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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*

    • by 2.7182 (819680) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:27AM (#27596537)
      You have to admit, they are really well hidden.
      • 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.
        • by pentalive (449155) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:07AM (#27597105) Journal

          Several Linux distributions work just fine just as installed. They don't need anything beyond what you might have to do if you were installing windows fresh.

          We Linux users like to 'customize' but its not required.

          My time is worth $25 to $30 an hour, but I can adjust, download, customize and registry edit just as much on Windows as I can on Linux.

          • by corsec67 (627446) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:30AM (#27597465) Homepage Journal

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

            If I want to install OpenOffice, Gimp, Pidgin, Blender, Thunderbird, Emacs, VI, Akregator, GimageViewer, Gnome Terminal, etc. it is easy to do that in one command in linux, but doing that in Windows, even with all of the specified software packages being open source is much more time consuming.

            sudo apt-get install openoffice gimp pidgin blender mozilla-thunderbird emacs vi akregator gimageview gnome-terminal

            Is tons easier than going to 10 different websites, downloading at least 10 install packages, installing all of them, etc. And then there is keeping all of that up to date.

            • by Richy_T (111409) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:43AM (#27597635) Homepage

              Hmm, given that there *is* a lot of open source software available for Windows, I'm surprised someone hasn't come up with something like apt-get for it (or maybe even ported apt).

              Unless anyone knows differently.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Richy_T (111409)

                I should add that I am aware of the Cygwin setup utility. But that is fairly narrow in scope.

              • Looks like it's being worked on.

                windows-get.sourceforge.net

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by umeboshi (196301)

                For just installing software:

                http://wpkg.org/ [wpkg.org]

                For installing windows over a network with applications and drivers preinstalled:
                http://unattended.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

                I have yet to try wpkg, but I've been messing with unattended off and on for a while now, and it's pretty good. There are scripts that will automatically download most of the open source applications and place them in the "repository" you create on a samba share that also contains scripts that help install them automatically. The hard part is actua

            • 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.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Tweenk (1274968)

                If I want to 'pin' something in linux, its not nearly so simple.

                Go to Synaptic, select the package to "pin", and then select Package->Lock Version

            • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

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

              If I want to install OpenOffice, Gimp, Pidgin, Blender, Thunderbird, Emacs, VI, Akregator, GimageViewer, Gnome Terminal, etc. it is easy to do that in one command in linux, but doing that in Windows, even with all of the specified software packages being open source is much more time consuming.

              sudo apt-get install openoffice gimp pidgin blender mozilla-thunderbird emacs vi akregator gimageview gnome-terminal

              Is tons easier than going to 10 different websites, downloading at least 10 install packages, installing all of them, etc. And then there is keeping all of that up to date.

              You're confusing "cheap," "efficient," and "quick" with "easy."

              The average (wo)man-on-the-street would find it much easier to drive to Best Buy, ask the blueshirt, "What's a good program to write up reports in?," pick the MSOffice box, find another blueshirt, ask, "What's a good program to use with my digital camera?," pick up the Photoshop Elements box, pay the blueshirt at the counter, pay for the extended warranty, drive home, stick in the CDs, and click through the GUI installers! Oh, yeah, and then cli

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by wisty (1335733)

            Including the time it takes, Linux and Mac are just better.

            If you use a computer for testing out new libraries / frameworks / etc, Linux is a lot easier to use. apt-get install is a real time saver. I just don't have the time to tinker on Windows - that's for OS geeks, not people who want to get stuff done.

            If you just surf the web, Mac is better, but it really doesn't matter. Linux PPPOE was a bit behind (on Dapper Drake, maybe it's improved) which is a big initial cost, but the stability and lack of viruse

            • by TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:01AM (#27597915)

              Yeah, but there does seem to be a linux tax. Look at Dell's Ubuntu notebook offerings:

              • XPS M1530n for $974
              • XPS M1330n for $849

              (I'm leaving out the Mini 9n because it is a netbook with a tiny keyboard.) The cheapest Windows XPS M1530 is $899, and the Windows M1330 is $749. More importantly, I can get a Inspiron 15 laptop for $399. Less than HALF the cost of the cheapest Ubuntu notebook. (Never mind the specs here, I'm just looking for a cheap box with a real keyboard.)

