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Mac vs. PC cost analysis: How does it all add up?

Published June 9th, 2007
Mac vs. PC cost analysis: How does it all add up? Scot Finnie, Computerworld's online editorial director who last year switched to the Mac after being a long-time Windows expert, has published an excellent analysis of the cost factor in today's Mac-vs-PC market. It's a balanced tale that does more than a fair job of explaining the PC user's perspective on the argument. As Finnie notes, Apple simply doesn't compete in the low end of the market, and I would add that it's because Apple knows the low end doesn't really get users enough to be useful. People who buy $500 laptops quickly find they need to add all sorts of items to it to enable it to run the software they have in mind, or they find they can't run it at all. No matter... Finnie argues very persuasively--and correctly--that Apple is the best value available once you get over $1,000. The only exceptions are those niches in between Apple's sparse model line, where PC makers might have a make that meets your need rather than going another $200 for the next Apple product.

The only flaw with his analysis is that he views computers as being primarily hardware. I have long begged to differ on that point. Computers are mostly software, and it's the software that counts. From that perspective, I think it's still very obvious that Macs get you much more bang for your buck out of the box than PC's do. You may never have to buy another software title again once you break out your Mac. Whereas your PC will have you running to the software store again and again in search for decent software... One of these days, I do intend to update the analysis I published in March 2005 on the same subject. I'm very curious to see what those numbers look like now.

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