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PC Says to Mac: Yeah, well, I'm CHEAP!

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 143 comments

Whenever a Mac article or news item goes up on the site there’s always a ton of readers who point out the price premium of Macs over PCs, and declaring no matter what they put in there, it’s never going to be worth the “Apple Tax” you pay. The latest Microsoft ad has finally gone and pointed out the price difference between a PC and a Apple computer.

We were thinking the other day that the Mac versus PC ads had calmed down as of late. Nothing new to really report from either company, despite the fact that both are now producing the “we’re better than you!” television adverts. That was until today.

The new PC ad is targeting the fact that no one has spare cash lying around these days. It centers on Lauren, a twenty-something who’s looking for a laptop with a 17-inch screen priced at under a thousand dollars.

Microsoft says if she finds it, she can have it. Surprise, surprise, she has no luck at the Apple store (and jokes, “I guess I’m not cool enough to own a Mac!”) and finally settles on a 17-inch notebook from HP, which sets her back $699.

What puzzles us is why they had her visit the Apple store first and the only reason she didn’t buy one was that she’d have to double her budget (they only had one notebook for under $1,000 and it was a 13-inch MacBook). Isn’t that sort of like saying, “Sure, they all WANT one of your computers, but it’s just our luck they can’t afford your prices!”

Check out the video here.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    aracheb , March 27, 2009 1:50 PM
    spanky deluxeApple tax, my arse. You hardly pay any more for equivalent specs from an Apple product. Yes you do usually pay a little more but for that money you get better build quality and the ability to run a rather nice OS. Sure you can get far *cheaper* machines but they usually are filled with junk components so as to bring the price down. I admire the fact that Apple don't pump out countless machines covering every price bracket, resorting to some machines with woefully underpowered processors etc.This idea from Microsoft does have an impact. When I started university, loads of people got their new Windows laptops and desktops - normal people, not enthusiasts. They then quickly learnt to hate their computers due to the terrible celeron processors, insanely small amounts of RAM and terrible build quality. Nearly all of the people I know that bought cheapo 'entry level' Windows computers have now actually switched to 'entry level' Apple computers. They realise they're paying a fair bit more but they also realise that they get a hell of a lot more in return. The "PCs are cheap" argument is a very short sighted thing in my opinion.



    i read this, and i said well i really don't like the fight, let me check what he said and went into apple store assembled and mac book 13" aluminum this are the spec..

    MacBook, 13-inch, Aluminum
    Part Number: Z0FU
    2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Keyboard (English) / User's Guide
    Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter


    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Air/MacBook : since it doesn't come with a default warranty, i have to buy the applecare myself.
    the price was:

    Cart Subtotal: $1,781.00
    Free Shipping: $0.00
    Estimated Tax*: $149.16

    Estimated Total: $1,930.16


    them went to dell and assembled the dell:
    the dell studio xps 13:
    with almost the same spec, the only difference is that i have more HDD space with the dell and more CPU speed, to be exact 400 megahertz more that might cost me arround 200 usd in mac..

    this are the spec of the dell
    SYSTEM COLOR Obsidian Black with Leather Accent edit
    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8600 (3MB cache/2.4GHz/1066Mhz FSB) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-bit edit
    PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0 - English: Spreadsheet, Word Processor and Calendar edit
    WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis edit
    HD DISPLAY Edge-to-Edge 13.3" HD WXGA LCD with 2.0 Megapixel Camera edit
    MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz (2 Dimms) edit
    HARD DRIVE 320GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive edit
    INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE Slot Load DVD+/-RW (DVD/CD read/write) edit
    VIDEO CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400M G edit
    WIRELESS CARDS Dell Wireless 1510 802.11n Half Mini-Card edit
    SOUND OPTIONS High Definition Audio 2.0 edit
    BLUETOOTH Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module (2.1+EDR) edit

    and this is the price:
    Sub Total $1,119.00
    Shipping & Handling $29.00
    Shipping Discount -$29.00
    Tax $93.73
    State Environmental Fee
    More Info --
    Total $1,212.73



    umm
    the difference is: 718.00 usd in apple tax..

    i stick to my pc..
  • 16 Hide
    tjhva , March 27, 2009 1:05 PM
    Why is that puzzling? It's not uncommon for people to shop and look at all products, even those out of their budget, to make an informed choice.
  • 13 Hide
    JimmiG , March 27, 2009 1:45 PM
    Quote:
    Yes you do usually pay a little more but for that money you get better build quality and the ability to run a rather nice OS.


