Microsoft: Mac buyers pay Apple tax

Apple may offer lower-priced machines on Tuesday, but one top Microsoft official said Monday that Mac buyers will still be paying an "Apple tax."

In a lengthy interview, Brad Brooks, vice president of Windows Consumer Product Marketing, argued that Mac buyers face hidden costs if they try to add Windows to their Mac or if they decide to forgo Windows compatibility.
Brad Brooks

"It's really a definition now between choosing something that is limited, and somebody chooses for you, basically the 'i' way, or actually taking it to a much broader scope, which is 'your' way, and defining it through Windows, and the experience that comes with the tens of thousands of partners that build applications, services, and content for the Windows platform every day," Brooks said.

Brooks comments came ahead of what many expect to be Apple's announcement of laptops that move the Mac maker further into the mainstream price range, perhaps with machines as low as $800.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

1.5 million Android-powered smartphones reportedly sold

Next Story

OpenOffice 3.0 final

19 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Fact is for Joe Sixpack windows pc's are the better choice/buy really, they can get all the software they want localy, and just stick the disk in and have it install/work, as aposed to mac, where u gotta hunt for apps to buy localy(good luck with that most places!!)

I got nothing against mac/osx/apple, I just hate their zelot users, its like nubuntu users who when they see a person asking about a windows problem.

example
Q: I keep having iTunes crash, Im running windows vista, any ideas how to fix it?

A: Install Nubuntu
A: Get Nubuntu

i could go on and on, old skool mac users are just as annoing, they dont understand how their system works or how to really use it fully, but they will tell you to get one like it........

blah, Windows for me at home, linux in virtual machien, and hackintosh on a system i use to test mac apps.

i pretty much agree with article.... Apple products in general are way overpriced! ... i know Windows is pricey but at least PC hardware is dirt cheap vs Mac's hardware so you would EASILY make up for the cost of windows (assuming you actually BUY windows, but who does?) in the savings in hardware alone.... not to mention PC's have alot of software etc etc.

PC's are just all around superior to Mac's ... it's pretty much common knowledge. Mac's only real advantage over PC/Windows is less viruses but that's about it for the most part.

cause at the end of the day... regardless of which is better be it Mac or PC , PRICE will make PC better for vast majority of people... plus PC is pretty much standard where as everything else is not (especially for the typical computer user)

You'll find that your "common knowledge" isn't so common.

Learn a little something about Unix first, and then feel free to modify your opinion.

And try to actually "use" the product(s) you criticize. Plinking away at something for five minutes doesn't count.

LTD said,
You'll find that your "common knowledge" isn't so common.

Learn a little something about Unix first, and then feel free to modify your opinion.

And try to actually "use" the product(s) you criticize. Plinking away at something for five minutes doesn't count.

well either way PC's are BY FAR the most common PC for the 'average user' so i think my opinion is still valid... cause i dont have any sales figures off the top of my head but im willing to bet windows pc's probably make up a good 70+percent of computer related sales.

maybe Mac's are solid computers (i cant say for sure as i never really used one, at least nothing modern for sure) but there still overpriced, hence Windows PC's are 'overall' better.

and to be honest i never really used a mac before at least not anytime in the last 10ish years or more.... but either way at the end of the day it comes back to 'standards' and 'price' for which a windows PC is king.

as for as linux stuff im sure it aint bad IF you know how to use it but it's still to different from windows to know all the commands unlike DOS etc which i known for many years.... basically as far as the technical stuff i find windows pc's to be far easier as linux's commands are way to different... and i dont think linux is up to windows standards 'yet' in terms of stuff just working... but it's getting better as the years go by... so for server related stuff unix is probably good but for general use i still think windows is better as it has mass amounts of software for it..... so depending on what you do with your PC a linux based PC probably aint a bad choice.

and also, this might be a little off topic but take IPOD's for example... there way over priced as you can get something like a Sandisk Sansa e200 series (which i have myself) which can run Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) and it makes it MUCH better than any IPOD related digital audio player (sure some IPOD's can run Rockbox but even then the price still plays a issue)

bottom line.... i still think my comment about the 'common knowledge' is still valid cause windows hardware is cheap and it has the most software out there so for 'most people' it's better.

p.s. but there's one thing i do agree with you on.... and that's the 'you need to use a mac (or linux) for more than a few minutes' in order to really get a good feel of the overall OS etc etc.

ThaCrip said,
well either way PC's are BY FAR the most common PC for the 'average user' so i think my opinion is still valid... cause i dont have any sales figures off the top of my head but im willing to bet windows pc's probably make up a good 70+percent of computer related sales.

