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"Apple Tax" Report Backfires On Microsoft 993

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the taxes-were-due-yesterday dept.
Ian Lamont writes "A Microsoft-sponsored report that describes a hidden "Apple tax" has fallen flat among the technology press. Roger Kay's report (PDF) compares various PC and Mac configurations, and claims an all-Apple household's costs would add up to an extra $3,367 over five years. Tech columnists and bloggers have slammed the comparisons and claims made in the report — even Mac-baiter John C. Dvorak calls it propaganda. However, some Mac fans still see a pro-Microsoft press conspiracy. Even if the comparisons are questionable, Kay's report and the accompanying television ads have clearly struck a nerve among the Mac faithful." Meanwhile, Linux users everywhere are scratching their heads.
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"Apple Tax" Report Backfires On Microsoft

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  • How is it hidden? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlterRNow (1215236) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:19AM (#27596445)

    The price tag clearly displays it before the 1,000 unit separator..

    *scratches head*

  • Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:20AM (#27596459)
    I buy and use what I like and what I feel lets me work best. I don't think the Apple Tax is that high (hell, it might not even exist), but if Apple can command that price and have people pay it, what's wrong with that? It's just economics: things are worth only what people will pay for them.
  • Look at page 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peterdaly (123554) * <petedaly.ix@netcom@com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:20AM (#27596461)

    See Page Three of the PDF:
    "And by holding a price umbrella over the entire market, even with arguably better products, Apple allowed the entire Windows ecosystem to establish itself underneath."

    Imaging that. Charging more for a better product!

  • Pro-MS press?!?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:21AM (#27596475)

    Are you kidding me? Apple has been the darling of newsrooms for as long as I can remember. There was a time you could walk into any newspaper or television newsroom in the country and not see anything BUT Apple computers. The press LOVES Apple. They slovenly follow every Apple product launch with almost rapturous attention (at the iPhone launch, I think I saw more than one reporter have an on-camera orgasm) and talk up even the most mundane Apple announcement. Hell, they've been treating Steve Jobs' recent illness as if the Pope himself had cancer.

    Only the most rabid Apple fanboy (who thinks NOTHING good should ever be said of MS, and Apple can do no wrong) would think there is anything even resembling a "pro-Microsoft press conspiracy" out there. Most of the positive press coverage I see about MS is either when they have a MAJOR launch (the 360, a new Halo game, etc.) or is related to Bill Gates' considerable charitable activities (which *deserves* to be covered and extolled, if nothing more than to encourage other rich guys to do it). Most of their stuff barely gets a nod. I don't remember a single mainstream, non tech-press, story on the Zune launch, for example.

    If anyone is getting cheated by the mainstream press, it's Linux. I've yet to see a single mainstream news story on THAT. It wasn't even mentioned in any of the news stories on the OLPC [wikipedia.org] program (which got considerable press).

  • The bashwagon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:22AM (#27596487)
    I'm pretty sure just about every self-minded tech journalist/blogger/twitterer/etc. would jump on the Microsoft bashwagon if it makes him/her look cool and worthwhile.

    It doesn't matter if everyone bashes Microsoft. Apple is also a design firm, hence the Apple tax on the Apple logo. It's like paying 300 for a pair of Gucci sunglasses: they're damned good for your eyes but 250 dollars of it is a tax on design.
  • by mc1138 (718275) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:25AM (#27596519) Homepage
    On a high end window's machine you can easily spend just as much. That being said, Apple's generally are more expensive, but that being said, is it really a wise move for Microsoft to point this out? Shouldn't they just get some comedians to point out how Apple is full of chic jerks and PC's are where real computing is done?
  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:27AM (#27596551)

    It's just economics: things are worth only what people will pay for them.

    You're not just buying the thing being offered in many cases though. With advertising and PR you're also buying into the image that comes with it. iPods that make you part of the trendy crowd, shoes that make you a super basketball player or a car that attracts all the babes. Sure, it may be a good product but how many people would be willing to buy the equivalent product that has little or no image / cool factor attached to it?

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:30AM (#27596597) Homepage

    Five licenses, less than $200:

    http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Version-10-5-6-Leopard-5-User/dp/B000BR0NPO [amazon.com]

    (and no feature variation betwixt home and work)

    How much will 5 upgrades to Windows 7 cost me?

    William

  • Re:Meh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:30AM (#27596603) Journal
    I buy and use what I like and what I feel lets me work best.

