I was all ready to crank out a heavy work post when this item in my Reader caught my eye.
I love this type of title because it captures attention by being potentially controversial, and of course, it references Apple. Good tech news writing always drives traffic through the Cult of Mac. Plus, the author dangles a question, instead of an answer, to make it more interesting.
The crux of the article centers around the following research from NPD.
I think NPD refers to the NPD Group, but it’s not entirely clear. Also unclear is what additional context is presented beyond the table. Anyway, these figures leave a lot of unanswered questions about the research and how it was conducted, but setting that aside, they offer good fruit for conversation.
Especially in light of the recent discussions we’ve had here about the virtues of various O/S.
I think we can all agree that when you buy a computer, you’re paying for the software; hardware is a commodity. Maybe not entirely interchangeable when comparing Macs to Windows, but close enough.
The differences between O/S make the cost argument interesting; combine that with the intended user’s skill level with computers, and you get a really interesting cost analysis.
As someone who uses each of the main flavors of O/S on a daily basis, I’m fascinated by this debate because there are so many variables for cost.
- Who’s the primary user and what level of skill does s/he have?
- What’s the intended use for the computer?
- What other software is required/recommended to keep the O/S clean and functional, e.g. anti-virus and anti-spyware software?
- Who’s the first line of support and how much does it cost to get support?
- What comes included, both hardware and software, and what is an upgrade? Who installs the upgrade?
Another interesting talking point is the speed of the Interwebs connection. People frequently say a computer is slow, when they mean that web pages are loading slowly. Your super fast 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processor looks like a dog when you’re loading Amazon over a dial-up connection.
Factor in all this (and more), and it’s really hard to get a single answer. Obviously, I was willing to pay double for a Mac, but it fit my requirements. I’m not really a fair example though, since I also paid half for an XP box, and paid $0 to use Ubuntu.
And by the way, it sure would be nice to see a Linux distro on the list. If cost is the primary factor, the question should be, “Would you pay for and O/S?”
What do you think?
Focusing on out-the-door pricing seems too narrow to ask such a broad question. It would be very interesting to see a comparison of expected full costs (not just OOTB) for each of the major O/S.
Find the comments.