Yes, because what everyone else buys must mean that it's better. Never mind that up until recently it's been impossible to buy a pre-built computer that didn't have Windows on it from anywhere but an Apple store or a Mac catalogue, or that people basically consider Windows to be their default because it's all that they knew.

But it cuts both ways. If Apple suddenly turns the tide on Microsoft, it'll indicate that they're beating Microsoft in terms of marketing and maybe user experience. It wouldn't mean that Macs are end-all superior to Windows, Linux, or other computing solutions.

maybe Mac's are solid computers (i cant say for sure as i never really used one, at least nothing modern for sure) but there still overpriced, hence Windows PC's are 'overall' better.

and to be honest i never really used a mac before at least not anytime in the last 10ish years or more.... but either way at the end of the day it comes back to 'standards' and 'price' for which a windows PC is king.

Then how the hell can you say whether it's overpriced or not? It'd be like me saying "cars are way overpriced! But all I've ever ridden was my bicycle." If you haven't used it, your ability to determine its worth is rather questionable.

But look, you're comfortable with Windows, so for you it's probably the optimal OS at this point in time. I'm happy to be "bilingual" with Mac OS X and Windows, and am looking forward to learning Linux through virtual machines. Use what's best for you, and recognize that no operating system is the best. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, and one may be optimal for one person but not for another.

Ledgem said,

Yes, because what everyone else buys must mean that it's better. Never mind that up until recently it's been impossible to buy a pre-built computer that didn't have Windows on it from anywhere but an Apple store or a Mac catalogue, or that people basically consider Windows to be their default because it's all that they knew.

But it cuts both ways. If Apple suddenly turns the tide on Microsoft, it'll indicate that they're beating Microsoft in terms of marketing and maybe user experience. It wouldn't mean that Macs are end-all superior to Windows, Linux, or other computing solutions.


Then how the hell can you say whether it's overpriced or not? It'd be like me saying "cars are way overpriced! But all I've ever ridden was my bicycle." If you haven't used it, your ability to determine its worth is rather questionable.

But look, you're comfortable with Windows, so for you it's probably the optimal OS at this point in time. I'm happy to be "bilingual" with Mac OS X and Windows, and am looking forward to learning Linux through virtual machines. Use what's best for you, and recognize that no operating system is the best. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, and one may be optimal for one person but not for another.

i disagree there cause Mac's for similar power (give or take) cost quite a bit more than windows based hardware, right? ... so if that's true, then my point still remains intact that 'mac's are overpriced' ;)

although when i think about it... one could possibly argue in favor of a Mac in some areas since it's hardware is made by one company (right?) instead of all different stuff like on PC's.... Mac's could potentially be more reliable in terms of software (like games and other complex software) working like it should from computer to computer which in some cases can vary on PC's due to variations in hardware etc.

and also i dont think Windows based PC's are better just cause 'everyone buy's them' ... it's cause they have the most software out there for them (which you could say it's cause everyone buy's them. lol) and there pretty much considered 'the standard'.... and you get alot of 'bang for your buck' on a windows PC vs a Mac... cause you can find brand new 500dollar PC's (give or take) that are solid general use computers.

but yeah, i would agree with you if suddenly Mac's had like 70+percent of the market and Windows stuff was the small guy.... cause then you would see LOTS of software out there for Mac's like it is for windows now.... but i dont think that will ever happen in the foreseeable future cause of there prices... plus it seems once people get used to something they dont like change... which is sorta confirmed with my point about the IPOD's below...

even though IPOD's are overpriced they tend to have 'the name' on there side as to why they sell so much as apple just got into the portable digital audio player market at the perfect time and i dont see anyone catching them anytime soon even though there are overall better/cheaper alternatives.... so i guess 'price' dont always play primary role in something being successful... as the IPOD pretty much proves it.

dont get me wrong... im sure OSX on a MAC is a solid OS ... but at the end of the day MAC's cost to dang much right? ... how much those run nowadays? 2000+ dollars? , or at very least upper 1000's? ( i aint really looked into there prices lately) ... since you use one you could probably clear it up a little.

plus another thing (which may or may not apply to some people, even though there is a fairly big crowd), if your going to play Games on a computer, a Windows PC is a absolute must.

like i say maybe a mac is nice for you and some people... but i think in the 'big picture' it's pretty hard to argue against something being 'overall' (note: overall) better than a 'windows based pc' , even though like you said mac's and unix can have there advantages over windows in some areas.... but at this point in time windows has been around so long and 'the people' accepted it as the standard since Windows 95 (maybe earlier)... i know vast majority of people on Neowin are more technical savy so stuff like Linux might be quite a bit more popular with them.

p.s. i dont mean any offense to you for using a Mac i was just making some points which i think are legitimate

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.