    Until you use something that someone else demonizes for being "bad". Then, even if you are willing to pay for it, you are given a hard time... or worse.

    Guns, SUVs, cigarettes, fatty foods... soon PC's that are "more powerful than you need" (carbon footprint and all that...)
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:31AM (#27596623) Homepage Journal

    They only talk about the hardware, not the software. Most people I know buy a Mac because of Mac OS X and iLife, not because the machines "look good".

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:32AM (#27596627) Journal

    Only the most rabid Apple fanboy (who thinks NOTHING good should ever be said of MS, and Apple can do no wrong) would think there is anything even resembling a "pro-Microsoft press conspiracy" out there. Most of the positive press coverage I see about MS is either when they have a MAJOR launch (the 360, a new Halo game, etc.) or is related to Bill Gates' considerable charitable activities (which *deserves* to be covered and extolled, if nothing more than to encourage other rich guys to do it). Most of their stuff barely gets a nod. I don't remember a single mainstream, non tech-press, story on the Zune launch, for example.

    I'm not an Apple fan; but I still think nothing good should be said about M$. The company is still getting nailed for illegal business practices like the price fixing scheme in Germany.

    Everything the company does is suspect, and part same old embrace, extend, and extinguish business model.

  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:32AM (#27596633)
    From Roger Kay's blithering:

    And even if you're still willing to pay extra-- sometimes a lot extra -- for cool -- that diaphanous, ephemeral quality -- the coolness gap will largely evaporate this year when Windows 7 is introduced. Already Windows 7 is showing itself to be a far more worthy competitor for Mac OS X than Vista was. In beta now, speculation is that Windows 7 may release to market in early summer, perhaps soon enough to ship on machines by back-to-school season and certainly by holiday. At that point, the Apple premium will come into greater focus.

    There are so many things to pick at Kay's article, but that one point is a decent representative example. "Apple has done something we haven't been able to duplicate yet, but we think we've got it this time. Really! Not like last time, not at all."

  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:32AM (#27596637)
    Apple's problem isn't so much the "Apple tax," it's that they just don't have a very diverse product line for varied budgets (especially on the low end). When you buy a Dell, they will have something for you whatever your budget is. With Apple, the only thing they have under $1200 is the Mini (sans monitor). There is nothing wrong with that, mind you (a lot of companies specialize in higher-end PC's too). But it does create the perception that you're not getting much "bang for your buck" (since most of their stuff is well above the value "sweet spot" in the sub-$1000 range).
  • by pohl (872) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:34AM (#27596653) Homepage

    I can remember longer. In the pre-www days the trade rags had a heavy MS bias. Apple was contantly "beleaguered", and didn't become the darling until the iPod was a hit, really.

  • Vista... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:34AM (#27596655) Homepage
    For many people, even if Apple's prices are high, they're preferable to a typical Vista-based PC for reasons similar to why it's better to live in overly taxed Europe than under-taxed Africa.
  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:37AM (#27596697)

    I just switched over to mac this past December, and I will say that for the first time in a long time, I found myself buying smaller twenty dollar applications that have I needed in my work flow. So in some way, my cost of ownership has risen. That said, my laptop satisfaction is off the charts. Sure, I might have been able to get the same components in a cheaper configuration, but it's the little details that make me love this computer - the magnetic power cable - the backlit keyboard - some of the mouse pad gestures - even the OS experience is a nice one. So yes, I might have a higher TOS, but I'm actually happier (ie, spending money is not a bad thing)

    Now before you label me an Apple fan boy, let me also say that I absolutely loathe that company for a gazillion different reasons. I mean really, they do shit that MS wishes they could do in their wet dreams. If my computer purchases were ideologically based, I'd be using Linux. But being more pragmatic that ideological, I decided to go with Apple and as long as they stay on an x86 chip, I see no reason choosing any other.

  • What gets me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:38AM (#27596703)

    Is Apple for years has made outrageous claims about performance and productivity (remember the intel snail ads? You don't? Here's a reminder [youtube.com]...). I won't even talk about the wierd and inaccurate claims they make in their mac vs. pc ads.

    But Microsoft (who has been quiet for ages!) makes one or two not even dubious claims (whoa - macs cost more - big news) and everyone gets all bent out of shape.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:39AM (#27596717)
    Most people I know do not buy a Mac, because they just want a web browser and a computer that can download photos from their camera -- both Windows and Mac OS X have been more than capable of doing this for years now. If that is all someone wants, why would (not "should") they pay more for Mac OS X?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:39AM (#27596729)
    They are quickly revealed to you post install, if your time is worth anything that is.
  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:41AM (#27596749) Journal

    Imaging that. Charging more for a better product!