              Let's look at system76 [system76.com] instead. Their cheapest notebook is a Darter Ultra for $739.

              Excluding netbooks, if I want a cheap notebook right now, the least expensive option is to buy a Windows notebook and then install Linux!

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                And whoever decided that the M1330n was a good idea is a moron. I bought one, and half the stuff doesn't work, or work correctly out of the box.
                Cases in point:
                - no microphone array
                - no fprint reader (and at the time I got mine, the recommended solution was known to break gksudo in certain cases)
                - wireless that can't connect to WEP with 8021x authentication, which incidentally, is worse than the previous notebook I had which used a broadcom wifi chipset. (OMG Broadcom works better?)
                Dell still doesn't r
  • 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.
    • 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?

      • 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: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.

          • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

            by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:36AM (#27597549)

            This used to be a huge problem, then Apple switched to Intel and you can load Windows via Bootcamp for gaming. I had friends get the 512MB video card option on their MBP's just so they could play the latest games.

            • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

              by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:07AM (#27598011)

              This used to be a huge problem, then Apple switched to Intel and you can load Windows via Bootcamp for gaming. I had friends get the 512MB video card option on their MBP's just so they could play the latest games.

              You still haven't convinced me. 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?

              • 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.

                • 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.

        • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

          by somersault (912633) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:16AM (#27597257) Homepage Journal

          I felt the same about my MBP at first, but even with the underclocked-as-standard graphics card that comes with it, it gets incredibly noisy when running 3D games, and after a couple of hours it just locks up due to overheating. So they may be fine for light work, but some of the engineering is actually rather poor. I ended up reading a lot of horror stories about Mac assembly over the last few years, thermal paste being applied too liberally to the CPU etc, so perhaps the machine would run better if I cleaned it out and re-applied the thermal paste myself, but I don't want to have to do that when I've already paid over a thousand pounds for the machine.

          I switched to Ubuntu because it does everything that OSX did (Avant Window Manager), but it's free. The OSX UI is pretty nice, but Ubuntu is even better once you setup compiz correctly, and Avant Window Manager is a great replacement for the Dock.

      • 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?

        • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

          by DrLang21 (900992) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:22AM (#27597349)
          With Apple's higher end laptops, I've tried to configure an equivalent system from Dell. The result is that high end systems cost a lot of money (Dell's was a couple hundred cheaper by the way). Also keep in mind that with Apple, if your shit's broke, they send you a box next day air, you put your laptop in and and ship it back next day air with the label they give you, and then you usually get it back within 3 days, no charge if you're still under warranty. That's pretty hardcore service compared to the on-site service I've had from Dell.
          • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Idiomatick (976696) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:49AM (#27597727)
            Really? Dell usually arrives within a few days and fixes the laptop in your house. That means no mailing. And assuming your laptop is just broken but still usable it gets you extra usable time. Plus it means you don't have to move your HDD (no idea how hard this is on macs .... thinking the Air).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by homer_s (799572)
        Why do you think that the image and the 'cool-factor' has no value? Maybe that is what people pay for.
        If that were not the case, why would they make cars in various colours?
    • 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).
      • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

        by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:04AM (#27597063) Homepage

        There is also the Macbook White for 999 and the Macbook Alu for 1299. If you are really cheap, you can also go to their "Refurb" or "Clearance" page and you can get things other people sent back or the previous model for a very good price (and yes, they are tested and inspected so you don't get the crap somebody else destroyed). If you go to school or college or work for the government or an educational institution you usually get a discount too.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I'm missing the magsafe and the backlit but I can have mouse gestures if I want and so can every other Linux user. I have an OSX-style dock, but one that my icons don't appear under (avant-window-navigator-trunk) and so on. You can get the backlit on a PC, dunno about a magsafe-type thing, probably not. I would think about buying a MacBook Pro, but Apple doesn't seem to be able to put a quad core in one, and my next laptop purchase will be quad-core.

    • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Informative)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:51AM (#27596889) Journal

      but if Apple can command that price and have people pay it, what's wrong with that?

      I don't think anyone is claiming it's wrong in the sense of it being unethical!

      But if Microsoft want to point out they are lower cost that competitors, what's wrong with that?

      Just as Apple have every right to make their products expensive if they wish, people have a right to point this out when arguing about which computer is best. The issue is about what platform is best, not whether companies have a legal or ethical right to make their products expensive.

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

    by peterdaly (123554) * <{petedaly} {at} {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!

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

      by Shrike82 (1471633) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:29AM (#27596573)

      Imaging that. Charging more for a better product!

      That's not the point he's trying to make. He's pointing out that even if the products are better, not catering to a demographic that wants lower prices, and is probably willing to accept lower quality, means you allow competitors to gain a foothold.

      I'm still waiting for the IPod bubble to burst. Been waiting quite a while now...

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • Re:Look at page 3 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:43AM (#27596773) Homepage Journal

      Imaging that. Charging more for a better product!

      If it is, or is not better, or is or is not worth the price is meaningless. For the vast majority of uses, there are cheaper alternatives that are good enough.

      Paying an extra $500, if you're only buying one or two computers, may not seem like a big deal. But when you are planning desktop deployments for your company and looking to order hundreds or thousands of desktops, it starts to add up. Now you're spending a lot more money and in mast cases the users won't need "better" they just need "good enough". If you care about you're employees, that savings on the desktop could be used for something that would have a greater increase in productivity, such as ergonomic chairs or a well stocked break room.

      Then you have to worry about seamless integration in your infrastructure. Fact is, Macs still don't make sense outside the home in most cases.

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

        by raddan (519638) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:00PM (#27600185)
        Actually, this is not true. We did this evaluation recently, and ended up going with Macs for our employees. It has had the added, unexpected, benefit that our employees who switched are stupidly happy now.

        Anyway, in the past, we've gone with WinXP machines for the reasons you mention. They're dirt cheap, the hardware is pretty reliable (you can get great deals from HP when buying in bulk, and their machines are a pleasure to work with), and the software... well, it functions anyway. Macs always came out more expensive, but not significantly so.

        The crucial thing that always tipped the scale in favor of MS was: legacy application support. We have a number of legacy apps-- some are more than 10 years old. XP mostly handled these apps OK. With Vista-- they simply do not work anymore. Unfortunately, they were written well before my time, so we do not have access to code, and the original developers have now moved on to other things. We're stuck with them until we replace them.

        So we're now faced with having to run them inside a virtualization environment until we can replace them. Heck, if we're going to do that... why stick with Windows?

        We looked at Linux, Vista, and the Mac. Linux seemed like a great option, and maybe in the future, it will be, but there were some dealbreakers, since it would require quite a bit more IT overhead to get going than, say, a Mac. Vista was disappointing, and frustrating to use, even for IT folk. Now, the Mac... it turned out to be quite easy to get going! We have it integrated into our AD. We've so far opted not to go with schema changes, but setting up Macs has been a breeze, and deploying them has been even easier than deploying Windows. No problems with SATA/IDE/driver problems-- the same disk image can be applied to ANY Intel Mac, and the image deployment tools come built-in! User templates can be set up just as easily as they can with Windows, and Macs can use our existing CIFS shares. SSO works!

        When we compared the price per machine (including software) between Windows and the Mac, the Windows machines were marginally cheaper (like $25 per machine)-- UNTIL we mentioned this to our Apple rep. She dropped the price for us, and we ended up with a package that was cheaper than the Windows machines.

