Microsoft pushes idea of "Apple tax"

Microsoft pushes idea of "Apple tax"

Summary: With more people turning to Apple products, and the holiday season just around the corner, Microsoft is keen to emphasize the fact that users looking to switch from Microsoft face the "Apple tax."


With more people turning to Apple products, and the holiday season just around the corner, Microsoft is keen to emphasize the fact that users looking to switch from Microsoft face the "Apple tax."

In an interview with CNET's Ina Fried, Microsoft's vice president of Windows Consumer Product Marketing Brad Brooks was keen to point out the hidden costs that face those making the switch. In fact, he outlines four different taxes:

  • Choice tax
  • Application tax
  • Technology tax
  • Upgrade tax

There really is a tax around there for people that are evaluating their choices going into this holiday season and going forward. There's a choice tax that we talked about, which is, hey, you want to buy a machine that's other than black, white, or silver, and if you want to get it in multiple different configurations or price points, you're going to be paying a tax if you go the Apple way.

There's going to be an application tax, which is if you want choice around applications, or if you want the same type of application experience on your Mac versus Windows, you're going to be purchasing a lot of software. And even at that you're not going to get the same experience. You're not going to get things like Microsoft Outlook, you're not going to get the games that you're used to playing. There's a technology tax--Apple still doesn't have HDMI, doesn't have Blu-ray offerings, doesn't have e-SATA external disk drives that work at twice the speed of FireWire. And so you've got all of these things that are truly taxes.

You've also got an upgrade tax. The only machine, as far as I know, within the Apple lineup that's actually upgradeable is the Mac Pro, the $2,800 version, which is (more expensive than) just about any PC configuration that you get from any one of our manufacturers.

Hmmm ... let's have a think about each of these taxes for a moment. 

  • Choice tax - Sounds bogus to me. If we're taking consumers here, few do much research anyway, and of these that do, they will buy a product that suits their needs.
  • Application tax - Depends on whether the new system is a replacement to an older machine or a second computer. If it's a second system then most of the time you have to pay for a new license anyway (though there are exceptions). Also, the application tax applies equally to changing mobile phones and the like. A change of platform does mean added hassles.
  • Technology tax - If people want HDMI, Blu-ray, eSATA and so on, these people will buy a system specifically kitted out with that. Do some people experience buyer's remorse? Sure, but to try to make out that the condition only applies to systems not equipped with a Microsoft OS is bogus. Plenty of Microsoft systems don't come equipped with HDMI, Blu-ray, or eSATA.
  • Upgrade tax - Yeah, for people like me, that's an issue, but the truth is that most people never upgrade their systems anyway. If you are the kind of person that upgrades stuff, you'll do your research and buy accordingly.

Thoughts? Is the "Apple tax" real?

Topics: Banking, Apple, Government, Government US, Microsoft

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  • upgrade tax?

    all the mac laptops are upgradable in terms of ram and hard disk. what else do you need to upgrade on a laptop?
    • Processor

      But you can do that too.

      I think the rep was referring to the common desktop PC. Which from my past experience, the only thing that I changed on a PC that wasn't easy to change on a Mac would have been an optical drive.

      Past that, I have had very few problems shifting around various components.
      • Processor ?????

        You cannot switch the processor as now both intel & amd release new class of processor for every 1 year and these processor are not compatible on same slot. tell how can you fit 45nm processor on 65nm processor compatibile motherboard or from 800mhz frontside bus to 1086 frontside bus...

        when you want to switch, you switch to new hardware.. just don't let your bogus claim just prove your point
        • Not a massive upgrade

          But I do have a system at home with a 1066 mobo which supports a 1333 frontside bus, but a firmware update to work with newer 45 nm processors.

          But the point is, you can take a 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo and upgrade it to a 2.53 or which ever is still in the same class as long as your build supports it.

          As for my PC, I had a 3.0 GHz P4 because I couldn't afford the $1099 at the time for my QX6850, but now that time has passed. I upgraded and life is better, same motherboard.

          Apple, you would likely not use an older processor with a newer system, but you can use the low end processor and replace it with a better one in that class as I mentioned earlier in this post.
        • On this're a loser baby...

