Daniel Eran Dilger
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Microsoft to attack Mac pricing in new series of TV ads


Prince McLean, AppleInsider

After running through a series of ad campaigns designed to make Windows look cool, then victimized, then simply inescapably ubiquitous, Microsoft is now hoping to attack Apple in new ads that portray Macs as unaffordable compared to generic PCs.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Microsoft hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad agency behind the campaign pairing Bill Gates with Jerry Seinfeld, to recruit “unwitting subjects by posing as a market research firm studying laptop purchasing decisions.”

Participants found on Craigslist were given between $700 to $2,000 to buy a computer fitting certain criteria, and were told they could keep the computer they selected.

One participant named Lauren was told to buy a 17“ notebook for less than $1000. She was then filmed entering an Apple Store where she couldn’t find one. Lauren then heads to Best Buy and selects a $699 HP machine running Windows. That experience was turned into a 60 second TV spot for Microsoft after the agency told the buyer that the purpose of the excursion was really to promote Windows.

Shopping for hardware

The new ads don’t go into details on hardware purchases; they simply make the case that PC laptops can be found for cheaper, playing up tight funds in the tough economy. Best Buy actually does sell the DV7-1245DX, an HP notebook with 17” screen, but it lacks fast wireless 802.11n, fast Gigabit Ethernet, digital audio inputs and outputs, weighs 7.75 pounds, and only features the screen resolution of Apple’s 15“ notebooks: 1440 by 900. Technically, it is a 17” notebook in terms of size, but it doesn’t have the 17“ resolution of Apple’s MacBook Pro, which is 1920 by 1200.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7&showPlaylist=true&from=msnvideo" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>
The new Microsoft Ad

One HP buyer pointed out that this model series ”has the worst screen I have ever seen in my life. It’s the 1440×900 screen and the viewing angles are so poor that even when sitting directly eye level with the screen it is totally washed out. If I go a little bit off-axis the screen results in a negative image. I was using the default settings. Unfortunately I didn’t read reviews before i purchased.“

Shopping for software

More importantly however, the HP notebook runs Windows Vista, rated by ChangeWave as having the lowest operating system satisfaction rating in rankings that were led by Mac OS X Leopard and also included Linux and Windows XP. Many PC makers continue to add a ”Windows XP downgrade“ as a feature on their new PCs.

This makes it particularly interesting that Microsoft would advertise its product by citing the price of the hardware it runs on, rather than calling attention to any of the features in its own product. It’s not that Microsoft hasn’t tried. Vista’s first ”Wow“ campaign portrayed customers in a state of pleasant shock when using it.


Shopping for an ad campaign

After those ads collapsed in an avalanche of bad press complaining about arbitrary changes that did not improve anything and software and hardware compatibility problems, Microsoft rolled out the Mojave Experiment, which showed users a ”new OS“ that was really just a repackaged version of Vista. Those ads attempted to claim that Vista’s bad reputation was all due to customers not giving the system a fair shake, but the ads sidestepped the real problems users were experiencing by not allowing participants to run Vista on their own PC or with their existing software and peripherals.

Microsoft then announced a $300 million campaign to revive the Windows brand by associating it with skits featuring Gates and Seinfeld which promised to ”tell the story of Windows.“ Instead, the ads were canceled mid-production after being poorly received.

Following that, the company released a ”Windows vs Walls“ campaign reminiscent of Apple’s Think Different commercials, and then a series of ”I’m a PC“ ads that tried to defuse Apple’s Get a Mac spots by claiming that generic PCs were empowered to do anything, except of course, producing the ads themselves, as it was embarrassingly revealed that those ads were actually created using Macs.

Promoting cheap

Talking about price during a recession where the global PC market is actually shrinking for the first time ever is probably Microsoft’s best bet in trying to stem the tide of switchers buying Macs. However, the company has to be careful because it’s also competing against free software such as Ubuntu Linux, which also runs on generic PCs. In fact, those PCs get cheaper if they’re sold without Microsoft’s Windows, something the company has worked hard to prevent from happening.