    There are a lot of high quality PC laptops available for under $1000, and Win7 is more than "rather nice". Nicer than OSX some might argue. Ever heard of the company "Quanta Computer"? They build Apple's computers...and Dell's...and Gateway, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo etc. etc. Apple doesn't build their own systems.

    Quote:
    Sure you can get far *cheaper* machines but they usually are filled with junk components so as to bring the price down.


    The actual components are exactly the same - Intel CPU, Nvidia graphics and so on. Granted, the chassis are rather nice, but the $999 Macbook comes in a cheap plastic shell, yet only has a 120GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM. $999 buys you a much nicer PC than that. The aluminum body and extra 40GB of hard drive space costs you an additional $300 - 50% of the cost of a fully featured PC laptop.


    Quote:
    I admire the fact that Apple don't pump out countless machines covering every price bracket, resorting to some machines with woefully underpowered processors etc.


    You need to read up on some specs. This might have been true several years ago when RAM was very expensive, but not anymore. Only the very cheapest systems come with Celeron processors, the others come with C2D 2 GHz and faster CPUs just like the Macbook. Entry-level PC notebooks typically come with 2GB of RAM while mid-range systems come with 4GB. Even Apple's $1999 Macbook Pro only comes with 2GB.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    tjhva , March 27, 2009 1:05 PM
    Why is that puzzling? It's not uncommon for people to shop and look at all products, even those out of their budget, to make an informed choice.
  • 12 Hide
    theJ , March 27, 2009 1:11 PM
    Mac has made a butt-load making all the claims about the bugs and issues with Windows. While there are quite a few annoying issues with Vista and even XP, it's nothing an experienced user can't deal with.

    There's nothing wrong with MS boasting about their price differences. It will draw a few people back to the PC market i'm sure. I can't watch the video right now since i'm at work, but i'm betting they only talk about price, not bang for your buck. That's what MS should really advertise. You can get a similar quality product for 1/2 to 2/3 the price of a Mac. Now that's a selling point.
  • 9 Hide
    JMcEntegart , March 27, 2009 1:14 PM
    tjhvaWhy is that puzzling? It's not uncommon for people to shop and look at all products, even those out of their budget, to make an informed choice.


    I just thought that it was weird they put Apple first. Like a Mac would automatically be everyone's first choice.
  • 10 Hide
    Marcus Yam , March 27, 2009 1:24 PM
    The ad does seem like it's pushing hardware, which is somewhat puzzling given that Microsoft doesn't make any PCs. And even then, Macs these days are able to natively run Windows, so Microsoft should have even less of an opinion there.

    But it still remains that Microsoft makes its money from Windows licenses sold to its PC OEM partners, so this commercial is probably here just to say, "Hey guys, we're cheering for you and your PC sales!"
  • 7 Hide
    theuerkorn , March 27, 2009 1:24 PM
    Agree on the sentiment, but it's always been one of the major reasons to go PC and spend less money. I don't think many cash tight buyers are picking up on the "yeah, would really like a Mac" undertone. However for many it might create an image to not even look at the Mac store since they're assumed to be out of reach. (Kinda like Wal-Mart which is assumed to be the cheapest, while Target often has better prices. Nevertheless, budget shoppers to a large degree go to Mal-Mart first.)
  • -1 Hide
    bin1127 , March 27, 2009 1:30 PM
    i would buy pc simply cause the mouse have more than one button. and the apple tax.
  • 12 Hide
    americanbrian , March 27, 2009 1:34 PM
    Spanky...

