By Ed Oswald | Monday, March 30, 2009 at 9:18 am
Microsoft’s “Lauren” ad continues to fan the flames across the blogosphere, rekindling the old Mac vs. PC debate anew. The central theme is price. Somehow bloggers are attempting to say somehow Lauren is right, proving some as yet undiscovered notion about this age old battle.
Along with this are trotted out some important looking statistics showing what a great disparity is between the two. If you take NPD’s numbers at face value, we’re lead to believe the Mac user pays a horrific $900 premium to own one of Cupertino’s machines.
There is just so much wrong with this way of looking at it to prove a point that its almost silly. First, comparing these two systems on price alone doesn’t work. By and large, Macs come with much more features for those “premiums,” so comparing the two is a bit like Apples and oranges.
It’s safe to say that a good portion of the Windows PC-based market is now clouded by those “bottom-feeders,” i.e. eMachines and the like, which skew the average selling price downward. Apple has chosen not to play in this realm, and for good reason: computers in this price range are typically made with cheap parts and are much less reliable–the profit margins are just not there for the manufacturer.
Apple prides itself on the quality and workmanship of its products, and it would have to throw these out the window in order to compete here. That’s not a smart trade off in my opinion for a few more percentage points of market share.
Take out those budget computers, and compare the two platforms. I bet you will see that the so-called “Apple Tax” is a heckuva lot smaller than many are making it out to be.
If Apple is smart, in any responses to Microsoft’s set of commercials they should hammer away on quality. If Apple’s Achilles’ Heel is pricing, then Windows PC’s is quality. There’s just too much junk out there right now that unsuspecting consumers are ending up buying, the computer that Lauren purchased apparently included from what I’m reading of customer reviews.
Microsoft’s OEM partners should be especially troubled by Redmond’s new tack, as essentially it creates a race to the bottom. That means smaller profit margins and less revenues.
Yes, Apple is falling ever so slightly behind in hardware specs. But they are making movements to compensate for that. Add to this that it just takes less for Macs to run –face it, Windows is a bloated mess (I’m hoping Windows 7 corrects this)– and that isn’t as much of a problem just yet.
But lets quit trying to compare Macs and PCs on price alone. Quality should be just as important, don’t you think?