Macs Are Cheaper Than PC’s: Round 2

By on March 7, 2006

I didn’t think there was much to add to the previous iteration of this argument, but I guess I was wrong. Winn Schwartau of Network World did a little research and reported his results:

For my small enterprise, owning a WinTel box for three years costs twice as much as owning a MacTel.

Rebuttal shall commence in 5, 4, 3, 2…

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  1. I am not an IT guy, but I have worked in large IT departments. I currently work in a government/DOD enterprise network department. The entire network is Windows based, and has been so for years. I am a long time Windows AND Mac user (a slider). IMO, the differences in opinion about what is the best OS boil down to preference. If you are raised on Windows, you’ll staunchly defend it as the best, no matter what its innate limitations are, and visa versa. If Apple truly wants to gain ground in the enterprise IT arena, as Winn Schwartz’s article suggests, it will have to do more that make great products with great marketing; it will have to convince a mammoth Windows IT audience that it can outperform the system they are comfortable with. Apple has always approached its growth from the bottom-up, trying to get the little guy, home user to become a switcher. The Mac has lived its life as a small, special little OS for graphics applications, video, and education professionals. It has slowly been growing in popularity outside of these realms since the release of OSX. But, to get widespread acceptance, Apple needs to get a few monolithic enterprises, such as the Dept of Defense, or a few large ISP’s to convert, and make the use of OSX as an IT solution acceptable at the highest level. The fallout could influence other large enterprises to follow suit, and widespread acceptance will trickle down. It will take a long time to infiltrate the status quo of Windows as THE choice for IT, approaching it from the bottom-up.

  2. I haven’t used a Mac since my days in elementary school on the Apple IIe because my school district switched to Windows. Do I want a Mac now? Yes. What’s keeping me from buying a Mac? The fact that I can buy a high-powered PC for a lot less money. Say what you will about the a Mac system costing less over time. It still doesn’t change the fact that people are almost always concerned about upfront costs more then anything else. Why do you think “buying on credit” has exploded throughout the country? So what, if it costs a more over time, right? I think if Apple can reduce the upfront costs of a Mac system then I would gladly make the switch.

    Do I hate Windows or Microsoft? No. I think Windows XP is an excellent operating system with the same quirks, annoyances and signs of excellence that Mac OS X possesses. Linux is another story. I use Redhat Linux as well, but let’s be honest…Linux will never become popular with home users until it becomes easier to use.

    I notice most of these comparisons are only for the small businesses and the like. I would like to see a study as to why most people have not switched to a Mac. My guess would be cost and maybe the fact that hardcore gamers can’t find their games for a Mac.

    In closing, here is an off-topic observation. I’m sick of Microsoft haters who spell it like “Micro$oft.” Every company, especially the large corporations and including Apple are all about how much money they can make year after year.

  3. It still doesn’t change the fact that people are almost always concerned about upfront costs more then anything else.

    I’d disagree with that. Look at automobiles and the sale of hybrids; a hybrid version of any model vehicle will cost considerably more than a standard gas version. The difference? The hybrid will cost less over time (or at least that’s the assumption.) People do tend to look at the long-term cost of the goods they purchase, but for some reason there’s a deviation from that when it comes to some things like computers.

  4. I’d disagree with that. Look at automobiles and the sale of hybrids; a hybrid version of any model vehicle will cost considerably more than a standard gas version. The difference? The hybrid will cost less over time (or at least that’s the assumption.) People do tend to look at the long-term cost of the goods they purchase, but for some reason there’s a deviation from that when it comes to some things like computers.

    I understand your point about hybrids. I think my point can be reinforced with the fact that one of the reasons hybrids have not really outsold similar gas-only cars is the higher upfront costs. I don’t know sales figures for certain hybrids versus certain gas-only cars, so I could be wrong.

    So, I suppose Wintel computer = standard car & Mac computer = hybrid car. I know that’s weak but that’s the best I’ve got right now.

    I agree there is a deviation from considering long-term costs when it comes to purchasing certain items. I also think the average person usually forms a stronger attachment to their vehicle as opposed to their computer.

  5. My point about the hybrid cars is that even though there are gas and hybrid versions of the same model, some people will spend a little more in order to get a lower cost of ownership. They do so because auto manufacturers go the extra mile to make sure that potential buyers know what the long term benefits are.

    But the hybrid car analogy doesn’t fit the Mac-vs-PC comparison when it comes to price. One point that Schwartau didn’t stress enough is that with Apple machines now sporting Intel processors it’ll be easier to compare Macs against PC’s, and Mac prices will be very competitive when compared feature to feature against PC’s. Can you get a Dell that’s cheaper than a Mac? Sure, but it’s going to be a lesser machine. And don’t forget that there is one version of OS X for everybody; no “Home” and “Pro” MS-BS.

    In my opinion, Apple hasn’t done a very good job of stressing the TCO. It’s at least as applicable for the home user as it is for IT professionals. I know way too many non-tech types who have bought PC’s, whether from Dell, or Gateway, or Best Buy, and walked away feeling like victims of a bait and switch. They see the ads for the low priced machines but end up spending much more than they had expected. And I think if more people knew up front what they were getting into cost-wise when buying a PC they would think a little harder about the alternatives.

  6. As the “proud” owner LOL, of an i/book that has failed repeatedly, my TCO was immense. I had to spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to get it fixed, and then it broke again, and again. Add to that, it was truly inadeguate machine, underpowered, fascist software, I hated it. Good-bye, good riddance. I just paid $528 total for pc with xp that just kills anything in the same price range at… oh sorry there is nothing in the same price range! At $1500 for the ibook, I can buy one of these a year for 3 years, and still be ahead of the game. But that won’t happen, because if a component does fail, I can go anywhere and buy a replacement for a fraction of the price I would pay for a similar apple component.

    And it is NOT that I grew up in a PC environment, I learned on Apples (they were good then). Now they are pretty, white ,(I am so bored with this white stuff) and cost so much they are only for rich people. Apple vs PC? ha ha ha ha What a stupid concept. Apple is junk. For instance the mouse is one of our main ways to communicate with our machines. Apples response? One button! One! If it’s so good why don’t we fly our jetliners that way? Junk, junk, junk.

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