When cheap netbooks surfaced last year and began to sell in increasing numbers, PC makers were able to hit their low price targets by bundling them with Linux. However, Microsoft stepped in and dumped low cost Windows XP licenses on the PC makers to get them to stop selling Ubuntu’s software as a competing product, according to Ubuntu CEO Mark Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth ”believes that a decent edition of Windows [7] will mean Microsoft finally has to charge full price and that Redmond will finally stop allowing OEMs to use low-cost copies of Windows XP instead of paying full price for the full version of the official flagship – Windows Vista,“ according to an interview published by the Register.

”We are in an awkward situation now because they [Microsoft] are giving away XP in the netbook market – they are literally giving it way to OEMs,“ Shuttleworth said. ”You can make the argument Linux is more expensive that Windows XP because Microsoft has been very aggressive in licensing.“

As Microsoft starts charging more for its software, it will have to compete against Linux on the low end and Apple on the premium end. Further, as Apple builds WWLAN mobile broadband support into its forthcoming machines, Microsoft will also have to push Windows PCs against Apple hardware that is similarly priced due to begin subsidized by mobile carrier contracts, just as the iPhone broke down competitive barriers and leveled the playing field in smartphones, catching up to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile shipments in just a matter of months.

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  • http://planetenpaultje.nl Planeten Paultje

    And the “FIX WINDOWS REGISTRY” ad that I see at the end of this article is exceptionally well placed ;-)

  • http://jonnytilney.com Jon T

    This is just such a perfect representation of the all the disarray that is Microsoft! Thanks Dan for your clarity on these things.

    So, it’s only a matter of time before MS’s bullying, arrogance and hubris comes back and bites it right on the ass. Hooray.

  • dallasmay

    And Kia asked a woman to find a car for less than $10,000, that has a cd player. She first went to a BMW dealership and couldn’t find one. Then she went to a Jaguar dealer and couldn’t find one. Then she saw a Kia. She bought the lowest end crappy car she could find. See Kia’s are cheap crap for this economy. (No offense to any Kia lovers out there. I have actually never driven an Kia, and was just using their name in vane. If you would like, you can change the work Kia to what ever you like.)

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  • roz

    I think this ad is BS and staged but for the record, I called this: http://shrt.st/3gi

    Hey I love me my Mac but they are charging a lot more than the rest of the industry, even if you match the specs. And its always been the case that with a PC you can go down on the specs and get a less expensive computer. What does this girl need gigabit ethernet for or digital audio input? Does she really need 802.11 N? Doubt her roommates router supports that. And even screen resolution and quality may not matter that much to her. I’ve got to say that I switched from a several year old PB17 and the lower res, sorta dim screen was not great but it was not that big a factor for me.

    Some people just want a bigger screen. You just can’t get that for any reasonable price on a Mac laptop and that sucks. My aunt is in her late 80’s and her eyes don’t work so well. Does she really need to get a MBP15 with all its features to buy a laptop with a bigger screen??? It’s silly.

  • danpoarch

    CPB is a great agency, I had no idea that they had done that ridiculous Seinfeld campaign. If they’re responsible for the interactive campaign up on the NYTimes right now… I wouldn’t hire them to do a church bulletin. Horribly programmed and utterly illegible. The ad doesn’t use the available space effectively, loads out of place, and hasn’t been optimized effectively so it plays back too slow on its first few cycles. Piss poor from an agency that’s been all but spotless thus far. Again, if they are responsible for it… I hope they aren’t.

    Interestingly, it appears that Apple has pulled the CPB profile from their site:

    At first I was a little struck by MS actually growing a pair and swinging back and then I realized that they are playing on fears while not offering any sort of competitive advantage. The story is already out there that PCs are cheaper. They run the risk of starting a conversation that reveals the truth. They’re going to find out that everyone who owns a PC has a friend with a Mac that’s going to say, “Might be cheaper but it can’t do X, X and X. I love my Mac.” They will turn the spotlight on themselves with this campaign. I already see the editorials from tech reporters that have successfully switched. “Yes, PCs are cheaper. And you get what you pay for…”

    Oh well. In a tough economy I guess Apple can slow roll another campaign until Microsoft sinks themselves again.

  • http://www.jphotog.com leicaman

    Sorry roz, your arguments don’t hold water. Comparable PCs cost the same as Macs. You’re claim otherwise simply shows you don’t understand the meaning of the word comparable.

