Newsletter #491 Preview: Microsoft’s Dreaded Secret: The Microsoft Tax

April 26th, 2009

A clever way to divert attention from your own shortcomings is to talk about someone else’s, real or imagined. In business, you focus on the things your competitor supposedly does wrong, hoping they won’t stop to look more closely at your own failings.

So we have Microsoft making a huge deal about an alleged “Apple Tax,” purported to be the extra price you pay when you choose Apple’s ultra cool Macs instead of an ordinary Windows box. Now regular readers know that I don’t believe there is such a thing. It’s a hype, a false claim from Microsoft and Windows fanboys to stem the ongoing erosion of PC market share.

When it comes to purchase price, a Mac and a PC, almost identically configured in terms of hardware and software, will be priced really close. The PC may have a slight advantage at the low end of the market, while Macs will beat the mainstream workstations by a surprisingly large margin at the high-end, with the Mac Pro.

But the real price you pay is the cost to own, and that’s something Microsoft doesn’t want you to know. They sure tried their best, hiring a hack industry analyst by the name of Roger Kay to deliver a misleading white paper that pretended to show that it costs thousands less for a family to own several Windows PCs instead of Macs over a period of five years.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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