          Shows you know squat about upgrading. I started out with a 65nm core 2 duo and upgraded to a 45nm quad, all on the same Asus motherboard. Asus P5N-T Deluxe 3-Way SLI. Your clearly clueless about upgrading, so slow down on the nonsense, educate yourself and try a post thats based on facts. The motherboard has a CPU socket rating and any CPU with a compatible socket will work. Intel has performed very well by way of keeping the Socket LGA775/T alive for quite some time.

          You just blew your credibility totally by showing you don't have a clue about something you spouted off to. Try looking it up next time.
        • Wrong

          You can use AMD 90nm, 65nm, and future 45nm (denab) chips on the same socket/board. Only Intel has this problem. They have used the same Socket for years but they change everything else like CPU power supply, BIOS, FSB style, and RAM type supported.
          AMD chips that use AM2, AM2+, and future AM3 chips are interchangeable no matter the age of the board. Cheap boards might have a problem but highend boards can accept virtually any AMD AM2 style chip.
          AMD is able to do this thanks to hypertransport and the built-in memory controller aka northbridge.
    • Yes! I agree

      99.999% of people do NOT upgrade their laptops (desktops to a lesser extent). Most do not upgrade either their hardware or OS.

      You get new hardware and operating system when you buy a new laptop.

      All I've ever done on laptops is get more RAM. On Desktops I've done a lot more - new video cards, RAM, hard drives, CPU's, etc. It's a nice hobby. However I usually go to the local white box shop and give them my specs for a new machine, then "play" after that, as newer technology becomes needed and available. So far I have never purchased a separate OS license. I don't BUY an OS. I use whatever comes on the machine.

      My 25 year old son in law is seriously looking at the new Mac laptop, after being a long time user of Wintel PCs. I'm going to have a look as well, AFTER my current laptop is obsolete!
      I am Gorby
      • Upgrades

        My son has a MacBook. He recently added ram at the cost of over $100. I added the same 2 GB to my wife's Gateway Laptop, it cost me $40.

        Yes you can add more ram or different Hard Drives, the point is, you pay twice as much for the same capability.

        What killed of most of the original computer design companies was proprietary equipment. Apple had a large enough share they hung on. Now they still have proprietary equipment, but don't do their own chips anymore. Try to explain why I should pay 2 or 3 times as much for the same ability.
      • I'm converted

        I went Mac, and I'll never go back...
  • It's a bit of a bogus argument...

    ...though no more disingenious than Apple's Mac vs PC adverts.
    Sleeper Service
    • Why not? I have seen many here reference the Microsoft "tax"

      (even the bloggers themselves)when talking operating system, though when I ask them what type of yearly tax on XP they are talking about, I receive no answer, so I really see this no differently.
      • Well not really...

        The colour of a laptop is largely unimportant and black or white is fine. Our Lenovo's are the usual iconic black, for example.

        I admit that Apple really do screw people on upgrades though although anyone with half a brain will buy their RAM from a third party supplier.

        Secondly, the Apple software is competitively priced when compared to, say, Works. OK, it's no Office but it does OK for what it is.

        Thirdly, the tech tax really is rubbish. If you want those features on a Windows OEM machine then you're going to pay extra for them. Sure, the point remains that you have the option to do so but they're not cheap options.

        Lastly, you can upgrade pretty much any recent Apple in the same way you can upgrade pretty much any other Intel based platform.

        This is the same as the Mac vs PC ads: A little truth and a lot of exaggeration.
        Sleeper Service
        • Agreed.

          In the end, all sides just chalk it up to "marketing" ;)
          • Ignore it all, think for yourself, and use OSS.

            Oh sorry it's you, you can only use computers that say MS Corp on boot.
          • I rest my case! - thank you make it sooo eays - nt

        • What?!?!? Thats total rubbish! And you know it!! Ha!

          "Lastly, you can upgrade pretty much any recent Apple in the same way you can upgrade pretty much any other Intel based platform."

          No you cannot!! What kind of nonsense is that??? Lets say I own an iMac, I want to put in a 3 way SLI system. Lets say its my big thrill. Well my big thrill is dead. Even on simple twin SLI.

          Lets say I want to swap out the motherboard, go with an AMD system. On any Apple, how is that going to work for me? Is that going to be as easy....even close as a PC? Nope.

          Choices in hardware..will I be fairly restricted in the kind of RAM/Motherboard/CPU/graphics card solutions with an Apple computer???