That's a fairly broad definition. I'm fairly sure I might also pay more if I buy a customised system from Dell or similar, is that the "Dell tax"?

with the current new line of macbooks, how it uses led backlighting, uses a all aluminum case, glass screen & touchpad, and comes with dedicated graphics, i say that the price is more reasonable than the past (1300$ for integrated gfx was no doubt a rip off)

this statement made by microsoft was true... yesterday

if you payed for anti spyware, virus and all of that other stuff you just said I hate to tell you but you wasted a lot of money. There are plenty of free products available. The rest of what you just said is so rediculous it's funny. Nice try though. "Upgrade drivers tax" please stop, I'm laughing too hard. The only blue screen I've gotten was from apples horribly bloated iTunes 8.

Lol these articles and interviews always bring the fanboys (not trying to attack anyone). It is simple marketing, Microsoft says Apple is bad/Apple says Mircosoft is bad. There are hidden costs on both sides. Personally I'll go with Microsoft for this.

I find the over pricing for VIsta and the fact that I have to purchase anti-virus, spyware, 3rd party security tools an unnecessary Microsoft Tax. I also think wasted personal time upgrading device drivers and diagnosing blue-screen and other severe errors as an unnecessary Microsoft Tax.

Haha, it's actually the price of supporting so many different hardware configurations, they can't get it perfect 100% of the time you know. The Mac is a closed environment, Apple controls the hardware and the OS, there is no need to support massive amounts of different hardware as Apple know exactly what is in each Mac, this results in OSX's superior stability and hardware support.

Anti-Virus might *seem* like an unnecessary cost (considering, pretty much only Windows gets viruses) but many people fail to realize Macs are not virus proof, there is a very good reason why Macs don't need anti-virus right now, user base. If you were gonna make a virus and you wanted maximum damage/spread what OS you gonna target? Mac? of cause not, you'd go for Windows cause it has the larger user base. Now that Macs are becoming more popular, virus writers/hackers will start focusing more on them. Macs may be more secure by design then a Windows machine, but once hackers see them as a big juicy target, we'll see how virus/hack proof they really are

Xerxes said,
User base. If you were gonna make a virus and you wanted maximum damage/spread what OS you gonna target? Mac? of cause not, you'd go for Windows cause it has the larger user base. Now that Macs are becoming more popular, virus writers/hackers will start focusing more on them.

If you wanted to cause maximum damage you'd target Unix-based servers. If you wanted to make the most money you'd target Mac users (who statistically make more money than Windows users) and businesses using yet more Unix servers. If you wanted fame you'd want to be the first one to write a wide spreading Mac/Unix virus.

People write Windows viruses because it's so easy to do. Twelve year olds with a few weeks of programming experience can write simple Windows viruses. Meanwhile people who've been programming for more robust OSes for years wouldn't even bother trying to write a virus for their favourite OS because they know it would be too hard and wouldn't even get the user's password approval to run. If breaking into Windows was like breaking into Fort Knox (as is the case with almost every other OS) a lot less people would try it. Unfortunately it's just like breaking, well, a window.

Ok, so Microsoft and their supporters says there is no "Microsoft tax". Yet Microsoft can claim that there is an "Apple tax", and they get their supporters to immediately agree to that too.

:P Crazy!

markjensen said,
Ok, so Microsoft and their supporters says there is no "Microsoft tax". Yet Microsoft can claim that there is an "Apple tax", and they get their supporters to immediately agree to that too.

:P Crazy!

Its not crazy!

You pay a far higher premium for an Apple computer, I understand yes that some say the Operating System is better, its just a better experience, bla bla bla.

The fact remains that you pay premium prices for not so premium hardware, maybe thats a little harsh considering the new MacBooks offering finally a decent graphics chip, but until this refresh, its been over the top prices all the way.

I mean £1400 / $2499 .. imagine the laptop and desktop you could buy for that in the Windows Environment.

Maybe you don't understand what a "Windows tax" is?

It is when you have to pay for Windows on a PC that you are going to wipe and use Linux on. Hence buying an unneeded OS license. I only ever see this complaints from Linux users.

When Microsoft turns this around and says "Apple tax" they are referring to buying a Macbook, and using BootCamp to run Windows all the time. Thereby buying an OSX copy that they don't ever use.