Microsoft pushes idea of "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."

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?