          Yes! Of course!!! Jeez! It goes without saying that in some cases extraordinarily restricted compared to a PC. This is like "Computer Upgrading 101". Its simple irrefutable fact.

          How can you sit (or stand or look in the mirror with a straight face)and claim "Lastly, you can upgrade pretty much any recent Apple in the same way you can upgrade pretty much any other Intel based platform."

          NO!!!! You cannot! Got an iMac?? Lets say your sick of the monitor, you want something bigger, or just something different?? Your screwed! Completely. This isn't a matter of opinion. Its as simple as looking at the Apple website and seeing what an Apple iMac is.

          Lets put a couple of ATI crossfire video cards in a mini Mac...ya right. Its not going to happen. Not unless you bust up the case get a new motherboard and case and install Vista and live in a dream world where in your mind you just upgraded your Apple computer. No you didn't, you just built a PC...that runs twice as fast at the same price as the mini.

          You could get a Mac Pro, then you have the same kind of room to upgrade as a normal low cost PC. On the other hand you could just go PC from the word go and get the EXACT equipment, except for the proprietary Apple case and related logos (and OSX) for about 35% less cost.

          Its all your choice. DO what you like but based on current Apple design and proprietary restrictions, never try lying again about how an Apple can be upgraded.
          • We're actually talking about Notebooks...

            ...and if we are comparing perhaps you can tell me how easy it is to upgrade a Dell One as opposed to an iMac?

            Context is a wonderful thing, reading comprehension is even better.
            Sleeper Service
          • Boy, talk about an emotional rant. You only hurt yourself.

            I'm not necessarily saying you're wrong about all
            points, but you have to remember that YOU are a
            techie... not an average user. Secondly, since
            Microsoft's comment came out in advance of Apple's
            [i]laptop[/i] announcement, the majority of your rant is
            false, though you would be correct to a large extent on
            the desktop.

            However, you seem to miss that the iMac already
            comes with monitor sizes as large or larger than the
            [i]average user[/i] is likely to want. Honestly, a 24"
            display on your desk is downright HUGE! But if you
            want to have more, it is literally nothing to simply plug
            in a second monitor of the size of your choice and
            extend the desktop onto it. And this totally discounts
            the ability to use Spaces to give you as many as 16 sets
            of expanded desktops; far more space than any
            average user would ever use.

            True, you can't change the motherboard... but again,
            the [i]average user[/i] never changes their
            motherboard. When the machine gets old or seemingly
            obsolete, they usually simply replace the computer.
            With a Mac that's even easier because they can recoup
            half of what they paid for it by selling it on eBay... or
            more! Unlike Windows boxes, Macs tend to hold its
            value far longer.

            Yes, you could build your own MacPro equivalent...
            with some exceptions. When you build your own
            machine, you tend to have wires and cables strewn all
            over the inside of the case, not only looking ugly (after
            all, who looks inside their PC case? Oh, that's right!
            You put a window there and filled it with lights!) but
            they also affect the cooling capabilities, forcing you to
            use multiple fans to move the air, which make noise. So
            not only is your PC uglier, but its also less efficient and
            noisier. When you go to replace hard drives (or add
            new ones) you have to struggle to fit them in (unless
            you're using expensive slip-in drive bays) and connect
            them with even more wires, while in the Mac Pro all you
            have to do is slip them in and seat them.

            Macs are engineered to be efficient and functional as
            well as handsome. Apple takes time to analyze new
            technologies and determine which ones would serve
            the most people in the easiest manner.

            One reporter asked Mr. Jobs yesterday about touch-
            screens on Macs, and Steve replied that they really
            didn't perceive a need for it. HP has tried to one-up
            the iMac with a touch-screen AIO model; how is it
            selling? I think that answer will bear out Steve's
          • Most people don't

            It's true that most people don't upgrade their laptops, but it is possible. Just because you have a PC laptop doesn't mean that you have to use MS.

            I installed Ubuntu 8.04.1 on my wife's computer, it was easy and doesn't hog all the memory. It isn't even a mobile OS, yet I get as much or more life out of the battery as my son's high end Macbook.

            Not being a techie, I don't know if you can even run Leopard on a PC. It would be nice if you could, then you could have a powerful computer and OS X, as of right now, you have to chose 1 or the other.
      • Apple is a dangerous predatory monopoly, says Microsoft.

        And Apple release really poor products, like Apple's Vista.