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Microsoft offers, skews "Apple Tax" comparison

updated 07:15 pm EDT, Thu April 9, 2009

Microsoft skews Apple Tax

Microsoft has expanded its "Apple Tax" marketing campaign with a white paper (PDF) from analyst Roger Kay, although several of the price comparisons appear to be skewed. The company posted a mock up tax return showing the savings of purchasing two Windows systems compared with two Mac systems, suggesting that a family could save over $3,300. The price difference is derived from the initial cost of machines, future upgrades, software and services.

The research apparently concluded that the best desktop systems to compare were the Mac Pro and HP's d5100t. The professional-level Apple machine costs nearly $1500 more than the consumer-oriented HP product, although the iMac series arguably offers a similar set of features to the d5100t.

Microsoft also assumes that the PC buyers already own copies of Quicken and Microsoft Office, as CNET News pointed out. The analyst added $70 and $149 to the Mac tally, while omitting the software cost from the PC purchases. Under Kay's model, the PC users would also decline any upgrades through the hypothetical five-year period.

For the Mac software, the report adds a $99 iLife upgrade in year three. Customers are not required to upgrade, as they could continue using the earlier version that shipped with the Mac for free.

The white paper also equates AppleCare service on the Mac side with a three-year extended warranty for the PCs, despite the clear differences in the two programs. Along with AppleCare, Kay added Apple's in-store consulting service without tacking on a similar cost on the PC side. The report also included the optional MobileMe service on the Mac list.

When CNET News questioned Kay about the discrepancies, he claimed to have already shaved many of the Mac costs that were first presented to him by Microsoft. "If there's a couple more in there, I wouldn't be surprised," he said. "If I found another $500 (in savings) it wouldn't change things much."

"You could have chosen another machine," Kay said, referring to the Mac Pro. He argued that PCs allow customers to shop around. "That particular piece of the economics seems to hold up pretty well."

by MacNN Staff



  1. chas_m




    The FTC should be alerted to this story. I'm certainly not going to say that Apple has never fudged a claim on any of their ads, but this MS campaign is deliberately dishonest, fraudulent and deceptive from its core assumptions to its execution.

    I encourage Mac advocates to learn and point out the deceptions littered throughout this campaign to refute the claims when asked about them.

    The other big point -- that Microsoft apparently HAS to be deceptive to make this argument at all -- is even more important because it proves that Apple wins unless MS cheats.

  1. demaionj

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Roger Kay Window Plant

    Roger Kay allegedly covers Apple. Roger Kay is totally biased and works for Microsoft. He should be forced to use Windoze Vista on a $400 Best Buy Laptop for eternity. At least now folks will see how he's a total tool for the Gates factory.

  1. Johnny Niles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who knew?

    Who knew you were FORCED to buy Quicken, Office, and Mobile Me for 5 full years when you bought a Mac? Oh and apparently you HAVE to buy an Airport Extreme because no other routers work with Macs. Oh also, you HAVE to buy the Radeon 4870. Because obviously you buy a Mac Pro for gaming.

    And you HAVE to buy an EXTERNAL Blu-Ray drive on the Mac apparently. Even though it has two optical drive bays.

    This thing is so full of s*** I can smell it from here, and that's just the obvious, right in front of your face stuff. They didn't even take TCO or resale value into consideration, not to mention value for money in general.

  1. MontrealMike

    Joined: Dec 1969



    LOL. I'm surprised that they chose the base-model 13-inch MacBook ($999) as an equivalent machine to the 15-inch Dell Inspiron.
    Using their twisted logic, I thought they would've chosen a $2799 17-inch MacBook Pro.

  1. automorrow

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Unproductivity Allotment

    Do they mention the cost per hour for unproductivity while the system freezes, needs to reboot, repair, reinstall, update, de-fragment, etc ...

    I heard it was once reported that the downtime cost billions worldwide ... and exceeded Microsoft's net worth.

  1. sleadley

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Difference

    They just fundamentally do not get the fact that it is not always about the money. The user experience counts for a whole lot. What about the virus problem and the programs you have to buy to circumvent that.
    I work with over 20 Macs at work and I can handle the whole IT as well a my normal work. (actually everyone looks after their own machines, truth be told) Can Microsoft say that? The whole thing is not comparing oranges to oranges.
    Once you have Mac you never go Back. many of our younger employees had Windows machines, now they all have Mac, their choice when exposed to the advantages of Mac.
    my 3c

  1. Arty50

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Job Interview

    A mathematician, a statistician, and an accountant apply for the same job. The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?"

    The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

    Then the interviewer calls in the statistician and asks the same question: "What do two plus two equal?" The statistician says, "On average, four -- give or take 10%, but on average, four."

    Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and poses the same question: "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer, and says,

    "What do you want it to be?"

  1. nhmlco

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How come there's no mention of the all-but-required Symantec AntiVirus/Security subscriptions for the PC? That's anywhere from $400 to $640 for two systems for 5 years.

  1. handydan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You can only sit back and laugh at Ballmer and his cronies, this is the result of millions of $ spent on advertising? Seems to me that most people will realize this story (ad) is bullshit and the negative press in the long run will kill them. I agree with another post mentioning the costs associated with windoze such as IT support and anti-malware software not to mention all the downtime too!

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now there's a consultant that doesn't know much about equitable comparisons.

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