when I thought Microsoft was easing off on the FUD...

    If you'd have bothered to check Apple's web site, you'd know that the base MacBook actually has 2gB of RAM in it, expandable to 4gB quite easily.

    The screen is smaller, but the resolution is the same on the MacBook, so the screen has a higher number of pixels per inch. The image is therefore sharper, and the machine is also easier to lug around.

    I'm intrigued by the 'wireless broadband' row at the bottom - I don't know about you, but I prefer to buy my service separate from my device. I wouldn't buy a service which offered me a complimentary computer with a contract internet package. I don't buy a computer because it comes with an ISP contract.

    You've also failed to take into account the fact that Apple's service and build quality is also generally a lot better. I still have an iMac on my desk, which is working excellently after eight years and several rather abusive owners (myself included). The only part that I've had to replace is the hard drive, which actually came from an (even older) Power Mac. I also prefer the idea of a system which works out-of-the-box, with minimal configuration, after around ten minutes, than a Packard Bell or Toshiba machine which I have to spend days removing the pre-installed crapware from.

    My advice, Brandon, is to play to Windows's strengths next time, not the opponents' (dubious) weaknesses. Remember that Macs _are_ PCs, as are computers running Linux, and are perfectly capable of running Windows alongside OS X. There's no reason you can't play nicely together.

  • mehall
    5 Posts

    There are issues with your analysis Brandon.

    Firstly, you make the apple users buy MS Office 2008, Quicken, and $70 of "Other Software".

    Last time I checked, MS Office was not included in Windows, so that is a cost encurred by Windows users too, unless you are encouraging Windows users to use Open Office of course, an option which is equally avalable in Mac OS X.

    You also forget that, since you need more RAM and CPU power to run Vista, the OS on all the PC's mentioned, and that you also need an Anti-Virus in Windows as well, the Macbooks power is needed less.

    You are also including 3 times as many services and support packages, all optional, for the mac compared to the Dell. This only covers the Dell inspiron and not the HP, whereas you probably included Services and Support for both macs.

    As I said previously, you will need an Anti-Virus for Windows, and most families like the one you are using as an example will choose to pay for an Anti-Virus product rather than use a free one, so that cost should be included under "support".

    The other issue is compatability with work environments, what systems they currently have, and how long the systems will last for the family.

    I know people who would still be using PPC Macs if they ran Mac OS X, whereas I know people who have had to spend money buying a new Windows PC every 2/3 years.

    And if you are wanting to make this a fair comparison amongst all the available choices, why weren't Syetm76 of Dell Ubuntu systems included in the comparison?

    This is a badly executed comparison IMO, and I hope to see something further thought out in the future, to the standard I expect from you Brandon.

  • Testing writing a comment due to reports of people having issues leaving comments.

  • adcworks
    17 Posts

    i recently bought a macbook on the strength of how fantastic the iphone is and wanting to dabble with iphone app dev.

    however i have to say, whilst i adore my iphone, i can't say the same of the macbook. whilst it looks gorgeous and the build is super, osx i have to say is not doing it for me. i still find windows to be a superior operating system for getting stuff done quickly and i prefer the wealth of options i get at the click of a mouse.

    looking at windows 7, although i can now see some elements are borrowing on some macx elements, i think the combined strength of some apple ideas and the power of windows will make windows 7 a real must have.

    windows ftw.