    I can buy a Ferrari for a few hundred thousand or I can buy a Toyota for a few thousand. The Ferrari is certainly a better product, but if all I'm using it for is to get to and from work, why the hell would I waste money on the Ferrari?

    That's why Apple's pricing is problematic. Sure it looks cute and you'll be the Apple of everyone's eye at the trendy coffee shop, but what's the point? To be seen with your laptop? Like the Ferrari, it's nothing more than a status symbol. It's showing off. I'd rather spend half the money and get more power and more capacity.

    But but but the pixels-per-inch! Yes. And you can enjoy your 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. But, like your more pixels per inch, they're unnecessary.

    If you want to show off, fine. But don't try to argue value-for-money in the products you choose. It's futile.

  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:44AM (#27596789) Homepage Journal

    Competitive products haven't gained a foothold because iPods are priced effectively at zero.

    Of course they aren't actually priced at zero from the point of view of making a profit, but they are priced low enough that people don't bother to comparison shop, and from a competitive standpoint that's within spitting distance of zero. Apple doesn't have to watch their low-price flank, because they're occupying every price niche from $79 up to the maximum any sane person would want to spend on such a device. And in every price range, they're offering no-brainer values. Oh, you can probably get better devices for the price, but it's not worth the trouble to figure that out when you can buy an iPod. People have better things to do with their time than pouring over the specifications and features of portable media players. They just figure out how much they're willing to spend, walk over to the iPod display, and buy the next model up. Then they get on with their lives.

    Now if somebody came out with a device that inspired consumer lust, and priced it comparably to a similar iPod, then we'd see some market position turmoil and Apple would have to either tweak its products or its prices. But Zune wasn't the device to make them do it.

  • by iamhigh (1252742) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:47AM (#27596833)
    The ipod and OSX were both released in 2001. I think there is a bit of causation there. OS9 sucked hard compared to W2k; even 10.0 was pretty terrible (buggy as hell). The press had just about every reason to hate Macs in the late 90's and through the release of 10.1 (also in 2001, but you got a freebie upgrade on that one, IIRC... again cuz 10.0 sucked).
  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MadKeithV (102058) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:48AM (#27596843)
    Why is it "unfortunate" that people pick the cheapest option that actually satisfies their needs? That's just basic economics.
    The reason Linux hasn't really caught on yet is mostly unavailability, in my opinion.

    With €200 Linux Netbooks in the stores here now, it's clear that the accessibility barrier against Linux is crumbling.
    Microsoft's anti-Linux scaremongering is also slowly failing. It's the average store salesperson (or tech support guy) that's a bit wary of having to support people who come in thinking their Linux PC is broken because they can't install their pirate copy of MS Office on it. The average buyer doesn't know and doesn't care about the difference, and with the correct setup will probably never even notice that it's NOT MS Office or Internet Explorer.

  • Linux Tax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:50AM (#27596879)

    Being an avid Linux user, I fully admit there is a linux tax. Lets see, I make roughly $18/hour. To build, install and trouble shoot a machine until it is running the way I like takes me probably on average an hour. So that is roughly an $18 dollar tax for using linux verse OSX or Windows! But the lack of hair restoration from dealing with Windows and the trying to get around the idiot proofing of OSX probably more then makes up for that.
    Of course your 'Tax' may vary but for me I don't mind paying the linux tax.

  • It's a computer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:56AM (#27596959)

    Does it do what you need? Can you afford it? Then why worry about it.

  • Re:What gets me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:56AM (#27596963)
    Microsoft has not been quiet for ages. For the past decade, they have been making one false claim after another about using Linux -- always centered around the idea that there is some sort of hidden cost that will bite you later on if you use Linux. What makes this newsworthy is that Microsoft has changed their focus -- they are now more afraid of Apple than the Linux crowd (again).
  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:03AM (#27597043)

    This may be why some people buy Apple products, but, has absolutely nothing to do w/ why I do. Apple laptops are VERY nice. The new MacBooks have a very nice, sharp, bright LED display, unibody aluminum case that is very well designed, etc. So, in terms of aesthetics, their laptops are the best. The display is top notch (in my opinion)....

    but 99% of the reason why I buy Apple is the OS. OS X is a very good alternative to both Windows and Linux. Specifically, it combines a UI on par with or better than Windows with the "Unix like" functionality offered by Linux. So, on my superior laptop, I can run an OS that gives me the same capabilities as Linux, but w/ a much better user interface.