    Your aunt would no doubt be better off with a desktop computer with a big screen. Less money than a MacBook Pro and more speed. What does someone in their late 80s need a laptop for? And even when they do, do you even know you can increase the magnification on the screen with a simple keyboard command?

    No, I bet you don’t.

  • luisd

    Actually, Roz’ aunt would be better off with a Mac. The accessibility control panel would give her a very good solid experience. You can change sizes, magnification, use high contrast settings, or you can even get the computer to talk to you. And all is done with the typical ease of use of the mac interface. Get her a Mac Mini with a bright but cheap screen from other vendor. She will love the experience ;)

  • stormteech

    Another problem with Roz’ arguments is : just what software comes with that HP PC? The girl in the commercial may not need 802.11 N, but she will probably want a lot more software to actually DO things than comes installed, and have to pay a lot more money. . . or she could buy the Mac with iLife, etc, installed for about the same price.

  • stefn

    Daniel, I think your last paragraph needs fixing.

  • stefn

    If I understand the intent of the last paragraph, it is that subsidized pricing will come to Macs, just as it did to cell phones, including the iPhone. Finally. It serves two great purposes: It allows cellphone companies to move into wireless computer services using 3G, displacing cable companies. Yah! And it can allow buyers to purchase $50 iPods and $500 laptops with service contracts, using the old quarter-meter plan whereby TVs were paid off over time. Can’t happen too soon. Depending on the service contract cost of course.

  • stefn

    Credit, by the way, to the Kindle and Amazon for leading the way with “built in 3G” services. Not subsidizing the price of the Kindle with a service contract, however, has been a big misstep, ‘cuz it makes the Kindle too expensive.

  • alansky

    This is like trying to sell Chevrolets by attacking BMW pricing. Do people actually get paid to come up with such useless ideas?

  • http://www.systematicabstraction.com/ KA

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned that Lauren is, in fact, an actress.


  • beanie

    Prince points out:
    Shuttleworth ”believes that a decent edition of Windows [7] will mean Microsoft finally has to charge full price” on netbooks

    Microsoft can charge less for OEM Windows 7 for netbooks if they want to and probably will. OEM licenses are tied to the motherboard. So the OEM license is tied to a low performance netbook motherboard using Atom CPU or VIA Nano CPU or some other power-saving x86 chip. Microsoft puts netbooks in the Ultra Low Cost PC category.

    An OEM Windows license lives and dies with the computer system. A retail Windows license can be transfered to another system. That is one of the reasons why the retail version is more expensive than the OEM version.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    @Windows Beanie:
    Microsoft can try to charge less for netbooks, but as those $300 units rapidly eat up the $600 PC market, exactly where will Microsoft be making its money?

    Microsoft is a quasi-kingdom ruling the shrinking PC business and using its power to levy taxes from PC makers. That’s its only business model that works for the company (Microsoft can’t profitably sell hardware).

    Think about what happens to taxes as property values go down and markets shrink. Look around, the governments are all bankrupt. Your solution is to charge lower taxes?

    Microsoft boomed as long as the PC market was expanding and prices were high. The US also had lots of money to dump into Iraq and torture camps and Blackwater in the past decade, but guess what, not so much any more. Microsoft is in the same place, but instead of now being lead by a calm and intelligent president, it has Steve Ballmer.

    Good luck with that!

  • adamk359

    “but the look of this one is drawing me in!” And they think all Mac people care about is eye candy.

    Problem is, Windows machines these days (I’m trying not to say PC cause Macs really are PCs) is that they are like the Kia automobiles of the Computer world. Kia has a “luxury” car in it’s lineup…and in the last several years they’ve even given it the “Benz bug-eyes” to make it look like a Benz. Of course if you can’t tell the difference, you probably shouldn’t be buying a car, but in the computer world, it seems like Windows machines are trying very hard to duplicate the clean, industrial aesthetic that Macs have been enjoying for quite some time. Heck even one of the first netbooks, I think it was the Eee PC came in white. I’m almost positive that no Windows machine (let alone any Windows laptop) has ever been white. That’s what’s called a polycarbonate MacBook wannabe.

