Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Mailbag: The Mac Tax that Isn't, More

Microsoft has been talking up the so-called "Mac tax" to dissuade people from moving to Apple. Marc thinks it's a little disingenuous to call it that:

For what it is worth, the "Mac Tax" is not real! If you want, you can configure a Dell with specifications virtually identical to any Macintosh in the Apple product line and come up with very nearly identical pricing. The catch, of course, is that an Apple Macintosh is severely overpowered to meet the needs of most folks. Most folks can meet their computing needs with a $500 to $800 Dell, or they can go overboard and spend $1,000 and get a "fully loaded" Dell that will last them a good five years. Or, they can buy a "bottom-of-the-line" MacBook.

The truth is that if Apple could sell as many computers as Dell or HP, they could afford to sell low-end $500 computers, but because they don't sell a large enough number of computers to tolerate the extremely narrow profit margins Dell and HP get on those $500 systems, Apple simply cannot afford to do so. Dell and HP "take a loss" on those entry-level systems but they make it up on very high volumes and the occasional sale of $1,000-plus systems. All of Apple's systems must be $1,000-plus systems for them to stay in business.
-Marc

And one reader chimes in about an anecdote Doug told a few weeks ago about his daughter forgoing a cheap PC for a Mac:

Interesting story about Lauren, but it assumes everyone can just plop down a grand or more for a Mac and are just too cheap or stupid to do so. Personally, my home laptop isn't important enough to me to lay out that kind of cash. I've purchased laptops for myself and both my daughters for less than any single Mac I've seen on sale here. My $300 Toshiba running Vista hasn't given me one problem. (Low-dollar laptops running Vista. Goodness! How anti-geek of me.) The same can be said for my daughters' HP and Acer. Plus, if they lose them, I can afford to replace them. When I have to replace a PC it is far less painful than replacing a $1,500 Mac. The truth is that many many people just can't afford an overpriced, almost criminally proprietary computer.

I should make clear that my rant concerns only the Mac and the situation with replacing cheaper systems with the Mac. I'm not disparaging your daughter, who is probably a complete adorabloid and, like all little girls, deserves to be spoiled rotten by their daddy. I know mine do.
-G.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on May 01, 2009 at 11:53 AM


Featured

  • Microsoft Updates IBM Mainframe Integration Tool

    This week Microsoft released Host Integration Server 2020, a tool that lets Microsoft solutions communicate with IBM mainframes.

  • The 2020 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    From the next major update to Windows 10 to the next generations of .NET and PowerShell, here's what's on tap from Microsoft this year.

  • Microsoft Rolls Out Home Sites and Multilingual Publishing for SharePoint Online

    SharePoint Online tenancies are getting new features that Microsoft released in May, which are mostly arriving for so-called "targeted release" recipients.

  • 2020 Microsoft Conference Calendar: For Partners, IT Pros and Developers

    Here's your guide to all the IT training sessions, partner meet-ups and annual Microsoft conferences you won't want to miss. (Now updated with COVID-19-related event changes.)

RCP Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.