    Really the question I have is why would anybody NOT buy a mac? What benefit do Windows or Linux offer (for a user/developer machine!!! (not server))?

  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:07AM (#27597111) Homepage

    The ipod competitors are fine.

    There aren't any "technical" problems at this point.

    Apple is the entrenched market leader with their own proprietary online store
    and a great deal of marketing that has already occured. They also have their
    own retail outlets to push this stuff if it's not in the local Frys or Best
    Buy.

    Anyone else has to push against that.

    It's like Atari and Commodore all over again: interesting products and no marketing to speak of.

    As long as music and video remain non-proprietary, it is ultimately
    not a problem. I don't have to worry about what the market share of
    GM or Ford are when I go into Toyota dealership. Tech consumers
    shouldn't or shouldn't have to either.

    BTW, getting your own video onto an iPod sucks big donkey balls.
    The iTunes interface there is a total train wreck that clearly
    seems engineered to discourage you from doing anything but buying
    your stuff over again from the iTunes store.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:10AM (#27597161)

    I don't like Apple's hardware lock-in, but my son just got a macbook and I have to admit that although the technical spec seems low for the price the build standard is incredibly good; it looks and feels as if it's actually going to last the course, whereas most of the notebooks I've ever had have failed because of the casing or connectors. So there's clearly something missing from Microsoft's analysis (surprise!), although they're right that that pitches it at the high-end market. Does anybody have hardware reliability comparisons for Macbooks and comparably priced Windows laptops?

    Some of the stuff in the report is more blatant nonsense, of course: "A re-buy of Office for Mac starts at $150" (whose fault is that?) -- so Office for the PC is free, is it? Or do they think that all Mac users will buy Office for Windows too, just to keep Microsoft happy?

  • Propaganda (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#27597191)

    A b.s. claim of a "Microsoft Tax" = Good
    A b.s. claim of an "Apple Tax" = Bad

    Slashdot's logic seems a bit inconsistant in it's application.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:13AM (#27597199)

    Really the question I have is why would anybody NOT buy a mac? What benefit do Windows or Linux offer (for a user/developer machine!!! (not server))?

    Oh, this is gonna land me in karma hell... GAMES! I beta and sometimes alpha test some of the games. Not a whole lot of em mind you, but enough. I like games. I like to blow apart zombies, or relive wars I was never in, fly amazing air and space craft, or even send my mystical death cow (taruen deathknight), the necromouser (ratongan necromancer) or any other assorted character into battle. With a mac, I just don't have the range of games I look to play. Sure the mac gaming experience is expanding, but with overpriced graphics cards and a less than enticing selection.

    For me, a mac would not be worth it for that one factor alone. For everything not games, I have an HP laptop that runs Ubuntu.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:18AM (#27597285)
    Okay, I'll bite.
    Release dates:
    2001: OSX 10.0/.1, Windows XP
    2002: OSX 10.2
    2003: OSX 10.3
    2005: OSX 10.4
    2007: OSX 10.5, Vista (retail)

    5 user upgrades from XP to Vista Home Premium at $129 ea = $645
    4 OS upgrades for OSX (5 pack, since you'd upgrade all 5 people) @ $200/5pk = $800
  • by hoooocheymomma (1020927) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:19AM (#27597299)
    Their visual studio products are second to none in my opinion, and you can get them for free in their express products. IntelliText speeds up my development time, teaches me the framework while I'm using it, and encourages me to use better coding practices.

    Say what you will about how unethically and inefficiently they run the rest of their business (if you don't, I will!), but they make some awesome products for developers.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:24AM (#27597375) Homepage

    If the vendor of the word processor (like Word Perfect) cares, then they will make
    a shiny happy installation program just like any other commercial software vendor
    on the planet (including Oracle).

    Otherwise, I can just just double click on the binary package (like an MSI file)
    or just search for "word processor" in my package manager. There is a shiny happy
    GUI for this and everything.

    1998 called, it wants it's FUD back.

  • by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:28AM (#27597437)

    Whats actually weird about the Microsoft ads, is instead of saying "Windows", they call it "a PC".