    Next, we have the Dell Adamo…this thing is more expensive than an aluminum unibody MacBook and has less computing horsepower than an aluminum unibody MacBook. Which one would “Lauren” get if she had enough for either one? In this case, the MacBook is more for less. I think a lot of OEMs are going to start making more of these $1,000+ machines cause I think they see how well Apple is doing…so “why can’t we make a nice aluminum laptop and charge nicely for it?” The problem isn’t the hardware though…it’s Windows.

    The OEMs can thank MS for screwing things up and creating a lot of switchers to the Mac platform.

    Oh and that video with Ballmer…woa. Maybe it’s time for a straight-jacket and a padded cell.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~daguy daGUY

    Microsoft is in a very odd position right now. Their flagship product is a detriment to their own brand, so they have to convince people to buy it without actually mentioning it. Hence, the ad touts the low cost of the PC (which is not a Microsoft product) without actually talking about Vista.

    I’m not quite sure who in particular this ad is supposed to serve. People who care about price above anything else already know they can get a PC for cheaper. The people who are dumping Windows for the Mac are doing so because they realize the quality is better. If MS wants to stop these people from switching over, they have to show how their product isn’t just cheaper, but provides the same *quality* for less money.

  • John E

    putting aside the merits of the matter and just talking marketing … MS is try to tag Apple as unnecessarily expensive, a potent tactic during a severe recession. that’s what all the ‘Apple tax’ bs is all about. the other contributing meme is that Windows is ‘just as good, it’s just a matter of taste.’ which will really ramp up with Win 7, a blatant if superficial Leopard knock-off.

    Apple just can’t ignore this. MS has the resources to push those lines massively. you can’t let your competition define you, ever.

    the two best responses are straightforward – 1. Mac is best (at the Snow Leopard launch), and 2. you get what you pay for.

    that said, Apple also needs a killer product in the netbook price range where this price issue is paramount. you can’t simply ignore emerging new markets – your competition will eat your lunch (like the iPhone has done to Win Mobile and the Wii did to XBox). a Mac tablet of some kind is the obvious response many expect to see announced at WWDC. Apple cannot afford to wait until 2010 …

  • roz


    Of course they hold water:

    For $1725 you get:

    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor T9550 (2.66 GHz)
    FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    500GB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (250GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
    1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 4650
    17.3″ diagonal HD+ High-Definition HP BrightView Infinity Widescreen Display (1600 x 900)
    $100 OFF!! Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
    [For BrightView Infinity Display] Webcam + Fingerprint Reader
    Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card with Bluetooth
    50% OFF!! HP Integrated HDTV Hybrid Tuner
    HP Color Matching Keyboard
    8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
    Integrated 56K Modem
    Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
    Norton Internet Security(TM) 2009 – 15 Month Subscription

    I would rather have a Mac but hardware specs for the price – kinda kills the Mac – sorry.

    My aunt prefers a laptop because she likes to put it away and clear off her desk – a reasonable desire at any age. She had a 14″ iBook. Why not be able to buy something like that now?? And please spare me any talk of getting a used machine.

    Of course I know that you can increase magnification – but why bother with that? I am trying to make her life easier. Why not a screen bigger than 13″? And why attack me? If the ideas are so threatening to you, maybe you are full of it?? Did you think of that?


    The mini is not a bad option but she likes less clutter and it still ends up more…

  • GwMac

    Macs are a lot cheaper now than they were when I fist bought an Apple computer back in 1984, especially for what you get. The switch to Intel also makes it far easier to match Macs spec for spec with similar PCs.

    But at the same time it is also clear that for whatever reasons they choose not to compete in many segments in the market. Most notably affordable desktops, and no the Mini nor the iMac is aren’t good substitutes. I am speaking about a tower with a Core i7 or Duo Quad core for far less than $2,000. Most other PC companies offer these for about $1,000. I also do not like the way they tie laptop screen size to price and “pro” features. Why can’t we have a 15″ or 17″ Macbook or a 13″ Macbook Pro.

    Apple have a lot of smart people working there, so who I am to second guess them. But at the same time speaking as purely a consumer, I would think an affordable 15″ Macbook or a 13″ Macbook Pro would probably make a lot of people very happy. If you want to buy a Mac, there really isn’t a lot of choices. If you want a larger than 15″ screen you have to pay over $2,800 for that feature. If you want a smaller screen but want Firewire, express card, and a faster dedicated GPU then you are basically SOL.

