The PC Tax

After reading this PDF about the Apple Tax, I  find it interesting that they do not include anything about the PC Tax…..

So here is my take on the stuff that is missing:

1. OS Upgrades for a multiple PC house vs a multiple MAC House. Most households probably have more than one PC/Mac in the house now days. So when a new OS comes out, how much does it take to “upgrade” the house.. Looking at the current price of Microsoft Vista Home Premimum, it is $115.99 for the Upgrade edition. MacOSX Leopard is currently $129.00. So for one computer, yes MacOS is a little more expensive, but lets look at if you have 4 computers in the house. To upgrade your 4 PC’s to Vista, you are going to pay $463.96. If you have 4 Mac’s, to upgrade them to MacOS X Leopard, $199.00.. Yes that is correct it costs you $264.96 more to upgrade 4 PC’s than it does to upgrade 4 Mac’s. This is because Apple offers a “family pack” pricing, which allows you to install the software on up to 5 Mac’s in the same household. Microsoft does not do this.

2. Office Software. If all you need is basic Word processing and spread sheet’s, iWork from Apple does everything you would need. Once again a single upgrade would cost $79, and they offer a family pack too, for $99 you can upgrade 5 Mac’s. Now look at Microsoft Office Home and Student it is $94.45 per computer. So for 4 PC’s, we are up to $377.80 now vs the $99 for iWork on the Mac. Difference of $278.80.

3. Virus protection. For the most part (read as 99%) Mac’s are free of Virus’. So there is no “software” needed on them. But on PC’s you better not even connect it to the Interwebs with out having a virus protection software on the machine. So If we look at the sort of “defacto” Norton Antivirus, it costs $39.99 a YEAR per PC. So for our 4 PC’s it would be $159.96 a YEAR, whereas our Mac is $0.

If we add all this up as if Vista and Office just came out, our cost for upgrading a house of 4 PC’s would be $1,001.72.. Versus if we were to upgrade a house of 4 Mac’s to the newest MacOSX and iWork, it would cost $298.00. For a difference of $703.72. So a having a house of Mac’s is about 70% cheaper to upgrade than a house of PC’s is.

One section of the article is just plain wrong:

Finally, there is a category of costs that could be called opportunity costs, options that are simply not
available in the Apple world.  These options include cutting edge technologies that buyers really want
including HDMI (for connecting a PC to a TV for viewing high-definition content), the aforementioned
Blu-Ray, eSATA (for fast access to external storage), media card readers (for interoperation with other
digital devices like cameras), built-in 3G wireless (to stay connected anywhere cell service is live),
fingerprint readers (to easily access secure data), and TV Tuners (to watch and record broadcast
content).  These technologies, revolutionary now, will one day be standard on all systems.  Too bad if
a Mac buyer has any interest in them.

Has the person never heard of USB media card readers? They are UNIVERSAL… I have a couple of them, work great with the Mac. I also have an Elgato USB TV Tuner that does HDTV, clear QAM and allows my Mac to record shows. There is no reason  you couldn’t put a Blu-Ray reader in a Mac Pro, or even get a USB enclosure for it. Just because some PC’s come with all this stuff built in, unless you are going to user it, does it really matter if it is there. Heck I have a new printer that has one of the Media Card readers in it, so when it is connected via USB to the Mac it looks like any other removable media device.

The final part of the article that sort of is ridiculous, is the author assumes that to do wireless on a Mac you need an Airport Extreme. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is a reason it is called 802.11[abng] it is a standard that EVERYONE uses. You don’t need to have a specific brand unless you really want to be brand loyal or don’t know any better. I have a $40 Linksys wireless router that works 100% fine with the Mac’s I use. He also talks about the $100 cost for the family pack of the iLife software. I have 3 versions of this, and it is worth the money. Microsoft has NO comparable software offering for that price with the functionality that iLife provides. Even if they did, they would not be selling 5 licenses for $100. It would probably be $50 to $80 per license.

The other issue that he brings up is that most software that works on Windows XP will work on Vista, but people who switch from PC to Mac will have to buy all new software. This is not entirly true. You can use Windows XP/Vista on Mac Hardware either via BootCamp or VMWare Fusion/Parallels Desktop. I do this for a couple of applications that I need that are only available on Windows. But for the most part I have found that everything I need for my day to day computing on the Mac is free software. There are only a couple of programs I have bought because I needed functionality that the provided.. But for the most part there are equivalent Mac programs for every Windows one, and most of the time they are better and some times Free.

I think the next time before some one tries to say how much more Mac’s cost they need to really do their home work. Yes the hardware costs more up front, but in the long run, it last longer, runs better and has less problems. I used to have a Dual G4 for a desktop. It used dual 533Mhz processors and ran MacOSX Tiger just fine. Try running Vista on a Pentium III and we will talk.. Windows is getting better about the bloat, but they still have a LONG way to go.