Microsoft's Laptop Hunters advertisements continue to provoke more spilled ink, this blog included. The latest such example is from BusinessWeek, in which writer Arik Hesseldahl outlines why an Apple machine definitely costs more than a PC but all things considered, really doesn't.
In the article, Hesseldahl asserts that "Yes, $699 beats the $2,800 you'd pay for a Mac with a 17-in. screen. But when it comes to PCs, there's still a great deal more to buy." He's not talking about putting a price tag on design, either.
He explains this disconnect by outlining unspoken costs that come with PCs. For example, security: With a $699 PC, you need to pay for antivirus protection beyond the trial period, somewhere in the range of $50 per year. That's at least $150 over three years, if not more. A four-digit Mac won't need antivirus, Hesseldahl writes.
Then, service: WIth a $699 PC, a third-party vendor such as Best Buy's Geek Squad will charge you $129 to diagnose an ailing PC. Apple's Genius Bar? Free.
Same goes for software bundles: Apple's iLife multimedia suite is simply more capable than whatever comes preloaded on a PC, he says, and applications such as Photoshop Elements and Garageband are costly to replicate on a PC.
The list goes on, citing Apple battery life, screen resolution, and overall consumer satisfaction. It's a reasonable argument, though I wish there was a bit more detail -- surely it costs a consumer to depend on a single vendor. Competition does drive down price, after all.
Still, the conclusion is clear: with a Mac, you get what you pay for. With a PC, same deal.
When Hesseldahl asked Apple directly, they had this to say: "A PC is no bargain when it doesn't do what you want."
Be careful what you wish for.