    Although you highlighted some of the features that the HP lacked like N wireless, lower resolution screen, gigabit, and digital audio, you failed to mention that even the cheapest PC laptops including the HP DV7-1245DX, usually come with features like an express card slot, eSata, HDMI. All of which I would love to have on a Mac laptop and can’t even get with the exception of an Express card slot on the MBP. Who wouldn’t rather have HDMI over a mini display port or an Express card slot on the Macbook?

    Take a look at the specs on these 13″, 15″, and 17″ laptops for example which compare pretty well to the Macbook and MBP in terms of specs.


    The 17″ model for example includes a much faster video card, the 9650M GT, than the MBP. Why must Apple charge $2,800 for virtually the same specs as the Asus which costs $1500? That is a huge disparity. And why must Apple cripple the Macbooks by failing to include an Express Card slot that some $300 netbooks include. If Apple wants to charge premium prices then they should at least offer premium features and the fastest CPU’s & GPU’s available.

    I am not suggesting that Apple ever become a bottom feeder and compete in this price bracket. But what I am saying is that for the money we have to pay to get an Apple, they damn well better use the best and fastest parts available and more inputs and I don’t see that they are doing that currently. The fastest Mac Pro video card for example is only a ATI 4870 512MB card. Why can’t we get the X2 version with 1000MB? It would also be nice nice to have a little more choice and configurability in their lineup to serve more consumers needs.

    I did something this year for example that I had not done in over 20 years, I bough a PC. Specifically a Dell Mini 9 that I installed OS X. It is exactly what I wanted for casual use and I couldn’t be happier with it. With 2 GB of memory it is very speedy. Much faster than my Powerbook G4 12″ it replaced. I still have my Mac Pro at home for heavy lifting, but on the road use it gets the jobs done very well indeed. If Apple would sell something similar, I would have been willing to pay up to about $700 for a legitimate Mac, but since they don’t I didn’t have much choice. I realize I went off on a few tangents and I am speaking purely as a budget minded consumer, but I think with Windows 7 coming out soon and the sheer number of choices, price points, and options available for every possible segment of the market that Apple needs to do more to compete.

    [How exactly could Apple compete against Dell and Acer in selling hardware, when Dell and Acer puts zero money into developing their own operating system and desktop software?

    Your decision to use Mac OS X on a Dell transfers the work Apple did to differentiate its hardware into hardware profits for Dell. Mac OS X isn’t licensed for use on Dell PCs for this reason.

    Further, how can Apple expect to profitably sell any PCs at all if it offers a infinite variety of models, and takes major losses on those models that aren’t successful? That’s what Apple did in the Performa days. It was not successful.

    Apple has such a simple product lineup that you don’t have to be a company nerd to be able to rattle off all of its products by name. Who could do that for Acer, Dell, or HP? Most people would be hard pressed to recall any PC model number from memory unless they had just returned from the bewildering array of PCs on sale in some store. Apple gets it, other PC makers are out to sell a bag of components.

    There’s a meme that Apple is failing because Mac sales dropped, but that’s PR BS based on the lack of new Macs Apple offered between the MacBook launch and the iMac/mini launches. There’s no problem Apple needs to immediately solve, and yet Apple is doing it anyway with the launch of new WWLAN-equipped Macs. Watch for it – Dan ]

  • gus2000

    While “Lauren” may have a SAG card, it does not mean she was a paid actress in the spot. I think she probably was paid (remember “Confessions of a Mac to PC Convert”?) but I can give the benefit of doubt. Well I hope they paid her, since she’ll need to buy some antivirus software soon, and maybe a malware remover.

    It’s funny how markets can erode on the outside and corrode on the inside until one day *f00f* they collapse, just like the auto industry or real estate. How long until the Windows “bubble” bursts? And will we give them bailout money? Does “too big to fail” sound familiar? “Oh noes, we can’t let MS go under, where will we get our security patches”…

  • roz


    Apple is certainly not failing but I really wanted to see Apple put the knife in MSFT domination, and they are not set to that either….unless:

    Unless they either get really competitive with pricing, which I don’t see them doing.

    Or license the OS to other makers – my preference. This is what I would really like to see for 10.6 or 10.7, whatever. YES IT IS A TIRED ARGUMENT – but I still think we would be better off to see the platform grow to be hardware agnostic. Apple can cherry pick the high-end hardware segments like they do today and open up their role to the Asus and Dells of the world to supply the budget machines.