        Add on the fact that administrating these machines is easy (no AV required!), we can do SSH and remote desktop out of the box, and for us, using Macs has been a clear winner.

        We'd go with Macs again, and this is despite the fact that I have previous ranted here about how Apple's enterprise support sucks. Their AppleCare program for consumer-level stuff is actually pretty good.

        For the record, all of my personal machines are Linux or OpenBSD. No Apple or Windows machines (not including my iPod).
  • 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).

    • 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 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 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.

      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pohl (872)

          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.

    • So there isn't really a conspiracy here, but there is an undercurrent fighting against the pro apple news. The loudest news about apple is pro apple, but only a little less loud is the anti apple news and complaining that said devices aren't perfect. How many people here on slashdot railed against the Mac because it didn't have a command line for so long? Or rail against the iPhone because it's not 100% open or doesn't support Ogg? These are valid arguments, but as people speak out, the almighty dollar takes over, and some journalists pick up on this sentiment and look to make money off it. They establish their niche in reporting and, often, becomes as dogmatic as the pro apple news, and many times stops providing any real content and just keeps finding more ways to say "apple sucks."

      You might think "well duh, of course there are two sides to the story why are you saying this" but if you are swept up in the bipolar press, you aren't realizing there is a third voice, very quiet and very small. Those are the moderates who are actively trying to be objective and are somewhere in the middle. But in just about all news these days, not just tech news, objectivity doesn't sell very well, only the extreme viewpoints do.

      Of course, all of this does not include the fact that Microsoft has a vested interest in getting as many journalists on their side as they can and if they could would bribe anyone and everyone into believing their OS is best. There is a small, anemic conspiracy there, but that's not Apple specific, that's Microsoft trying to fight against any and all competitors. They've done this with Linux before too.

    • 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 eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:21AM (#27596481) Journal

    Meanwhile Linux users everywhere are scratching their heads.

    No, no we are not. We're used to this shit from Ballmer and Co. Surprised that they turned their sites on Apple with it?

    No, I've bitched about this before and I'm sick of hearing about "hidden costs" that you don't pay when you install Linux or OSX or whatever but that you pay later. Or the cost to train to a new OS being a "hidden" cost because Microsoft starts these reports with the assumption that everyone already knows Windows XP.

    I'm not scratching my head, I'm sick of it. And I hope that this finally causes people to realize that you can only assume the price of what you initially pay for software because they all have flaws and problems down the line. It's a futile exercise to try to itemize that in a cost list because--surprise surprise--you're often subjective and biased when you do it!

    Microsoft conveniently ignores these "comprehensive" reports when they ask you to upgrade to Vista despite all the retraining and migration problems you will have.

  • 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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:26AM (#27596521)

    "Meanwhile Linux users everywhere are scratching their heads..."

    trying to figure out how to install their word processor on the newest ubuntu distro

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      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.

  • Linux users (Score:5, Funny)

    by onion2k (203094) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:27AM (#27596539) Homepage

    Meanwhile Linux users everywhere are scratching their heads.

    That's because using Linux gives you dandruff.

    I'm just kidding.

    Living in a basement is what gives you dandruff. :)

  • Millions of smug Mac users and the four hundred smug Linux users pointed and laughed, having long given up [today.com] trying to convince their Windows-using friends to see sense.

    "There's a reason the Unix system on Mac OS X is called Darwin," said appallingly smug Mac user Arty Phagge.

    "It can't be stupid if everyone else runs it," said Windows user Joe Beleaguered, who had lost all his email, business files, MP3s and porn again. "Macs cost more than Windows PCs."

    "Yes," said Phagge. "Yes, they do."

    Ubuntu Linux developer Hiram Nerdboy frantically tried to get our attention about something or other, but we can't say we care.

  • 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

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.
  • 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.

