BusinessWeek has yet another article on the relative costs of Macs vs. PCs, and author Arik Hesseldahl comes down on the Mac side:
PC makers in the Windows camp have done everything possible to make their products progressively worse by cutting corners to save pennies per unit and boost sales volume. There's good reason Apple is seeing healthy profits while grabbing market share. It refuses to budge on quality and so charges a higher price.
Actually, Apple is losing market share (slightly). According to Gartner, anyway, Apple had negative growth in the first quarter and dropped very slightly (0.1%) in market share.
Apple edges out a lot of users with their limited, and yes overpriced, selection. When I look at Apple's offerings, I don't see anything that fits my needs. I want a basic machine that I can stuff a lot of memory and disk in. Note that I said "that I can..." -- not an Apple reseller.
The only offering Apple gives users that really fits the bill for my use case is a Xeon-based monster that starts at $2,500. The thing is, I don't want or need a Xeon. Well, OK, I kind of want one, but I don't need one. Apps aren't bottlenecked at the CPU, in most cases. The extra CPU isn't what I want, it's RAM, and gobs of it. And disk space for VMs and such. A Core 2 Duo would do just fine.
Lucky for me, I can get what I want with generic PC hardware and Linux. With Apple, you're constrained to its 16 offerings and some overpriced customizations.
That's just one example, of course, but Apple's offerings are generally high-priced for the hardware offered and make no concessions for users who don't fit their use cases.The point that Hesseldahl and others miss is that the PC market offers way more choice than Apple, even if some of those choices are bargain basement hardware.
Lauren may be a Microsoft shill, but it doesn't mean that Macs are reasonably priced or vastly better than other systems by any stretch of the imagination.