    A PC is a hardware platform. It can run a variety of Operating Systems, many of which are not licensed by Microsoft and are not called "Windows". Heck, if you get just the right combination of "PC" hardware, and you have the right skillset, you can even run a slightly modified MacOSX on a "PC".

    Despite the fact that way too many people are accustomed to assuming "PC" = "Windows" and Microsoft happily encouraging them to do so because that furthers the assumption that there is no such thing as a "PC" that runs anything else, "PC" does NOT automatically mean the same thing as "Windows PC"

    In fact, taking the literal, original, generic meaning of "PC", which was "Personal Computer", the reference "PC" could even refer to a hardware sold by Apple itself. But at the very least, even if you take it to mean "IBM PC" "compatible", it still doesn't automatically mean "Windows".

    Yes, I know I will get flamed by brainwashed sycophants and MS astroturfers. I don't care.

  • Re:What gets me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:30AM (#27597469) Homepage Journal
    Intel, for a long time, was a dog when it came to the amount of work each cycle could do. In assembly you had to fetch from memory, operate, write to memory. The number of cycles to do this was greater than on say, a 68K. For a while this advantage was held by the PPC. This was the battle between CISC and RISC. Most of the claim made of Apple were made to correct claims made by Intel, that somehow clock speed was a reliable metric, and claims made by other white box manufacturers, that clock speed, memory, and number of ports defined the speed of the computer. Not only does the hardware architecture make a huge difference, but do does the OS.

    To put this in perspective, I did significant work on Apples and PCs. It was almost 1990 before the PC was up to the performance level of the Mac in Excel and the like. Even to the mid 90's I still used the Mac for visualization. I believe this was due not only to simple things, like the lack of graphics chip, but other issue like the fucked up memory model and, of course, the inefficient chip.

    Intel, leaving the x86 behind, now has fixed the problem by creating hybrid chips. This also allowed them to compete with AMD. So the snail ad is not longer valid. Neither is the caveman ad when MS put out Windows NT. NT eventually became pretty good and XP was nice.

    For the most part the claims still make some sense. I was able to play movies on my mac long before it was simple to do so on the PC. Importing DV movies, which require firewire, was easy to do on all machines post 2002. Editing movies became easy about three years ago.

    Obviously if one never need the high power killer applications, the the PC makes a lot of sense, and paying for power you don't need makes no sense. Alternatively, if you have the skill, you can build a powerful machine and install a *nix and get a workhorse for very cheap, not counting you time. But the number of people who can do this are small.

  • by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:30AM (#27597471) Homepage Journal

    I'm tired of people saying their apple runs just as good four years later. Its almost technically impossible. Hardware degrades. It has nothing to do with the OS and no, the component quality in a macbook is *not* that much better than what you'd find in a high-end laptop. I guarantee you its NOT running as well as the first day you bought it, you just can't admit it to yourself. No CPU, RAM, harddrive, etc etc etc is going to run as well as it did after four years of usage unless its never getting used in which case the same principles can be applied to any other computer.

    Not to defend Apple here, but please explain to me how, for example, a CPU or RAM "degrades". As far as I can tell, either it works or it doesn't. Does RAM run slower? That would be hard to believe, because it is externally clocked by the MB.

    That's not to say that RAM or a CPU won't eventually -fail-, but until they fail they don't really degrade.

    I call BS.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:33AM (#27597507)

    Only the most rabid Apple fanboy (who thinks NOTHING good should ever be said of MS, and Apple can do no wrong) would think there is anything even resembling a "pro-Microsoft press conspiracy" out there.

    You have a point, but I'll give you a personal example of how sometimes "independent reports" aren't as independent as they claim. Earlier in this decade I worked in a US office of a wholly owned subsidiary of an EU telcom giant. I'd be surprised if more than 1 person out of 100 here even heard of us or knew that we were owned by our parent company. My company put out a supposedly independent report that showed that the total cost of ownership of a PC running Windows was lower than Linux. The report didn't get a lot of press, but it was out there. What nobody knew though was that Microsoft was one of our customers and I could drive to our data center and point out the Microsoft equipment that we hosted for them. Can you say "conflict of interest"? I'm not going to suggest that Microsoft encouraged my company to produce this report, but I definitely think that it was an attempt to suck up to one of our customers in the hopes that we could get more business out of them by saying how great they were. So when I see anything that says how great and cheap Microsoft is, I wonder if there's a secret business relationship going on behind the scenes like there was with my former employer.

