There are some valid points here — Apple hardware isn’t always exactly price-competitive, often because of little built-in RAM and low hard drive capacities. But it’s usually close.
The conclusion of this, though, is absurd, citing a $3367 premium for Apple over 5 years for a theoretical family. But they’re not making a fair comparison:
- $1451 of the difference is because they’re pitting a Mac Pro, with its Xeons and server-class motherboard, power supply, and ECC RAM, against an HP consumer desktop with Intel’s consumer CPU line. It would be more fair to pit the HP consumer desktop against Apple’s consumer desktop line, the iMac, which would gain more pricing ground with its integrated monitor and speakers (the report doesn’t specify whether the HP’s price includes these). If the Mac Pro is replaced by the $1199 iMac, this difference shrinks to about $150.
- $745 of the difference is a 5-year family subscription to MobileMe.
- $205 of the difference is assuming that the Mac owner would buy a standalone Sony Blu-Ray drive for $300, 4 years from now, for some reason.
- $30 of the difference is an Airport Extreme Base Station for the Mac table vs. a Linksys N router for the PC table. Obviously you could use either router with either setup.
- $99 of the Mac’s cost is for “One to One Care” (is this what Apple previously called ProCare?) in addition to AppleCare. The PC family just got Dell’s 3-year warranty, which I doubt includes whatever’s in One to One Care.
- $90 of the difference is assuming that both families will upgrade their video card to a high-end gaming card 3 years from now (and presumably the Mac version will cost $90 more based on today’s prices). How many average home users ever upgrade their video cards?
- $99 of the difference is an iLife upgrade 3 years from now. The PC side doesn’t include any software upgrades over the entire 5 years.
- The software logic is pretty shaky. The Mac side includes Microsoft Office ($150), Quicken ($70), and “other software” ($70). It doesn’t specify whether the PC side includes Office in the price, but what if the family chooses iWork ($70) instead of Office? What’s the “other software”? Why doesn’t the PC’s price include Quicken? For that matter, why doesn’t the PC’s price include any sort of antivirus software over 5 years? Isn’t that considered a standard requirement for PC owners?
By omitting the bullshit figures, his Mac premium shrinks from $3367 to $508. And if he’s making a supposedly comprehensive 5-year TCO report, I challenge him to include resale value at the end: What are two 5-year-old Macs worth? How about those PCs?
In addition to the heavily flawed figures, the writing is amateurish and inflammatory. Microsoft’s willingness to sponsor, publish, and promote this report speaks volumes about their integrity and dignity.
“Roger L. Kay is founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.” This is a great advertisement for Roger’s services. (Check out that site.)