  • GwMac

    I should have added that I bought a retail license of OS X so Apple probably made more of a profit on the Dell Mini I bought than Dell did themselves given their tiny margin. My decision was not solely based on price, though that certainly was a big part of my decision. My choice had more to do with size than anything. The Macbook is just too large and powerful for what I need to do on the road which is just surfing, email, skype video/audio chats, and some other pretty lightweight apps. I don’t need to run final cut pro or anything along those lines.

    I am just curious why Microsoft chose to say “cool enough” in the ad. I think it would have resonated more had they said something more akin to “rich enough” since that is the point they are trying to make. Cool enough might have the opposite effect and make people want Macs even more.

    As far as licensing OS X, that will probably never happen. But I am curious what some of you think about the possibility of Apple working with either Parallels or Fusion to sell a virtual machine with OS X pre-installed that could run inside Windows. That would at least allow curious PC people that aren’t quite ready to take the plunge to get a taste of OS X. They could even throw in a coupon for $100 off if they later buy a real Mac or at least a coupon to get the Mac version of the emulation software to install Windows inside their Mac once they make the switch if they need to do so.

    I hear what you say about an infinite number of models. The Performa line failed because they were overpriced and underpowered crap, this comes from a guy that owned a few of them. I just wish we had better options on the models we already have like the 4870X2 for the Mac Pro, or a Macbook with an Express card slot so that you could add USB 3 when it comes out or even firewire. I am not claiming to have all the answers, I just think Apple could do more to address a wider consumer base and grow market share. They also need to offer more premium parts and specs if they want to charge premium prices.

    Like it or not Apple are competing with Dell and Acer right now. I am not alone, I have many other longtime Apple diehard friends that are buying netbooks and installing OS X on them. I hope you are right and they do something to address this burgeoning market soon. I think Apple was taken aback at just how bad the economy really is or how popular the netbooks would become in so short of a time. That is probably why they are introducing the $899 iMac. This economy is not getting better anytime soon, so for the foreseeable future most consumers are going to pay a great deal of attention to the price tag above all else. It is hard to justify paying $2,100 more for a 17″ Macbook Pro regardless of how superior the specs may be.

  • John E

    everyone is taken aback by how bad the economy is. no one (almost) expected this just 6 months ago. Apple was not prepared for it either.

    Apple will not win a debate about specs or features. anyway, it’s too confusing for most consumers.

    instead the message is simply: the best product at a good price (not the cheapest) = the best value.

    that is what makes the iPhone a success already.

  • roz

    iPhone completes pretty well on price actually. iPod and iPhone have been very aggressive, I’d say.

    I thought the “the not cool enough” thing was strange too. It had a definite sense of resignation – that did not seem good to me. So she’s a loser and she is just accepting it? Kinda feels like how MSFT thinks about itself. Also, it was strange that she went to the Mac place first too. Also, why was the 17″ such and important standard to her? Most younger women I know are happier with a smaller machine. Just in terms of message the ad range false to me. And it is an embarrassment that she is an actress – that is crazy.

  • adamk359

    “If MS wants to stop these people from switching over, they have to show how their product isn’t just cheaper, but provides the same *quality* for less money.”

    The problem with this statement is that you actually pay a lot more for Windows than you do for OS X. OS X (I’m not talking about the Server version) has consistently been around the $129.00 mark (someone correct me if I’m wrong). However, Windows has consistently increased in price as new versions come out. This has gone overboard lately with the various different versions of Vista and now Windows 7. Useless eye candy costs a lot.

    It’s almost like Windows and OS X have both done complete 180* turns. At one time Windows was very professional looking and wasn’t really concerned with how it looked. It was the intelligent, smartly dressed businessman. The Classic Mac OS, however, was kind of the goofy uncle who would do the “thumb separation magic trick” and make fart noises…then “crash” on your sofa. This is to say that it really wasn’t as good a system as it could have been…especially with how System 7 transitioned into 8 and 9 and was basically just technology cobbled together. I grew up with OS 6 and 7, but OS X works so much better than any version of the Classic Mac OS or any version of Windows. Now Windows is like the 50 year old guy who’s having a mid-life crisis and is dressing like he’s younger so people think he’s still cool. OS X on the other hand is now the more mature, refined, smartly dressed adult who doesn’t have to try to impress anyone anymore because the interface is simple and elegant and it gets out of your way. It’s almost like Microsoft is simply catering to the fanboys who’s only grasp on why Windows is better is gaming…which has been remedied on Macs by Wine and Crossover and an increase in games being ported over to OS X. Besides, Windows as a gaming platform is dying. Even Microsoft took out some extra insurance in regard to that when they made the XBox/XBox 360.