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      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, mem
    • Re:What gets me... (Score:4, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:01PM (#27598753)

      At the time the G3 was technically a faster processor than the Pentium II according to the BYTEmark test [techimo.com]. "Apple says that a PowerMac G3/300 scores 10.2 on the BYTEmark test, more than twice as fast as the 4.3 rating the Pentium II got, and 45 percent higher than a 400-MHz Pentium II." Now it's debatable whether the computer was overall faster as then you have to factor in bus speeds, memory, etc. Back then these things mattered a lot. The main point was at the minimum it was debatable and not blatantly false.

      This comparison done by MS is dishonest at best. For example, for desktops it compares a Xeon class workstation MacPro to a generic consumer desktop Core 2 Duo and complains that the MacPro was much more expensive. Well, duh: a workstation meant for professionals is going to cost you more than a consumer desktop. That's just common sense. Also it includes paying for software like Office and Quicken on the Mac but don't include them in the cost of the PC. It compared old versions of Mac products with the newest PC counterparts etc. It added optional MobileMe Apple services but didn't for PCs, etc.

  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:40AM (#27596737) Journal

    Software Installation Reboot Tax
    Virus Tax
    Anti-Virus Installation Reboot Tax
    MS Word Document Corruption And Formatting Instability Tax
    MS Office 2007 UI Redesign Tax
    Windows Genuine Advantage Tax
    Windows Update Reboot Tax
    DRM Tax
    Internet Explorer Web Deficiencies Tax
    Idiotic Advertising Campaigns Tax
    Ballmer Squirt Tax

    • by BlitzTech (1386589) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:01AM (#27597025)
      You forgot:

      Office 2007 -> Office 2003 Incompatibility Tax
      Reformat Every Six Months To Actually Clean The Registry Tax
      Call Microsoft Every Time You Have To Reformat Tax
      UAC Windows Popping Up All The Freaking Time Tax

      Just to name a few.
      • And the very real:
        Losing all your work because Windows Update restarted in the middle of the night and you'd forgotten to save and who the FUCK DECIDED TO MAKE THAT THE DEFAULT OPTION?! "YES, PLEASE COMPUTER, PLEASE RESTART WHENEVER YOU FUCKING FEEL LIKE IT HAVING DISPLAYED A POPUP DIALOG FOR 5 FUCKING MINUTES. AND PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT DIALOG MINIMISES ANY FULLSCREEN APPLICATIONS OR GAMES I'M CURRENTLY USING, THAT'S REALLY FUCKING GREAT" I DON'T MIND YOU DOWNLOADING UPDATES IN THE BACKGROUND, AND I'M SORT OF GLAD THAT YOU'RE SET TO UPDATE BY DEFAULT, BUT WHY, FUCKING WHY, DO YOU NEED TO RESTART EVERY TEN FUCKING SECONDS?.... ...tax.

        Sorry, got a bit carried away there (having left my computer on with a Photoshop document I'd spend 4 hours on without saving yesterday, only to find my computer now has a security patch for software I never use and a distinct lack of my work.)

  • 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.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:06AM (#27597099) Homepage Journal

    Apple's core market is not just the delivery of a commodity computer and a commodity operating system. It is the end to end receipt of a solution. People that buy Apples buy them because you will get good service out of their store, and you will get solid hardware that works.

    There is a reasonable premium to be charged for that and I don't think arguing Mac on price is alone is really indicative of the kind of market people have. Some people are willing to pay a good premium for a good experience. I for one have had an absolutely excellent experience with Macintoshes. I tell myself the same thing as I tell everyone else. If you want the best possible consumer experience, and you don't mind paying more, just go and buy a Macintosh. It's the simplicity of experience, that people pay more for.

    I will have to say, that I don't have the money, so right now I'm running a home built dual Opteron with yesterday's CPUs (Opteron 270s), using Windows Vista Business on one drive and Linux on another... but, hey, if I did have the money, I'd buy the Mac.

  • by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@noSpam.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.

  • 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 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?

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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