  • by greg_barton (5551) * <(greg_barton) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:39AM (#27597581) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, before I ditched windows entirely I burned through more than $700/year in personal labor costs just to keep M$ software functional.

    There's a reason why I BUY macs for all of my relatives after their PCs have died. It saves me time and money.

  • so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:40AM (#27597593) Homepage Journal

    Maybe Apple is more expensive, maybe it isn't.

    Did I miss the memo where we have abandoned capitalism? Demand and supply meet at the price point of agreement. I'm perfectly willing to pay what Apple asks for its products. Sure, I'd be just as happy to pay less, just as they would be happy to charge more. But that's not the point.

    The point is: Is it worth it?

    Standard PC with Vista - 2000
    or iMac with Leopard - 2500

    I'd rather pay for the second, because not everything is about price alone.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:42AM (#27597617)
    What the hell are you talking about? Maybe you better clean out the registry on your windows machine, or better yet reformat, and find out how fast your machine used to be before you start trying to tell me about my much RAM is degrading. Yes, things like backlights on LCDs fade with use, and batteries have shorter lifespans, but that's normal wear and tear, the laptop itself runs just fine. I don't get any fewer floating point calculations per second, nor do my 3D rendered objects get any fewer frames per second. You can bitch and moan all you wish about how the Apple computers use standard components, but that doesn't explain why my Dell laptop fell apart after two years and my macbook pro is going strong after four. It's called QA/QC and it's expensive, look it up.
  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:48AM (#27597717)

    Of course they aren't actually priced at zero from the point of view of making a profit, but they are priced low enough that people don't bother to comparison shop, and from a competitive standpoint that's within spitting distance of zero.

    Even when they do a comparison shop, it comes down to convenience, not just price.

    A few months ago, I was at Best Buy doing some last-minute Christmas shopping (it's the only time I ever go there). I eavesdropped on a Best Buy employee discussing different mp3 players for a customer. The customer wanted to know why the Creative (or whoever) product was priced much lower than the Apple product- they both had the same capacity, and color screens, but the non-Apple player was 25% less. The employee said it came down to itunes... he simplified it by saying it's "much easier to put music on the ipod". He then went on to say it was much more difficult to do on the other mp3 player.

    The customer ended up buying the Apple product.

    Most people aren't savvy enough to understand how to copy and paste mp3 files to a USB storage device, or how to buy music online without using itunes (or even rip a CD without itunes). People pay the premium (Apple tax) not because they're pretentious fanboys (well, some do), but rather they believe Apple's products are the easiest and most convenient to use.

    But Zune wasn't the device to make them do it.

    I feel the biggest reason for failure was that the Zune was way overpriced. Had MS priced them much lower than the comparable ipod, they would have had much more market penetration. Unfortunately, greed got in the way of intelligence (it happens often), and priced each zune similarly to the corresponding (capacity-wise) ipod, and believed that simply having a bigger screen would draw most people in. Apparently, MS forgot to use their own business model when they marketed the Zune.

  • by AlterRNow (1215236) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:51AM (#27597757)

    Only idiots buy all their equipment from high street retailers and pay full price, I expect better from /.ers

    Most of the consumer market isn't made up of /.'ers, let alone the informed.

  • Re:Linux Tax (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hattig (47930) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:57AM (#27597865) Journal

    Try applying that tax again when you are older, earning $40+ an hour, have very little free time (late at work again, long commute, etc) and thus your personal time is actually really valuable to you (easily $100+ an hour) and your Linux install/update has a problem with a bit of hardware in your computer that takes 5 hours to sort out.

    The good thing is that these problems with Linux are getting fewer and further between. Most wireless hardware is supported out of the box now (although I had to connect via ethernet with my recent netbook to allow the system to download a binary broadcom driver), the same with graphics adaptors.

  • absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by confused one (671304) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:59AM (#27597889)

    I'm not surprised there's a backlash, I just read the report for the first time and I found it absurd

    Let me state for the record that I use a mix of Window and Linux; that I own a Dell, two HP's, and an iPod; I write software for the Windows platform for a living. Let me also state that I do believe that Apple machines are more expensive than a typical HP or Dell box -- what your paying for is industrial design aka "style"; and, if you find a comparable HP or Dell desktop they're usually on par or pretty close to the Apple price, with the laptops still being slightly pricier. Having gotten that out of the way...

    The report has the family buying a Mac Pro -- a workstation class machine???

    For hardware upgrades, Apple's online store prices are quoted and then compared to Newegg prices, instead of HP or Dell online store prices.