    I bought an entry level laptop for writing my dissertation on the move. It was pretty crappy as it arrived but even then buying something and upgrading it yourself was cheaper.

    I got an extra stick of ram on ebay and the same for the processor.

    This is going back a while but I now have that same laptop 3.5 years on and overclock the crap out of it and it still does everything I need it to. It's a toshiba and I have to say I am impressed with its quality.

    You just don't get that with apple. A PC that can grow with you. In fact they purposely build it in a way which makes doing the slightest upgrade or repair difficult.

    I don't hate macs but I will most likely never buy one. It is a fashion thing. I like to make my own not buy into someone elses.
  • 13 Hide
    JimmiG , March 27, 2009 1:45 PM
    Quote:
    Yes you do usually pay a little more but for that money you get better build quality and the ability to run a rather nice OS.


    There are a lot of high quality PC laptops available for under $1000, and Win7 is more than "rather nice". Nicer than OSX some might argue. Ever heard of the company "Quanta Computer"? They build Apple's computers...and Dell's...and Gateway, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo etc. etc. Apple doesn't build their own systems.

    Quote:
    Sure you can get far *cheaper* machines but they usually are filled with junk components so as to bring the price down.


    The actual components are exactly the same - Intel CPU, Nvidia graphics and so on. Granted, the chassis are rather nice, but the $999 Macbook comes in a cheap plastic shell, yet only has a 120GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM. $999 buys you a much nicer PC than that. The aluminum body and extra 40GB of hard drive space costs you an additional $300 - 50% of the cost of a fully featured PC laptop.


    Quote:
    I admire the fact that Apple don't pump out countless machines covering every price bracket, resorting to some machines with woefully underpowered processors etc.


    You need to read up on some specs. This might have been true several years ago when RAM was very expensive, but not anymore. Only the very cheapest systems come with Celeron processors, the others come with C2D 2 GHz and faster CPUs just like the Macbook. Entry-level PC notebooks typically come with 2GB of RAM while mid-range systems come with 4GB. Even Apple's $1999 Macbook Pro only comes with 2GB.
  • 6 Hide
    Pyroflea , March 27, 2009 1:45 PM
    As mentioned above, Microsoft doesn't make Hardware, but as of recently Apple has been sub-contracting their hardware off to other companies. Also as mentioned above, they would boast their performance-price ratio; a PC of similar quality is much cheaper than a Mac (oh, and not a Mac).
  • 22 Hide
    aracheb , March 27, 2009 1:50 PM
    spanky deluxeApple tax, my arse. You hardly pay any more for equivalent specs from an Apple product. Yes you do usually pay a little more but for that money you get better build quality and the ability to run a rather nice OS. Sure you can get far *cheaper* machines but they usually are filled with junk components so as to bring the price down. I admire the fact that Apple don't pump out countless machines covering every price bracket, resorting to some machines with woefully underpowered processors etc.This idea from Microsoft does have an impact. When I started university, loads of people got their new Windows laptops and desktops - normal people, not enthusiasts. They then quickly learnt to hate their computers due to the terrible celeron processors, insanely small amounts of RAM and terrible build quality. Nearly all of the people I know that bought cheapo 'entry level' Windows computers have now actually switched to 'entry level' Apple computers. They realise they're paying a fair bit more but they also realise that they get a hell of a lot more in return. The "PCs are cheap" argument is a very short sighted thing in my opinion.



    i read this, and i said well i really don't like the fight, let me check what he said and went into apple store assembled and mac book 13" aluminum this are the spec..