    You may pay less for the hardware for a Windows machine, but really, if you want the “experience”…you have to pony up quite a bit of money to get the full Windows Experience hardware-wise. That’s the great thing about the “Windows Experience Indicator”…it gives you an idea of just how great or crappy your experience is going to be and lets you know just how much of a loser you are cause you have an older machine with 512MB of RAM and a 64MB graphics card and Vista will just barely run with an experience index rating of 1.0. On top of that, if you really want the full Windows Experience, you have to pony up even more money just for the “ultimate” version of the operating system with all the useless bells and whistles.

    Windows users think when someone buys a Mac, that they’re being ripped off cause the hardware options may not be as great for the money you pay. Perhaps that’s entirely true given how quickly technology advances, but Leopard runs beautifully on my MacBook and Snow Leopard will likely run even more beautifully on it due to a reduced footprint and slimming down the bloat. I am willing to bet that the next 3-5 versions of the Mac OS will run well on my MacBook without any real need for hardware upgrading. There are a lot of people out there with older Macs still chugging along on Tiger and even on Leopard. Can Windows users say the same for Windows and older hardware? XP? Certainly. Vista? Not even close. Sure, Windows 7 is supposedly being slimmed down to run on lesser hardware like Snow Leopard is, but Windows remains an operating system so clunky and cumbersome that it just can’t get out of it’s own way, let alone its users’ ways.

    So my point is this: People who buy Macs at a premium price generally get quite a lot of mileage out of not only the hardware, but the operating system as well. Windows users have been able to get by with XP for a very long time (an eternity in computer industry time) and not need to upgrade their hardware, but now Microsoft is actually developing operating systems rather than trying to keep XP afloat. The problem is…as Windows gets updated…the hardware requirements go up too.

    If this is the case, buying a Mac is actually more of an investment than buying a Windows machine because who knows just how long it’ll be before you need to upgrade your hardware again just to run the next Windows OS? OS X, on the other hand runs fairly well on older Macs and I think that is something that Apple tries to maintain. Of course as OS X evolves, the hardware requirements will eventually go up with it as technology dictates. Eventually supported Macs will become unsupported simply because they are too old to run the newest technologies of future versions of OS X. That’s just the nature of the beast known as technology.

    Also, with Snow Leopard’s implementation of better security features, the chances that the myth of increased market share will hurt Macs with viruses and exploits…is less and less likely to occur as OS X continues to age more and more gracefully than Windows. Meanwhile, Windows users, even with Vista/7’s security improvements, will still have to deal with viruses and mal/ad/spyware on a regular basis. Maybe they won’t be as easily infected by either, but they will still be bombarded with both.

  • paoloon

    Not only is “Lauren” (if that’s her real name) not cool enough to be a Mac user, she is not intelligent enough to shop wisely. Is it really possible that a person of her age would just walk into either “The Mac Store” or any computer retailer and buy a computer without doing some research first? LOL… I guess this is MS’s target market — people who are either too lazy or too ignorant to do a few google searches and read about specs and user reviews. Not to mention the waste of time and petrol driving around different stores.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~daguy daGUY

    @paoloon: “Is it really possible that a person of her age would just walk into either ‘The Mac Store’ or any computer retailer and buy a computer without doing some research first?”

    Um, yeah. Plenty of people do – why do you think so many people keep buying cheap junkware PCs that die on them in 2 years?

    I was in the Apple Store recently. A girl and her parents came in, and the girl pointed at the MacBook and said “that’s it, that’s the one I want” (I assume she was getting one for college – she looked about that age). The father, who was clearly the one paying for it, looked at the price and said, “now, what makes this one better than the HP? It’s a lot more expensive.” The girl said, “I don’t know, but I want it!”