    It quotes an external Bluray drive to upgrade the Mac -- even though they have a Pro chassis to stuff an internal drive into

    The report includes the cost for the Apple user to subscribe to Mobile Me, a service they can get for free from somewhere else like Google. It assumes the PC user will use MSN for free...

    It has the Apple user buying home office software but not the PC user, you need to buy at least the basic Office pkg

    The Apple price includes buying Quicken, software which is not included in the PC price

    The cost includes an upgrade for the software on the Apple, but does not include any upgrade costs on the PC

    The Apple user pays for software support, the PC user does not

    The "Apple Tax" should amount to at most a few hundred dollars, if the report was honest.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:11AM (#27598055)

    The ease of installing software on many Linux distributions shouldn't be overrated.

    Then please don't.

    If I want to install OpenOffice...
    it is easy to do that in one command in linux

    It wasn't for me, just a few months ago. I wanted OO3, but all that was in the repository was OO2. So I had to add some obscure repository and key first. It wasn't particularly hard... but it was about on par with editing the windows registry. And I had to follow some online instructions on what exactly I needed to put in there.

    Is tons easier than going to 10 different websites, downloading at least 10 install packages, installing all of them, etc.

    No. apt-get is more efficient. Going to a website, downloading the program, and double clicking to install isn't harder, its just time consuming.

    And then there is keeping all of that up to date.

    These days most of them just prompt when they want to update. Again its not hard, its mostly just annoying. And the ones that don't auto-update simply require another visit to the website from time to time, or that you join a mailing list... its not hard... but yeah, its annoying and less efficient.

    That said, if I don't want to install updates to something, most (but not all) programs have a simple checkbox to turn of auto updating. If I want to 'pin' something in linux, its not nearly so simple.

  • by quisxt (462797) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:15AM (#27598099)
    That's great, but unfortunately the following doesn't work, and it's what many users seems to think they want

    apt-get install MSOffice Photoshop WorldOfWarcraft

    Even something like Google Earth for Linux can't be "apt-gotten," unless that has changed in the past few months.
  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dzfoo (772245) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:17AM (#27598145)

    >> Why I should pay more now (Apple License and a Windows License) for a mac with bootcamp, when I can just have my regular ole PC (Just a windows license) to play games?

    Because with the Windows PC you only get games; at least that was the only advantage you mentioned. With the Mac, you get a more polished experience in many other aspects of computing--plus the games by using BootCamp and Windows.

            -dZ.

  • by GNUbuntu (1528599) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:19AM (#27598165)
    I've never seen any person actually buy the WiFi accessory except for morons. And this is including a whole host of people I know who have 360s who aren't tech savvy. They just plugged their's in to a router via the wired connection. The GGP's attempt to add that in as if it was some sort of mandatory cost (on top of all the other nonsense) just makes the post entirely laughable.
  • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmaranthineNight (1005185) <amaranthinenight ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:19AM (#27598169)

    I run both XP and Mac OSX on my macbook and for most tasks OSX has been faster. It also, unlike windows, doesn't like to completely freeze my UI and keep me from killing the software running on it. (I use the terminal for this).

    I have never once had an issue sleeping and waking, and I almost never actually shut my computer down. I'm not sure what's so shitty about the filesystem, but I'm not a particular fan of the file manager (Finder), so I mostly just search for what I need in Spotlight...which is faster than I've ever seen Windows search.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:20AM (#27598175)

    Because with the Windows PC you only get games; at least that was the only advantage you mentioned. With the Mac, you get a more polished experience in many other aspects of computing--plus the games by using BootCamp and Windows.

    -dZ.

    Polished how? You haven't explained to me anything I can't already do in my Windows Desktop or my Ubuntu Laptop. All you've done is throw a buzzword or two my way.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:37AM (#27598443)

    Nothing good should be said about MS? That's kind of nuts.

    MS has performed a TREMENDOUS service to MANY of those who like to use computers. Bill Gates' quest to dominate has much helped the x86 chipset to become a standard and has created a standardized operating system so that developers can reach more people more easily. Computers are really ubiquitous now largely because of Microsoft. This ubiquity has resulted in lower prices and more variety.

    Maybe MS has served its purpose and should soon become extinct. Time will tell. But dont' say that NOTHING good should be said about MS!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:41AM (#27598489)

    You just lost the regular market when you mentioned "command".