    MacBook, 13-inch, Aluminum
    Part Number: Z0FU
    2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Keyboard (English) / User's Guide
    Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter


    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Air/MacBook : since it doesn't come with a default warranty, i have to buy the applecare myself.
    the price was:

    Cart Subtotal: $1,781.00
    Free Shipping: $0.00
    Estimated Tax*: $149.16

    Estimated Total: $1,930.16


    them went to dell and assembled the dell:
    the dell studio xps 13:
    with almost the same spec, the only difference is that i have more HDD space with the dell and more CPU speed, to be exact 400 megahertz more that might cost me arround 200 usd in mac..

    this are the spec of the dell
    SYSTEM COLOR Obsidian Black with Leather Accent edit
    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8600 (3MB cache/2.4GHz/1066Mhz FSB) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-bit edit
    PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0 - English: Spreadsheet, Word Processor and Calendar edit
    WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis edit
    HD DISPLAY Edge-to-Edge 13.3" HD WXGA LCD with 2.0 Megapixel Camera edit
    MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz (2 Dimms) edit
    HARD DRIVE 320GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive edit
    INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE Slot Load DVD+/-RW (DVD/CD read/write) edit
    VIDEO CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400M G edit
    WIRELESS CARDS Dell Wireless 1510 802.11n Half Mini-Card edit
    SOUND OPTIONS High Definition Audio 2.0 edit
    BLUETOOTH Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module (2.1+EDR) edit

    and this is the price:
    Sub Total $1,119.00
    Shipping & Handling $29.00
    Shipping Discount -$29.00
    Tax $93.73
    State Environmental Fee
    More Info --
    Total $1,212.73



    umm
    the difference is: 718.00 usd in apple tax..

    i stick to my pc..
  • 1 Hide
    aracheb , March 27, 2009 1:53 PM
    spanky deluxeApple tax, my arse. You hardly pay any more for equivalent specs from an Apple product. Yes you do usually pay a little more but for that money you get better build quality and the ability to run a rather nice OS. Sure you can get far *cheaper* machines but they usually are filled with junk components so as to bring the price down. I admire the fact that Apple don't pump out countless machines covering every price bracket, resorting to some machines with woefully underpowered processors etc.This idea from Microsoft does have an impact. When I started university, loads of people got their new Windows laptops and desktops - normal people, not enthusiasts. They then quickly learnt to hate their computers due to the terrible celeron processors, insanely small amounts of RAM and terrible build quality. Nearly all of the people I know that bought cheapo 'entry level' Windows computers have now actually switched to 'entry level' Apple computers. They realise they're paying a fair bit more but they also realise that they get a hell of a lot more in return. The "PCs are cheap" argument is a very short sighted thing in my opinion.



    i read this, and i said well i really don't like the fight, let me check what he said and went into apple store assembled and mac book 13" aluminum this are the spec..

    MacBook, 13-inch, Aluminum
    Part Number: Z0FU
    2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Keyboard (English) / User's Guide
    Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter


    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Air/MacBook : since it doesn't come with a default warranty, i have to buy the applecare myself.
    the price was:

    Cart Subtotal: $1,781.00
    Free Shipping: $0.00
    Estimated Tax*: $149.16

    Estimated Total: $1,930.16


    them went to dell and assembled the dell:
    the dell studio xps 13:
    with almost the same spec, the only difference is that i have more HDD space with the dell and more CPU speed, to be exact 400 megahertz more that might cost me arround 200 usd in mac..

    this are the spec of the dell
    SYSTEM COLOR Obsidian Black with Leather Accent edit
    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8600 (3MB cache/2.4GHz/1066Mhz FSB) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-bit edit
    PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0 - English: Spreadsheet, Word Processor and Calendar edit
    WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis edit
    HD DISPLAY Edge-to-Edge 13.3" HD WXGA LCD with 2.0 Megapixel Camera edit
    MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz (2 Dimms) edit
    HARD DRIVE 320GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive edit
    INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE Slot Load DVD+/-RW (DVD/CD read/write) edit
    VIDEO CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400M G edit
    WIRELESS CARDS Dell Wireless 1510 802.11n Half Mini-Card edit
    SOUND OPTIONS High Definition Audio 2.0 edit
    BLUETOOTH Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module (2.1+EDR) edit

    and this is the price:
    Sub Total $1,119.00
    Shipping & Handling $29.00
    Shipping Discount -$29.00
    Tax $93.73
    State Environmental Fee
    More Info --
    Total $1,212.73



    umm
    the difference is: 718.00 usd in apple tax..

