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Friday, April 10, 2009

What Price Cool?

The below whitepaper compares Mac and PC. It seeks to reveal the extras one actually pays when purchasing a Mac.

What Price Cool? Users may know they pay more for Mac hardware, but much of the "Apple Tax" is hidden.

At the dawn of the personal computer age, two major operating systems or platforms emerged: Mac and PC. And although many of us have used and continue to use both over time, they really did end up diverging in profound and philosophical ways.

With respect to operating systems, the question of value has to be viewed in the context of a long and rich history, during which Microsoft and Apple took divergent approaches to building a
platform. Microsoft worked with partners to provide the widest range of choice possible. Apple kept control of the whole stack from top to bottom, providing a more integrated, but less flexible platform.

Outgrowths of these strategies have been Apple’s premium priced product positioning and Microsoft’s nurturing of a large competitive ecosystem that produces a wide array of hardware — including high-end tricked-out gaming rigs of the first order, but also low-cost entry-level systems accessible to buyers on a budget. Apple’s positioning has often been justified by an elegant user experience and a branding that attempts to associate the user with a “cool” in-group.

While the gap in user experience has been particularly noticeable in the most recent period, when Microsoft pitted Windows Vista against Apple’s OS X, this gap will likely close up when Microsoft introduces Windows 7 late this year. Then, only coolness, if that, will separate the two worlds. Mac users, and Windows users considering switching to Mac, might want to know the real price of cool. Actually comparing the two makes it clear that Mac buyers are paying a lot for cool.

What Price Cool? [via]

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