Microsoft revisits 'Apple tax' ahead of Tax Day

Now that company officials finally have decided to talk about Windows' competition by name, Microsoft isn't letting up with its anti-Apple messaging.

Now that company officials finally have decided to talk about Windows' competition by name, Microsoft isn't letting up with its anti-Apple messaging.

On April 11, Microsoft trotted out more "Apple Tax" analysis in the form of a new Windows Experience blog posting, plus a Microsoft-sponsored whitepaper by EndPoint Technologies.

One of EndPoint analyst Roger Kay's key take-aways on the "hidden" costs of Mac ownership from the whitepaper entitled "What Price Cool?": Over a five-year period, a family of 4 can save over $3,367 by going with 2 PCs rather than 2 Macs.

Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc elaborated on Microsoft's latest claims on the Windows Experience blog:

"It is human nature to focus on the up-front price. The coverage around our Laptop Hunters ads jumps right to that ('PCs are cheaper'). The harder thing to capture is the overall cost and the VALUE. Roger (Kay)’s paper does a great job illustrating this. Cost is getting something cheaper. Value is a function of getting more of what you want, regardless of what you spend. And you’re a lot more likely to find that with a Windows PC."

Playing off the upcoming April 15 Tax Day, LeBlanc details some of the ways that users might opt to spend the thousands of dollars in savings they'd achieve if they bought a PC instead of a Mac.

I hadn't been thinking much about how Microsoft's new anti-Apple focus might be hitting the Microsoft employees who use Macs, iPhones and iPods. And what about the hundreds of Softies who work in Microsoft's Mac Business Unit?

Nadyne Mielke, a User Experience Researcher in the MacBu (who admits to having two Macs sitting on her desk at Microsoft) blogged sanely about the insane tensions between the Windows and Apple camp this week:

"I keep on hearing about the Apple Tax again, and I keep on hearing people on both sides of the issue getting quite upset about it. The thing is: both sides are right.

"I think that it's fair to say that there's an Apple Tax, given that the starting point for buying a Mac is so much higher than the starting point for buying a PC. Arguing about whether the tax is one that's worth paying is a valid discussion, if we can manage to have it without turning it into some kind of holy war. So far, I'm not seeing anyone being terribly willing to have the discussion without getting rabid about it."

I agree with Mielke. Anyone who thinks the "religious wars" over operating systems are over hasn't been paying attention to the firestorm that Microsoft's evolving Mac vs. PC campaign has reignited.  I have to admit, though, I am happy to see the Windows team is finally starting to tell its own story instead of letting Apple tell it for them.