    i stick to my pc..
  • 2 Hide
    christop , March 27, 2009 1:54 PM
    Macs are nice... I just can't find anything about them that would make me spend the money.. The o.s is good but has not blown me away to jump on the mac wagon... Macs are great for creative people but so is windows.. Apple should just focus on i phones and touch to make most of their money and be smart open the O.S to all platforms...
  • 8 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , March 27, 2009 1:54 PM
    I kinda think these flame wars of mac vs pc still come from people who would never touch a certain computer regardless of what it has, regardless of it's price (even if for example a mac had better specs than a similarly priced pc people would still claim the mac is terrible regardless of what it's being used for)

    As for me, i'd love to legitimately run osx in addition to vista, but apple is just so amazingly stubborn they refuse to see that the best part of what they make is not the hardware, it's the software and continue to market themselves as a hardware company when their hardware is no different than a 'fancy' computer brand running windows (like sony) but if they accepted what they actually are, they might get more of a marketshare vs windows
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , March 27, 2009 1:56 PM
    "What puzzles us is why they had her visit the Apple store first..."

    Nothing puzzling about it. When doing comparative shopping, I always try to go to the place I'm least likely to settle with. That way I don't waste any trips. The final stop is the store that I was most likely to buy from in the 1st place. After looking at all other options 1st, it's helped me to decide what I already knew.
  • 5 Hide
    JMcEntegart , March 27, 2009 2:00 PM
    Fair enough. I still think it's strange. If it were me I would have put it afterward. That way they'd still have the chick looking at all of her options but then have the, "I think I'll go back and get what I saw before!" factor. 'Spose that's why I'm not in marketing.
  • 5 Hide
    AdamB5000 , March 27, 2009 2:04 PM
    If she didn't look at the Apple computers first, they have no commercial. It'd be a little monotonous to have her go to a pc store, then to an apple store, then back to the pc store to buy a laptop.

    Good commercial idea, though. Interesting.
  • -2 Hide
    FHDelux , March 27, 2009 2:06 PM
    Apple sells an experience, what they believe computing should be, if you buy an apple computer, it will run their OS of current well. You can easily go out and buy a PC that will barely run windows, Apple simply wont let you do that. I'm not saying either way is right, but, you can buy a 500 dollar PC that comes with Vista, how great of a user experience is that, its slow and painful? Once you get to a certain level 1,000 dollars or so, you get computers that are nicely built to run Vista, but that is a far cry from the 500 they start at.

    I remember a quote from a Sony exec i liked: "In the race to the low end, nobody wins". I think that holds just about as true to the PC market just as moores law does.

    Nobody should have to run Windows Vista on a 1.6Ghz dual core with 1GB of ram and no 3d card, seriously. But then again nobody should be forced to buy a $3k computer because it runs best on that setup.
  • 4 Hide
    curnel_D , March 27, 2009 2:11 PM
    JMcEntegartFair enough. I still think it's strange. If it were me I would have put it afterward. That way they'd still have the chick looking at all of her options but then have the, "I think I'll go back and get what I saw before!" factor. 'Spose that's why I'm not in marketing.

    Well, lets be honest with ourselves. Whether we're a PC fan or a Mac fan, most people will want an apple laptop because they look so damn cool. While I would deff use microsoft on a mac if I had it, in just look and exterior design, mac wins hands down. (Which isnt what microsoft is advertising) But when we all realize that "Damn, that's a pretty expensive coat of paint", what do we turn to? Our Trusty HP's, Dells, Acer's, ect..

    Microsoft knows that apple computers look awesome. Doesnt change their main point that they're just too dang expensive for anyone who decides to live within their means atm.
  • 1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , March 27, 2009 2:13 PM
    I think the ad was a good one. Its honest and and not misleading and certainly shows you that with a Mac your really just paying a huge amount for the logo. There is honestly no way to justify the price difference.

    Thanks Jane for yet another good article I really enjoy reading your work.
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