  • by rnaiguy (1304181) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:47AM (#27598571)
    It still isn't clear why you would need a mac, except for "more choice", by which you actually mean 1 more choice (OS X). He could dual-boot 2 copies of windows or windows/linux on a non-mac machine, and still isolate his gaming OS from his work OS.
  • by pohl (872) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:08PM (#27598861) Homepage

    Exactly. And before Apple bought them, NeXT was almost entirely ignored by the trade rags. So was OS/2, and Be. Everything was framed as Apple-versus-MS, with MS being the "defacto standard". Apple was lucky to get a token mention as the only viable non-MS alternative.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by babyrat (314371) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:26PM (#27599069)

    I was going to respond to this post indicating that it is not the same experience. The hardware itself, totally outside of specs is much nicer on a MBP than any HP. Then I was going relate my experiences of loading OSX on HP laptops (among others)...hunting for drivers, manually editing files to allow the latest hardware to be recognized bythe existing drivers, not using auto-updates because they screw up those drivers and cause kernel panics after reboots.

    and then a thought about this statement for a bit...

    That doesn't mean jack. I can find an HP laptop with the EXACT hardware specs of any Apple laptop,

    and decided that this statement in response to that comment would sum it up:

    No you cannot.

  • by saforrest (184929) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:44PM (#27599313) Homepage Journal

    Hmm, $3,367 over five years for a household...

    Am I the only one who thought that paying an extra $600/year per household to escape the burden of dealing with Windows (for all users, not just non-techie ones) wouldn't be that unreasonable a price?

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @01:39PM (#27599961) Homepage Journal

    The ipod and OSX were both released in 2001. I think there is a bit of causation there. OS9 sucked hard compared to W2k; even 10.0 was pretty terrible (buggy as hell). The press had just about every reason to hate Macs in the late 90's and through the release of 10.1 (also in 2001, but you got a freebie upgrade on that one, IIRC... again cuz 10.0 sucked).

    Yup, what really hurt Apple was their belief that Windows was only just catching up. What ended up happening is that Apple did not innovate in the right places and let Microsoft pass by. The product line was equally confusing with model numbers that didn't mean anything to anyone.

    In many ways I feel Gil Amelio made the right choice of purchasing NeXT instead of Be, since I suspect this would have caused Apple to become a software only company. In purchasing NeXT Apple got Steve Jobs, someone who IMHO, who had a vision (not the spiritual one) of where things should be going. When Steve Jobs came on board he brought OpenStep, a system that was ahead of it time, but not really finding itself a market until it became the core of MacOS X. He also simplified the product line into a range that people could understand. This is something I don't see with companies like Dell, who offer such a large range of computers and models that you are left scratching your head as to which is the right for you.

    For me what really made me understand Steve Jobs was a Wired Interview [wired.com] which was done back in the 1990s, and I believe is a must read. He believed in simplicity and the fact the computers should be present but not visible, to the point where you don't even think of what you are using as a computer.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:51PM (#27601087)

    How about sleep and wake reliably when I close and open the lid. This is reason #1 why my portable computer is a Mac.

    Reason #2 is that OS X is the only OS on which I can run Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and a Unix shell.

  • Re:What gets me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:57PM (#27602241)

    In assembly you had to fetch from memory, operate, write to memory. The number of cycles to do this was greater than on say, a 68K.

    liar liar pants on fire.

    What you are claiming is that on Intel, you have to do this:

    mov eax, [foo]
    add eax, ebx
    mov [foo], eax

    Yeah... you CAN do that... but you can also do:

    add [foo], ebx

    omg where did your bullshit arguement go? drink the punch much there, fanboi?

    The CISC vs RISC debate was never about what you imagine. The reason RISC was so attractive was because it *didn't* have the option of that second method.. that second method is "complex" .. its a read/modify/write instruction and risc machines don't do that because RISC machines were all about MHZ.

    RISC became popular precisely because they could crank up those MHZ .. the Alpha being the star of the show.

    You just declared exactly the opposite of what was going on back then. The PPC failed precisely because it was an underpowered piece of crap. It was RISC without the performance advantage of RISC. The alpha was performance king when it clocked (MHZ) at 1.5x to 2.0x faster than Intel's offerings. The PPC couldnt boast that. The only folks who didnt notice were Apple and their fanbois

  • Re:Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nanoakron (234907) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:10PM (#27604997)

    My friend still uses his 12" PB on a regular basis.

    So much for those 5 upgrades in the meantime...

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