Jack Russell (the writer, not the terrier) says it’s no wonder that people don’t buy Apple Macs in greater numbers.
“We’ll assume, for the moment, that an $800 PC and an $800 Mac are an identical value. Given this, the Mac is still too expensive,” writes Russell for The Inquirer. “Why? Because the Mac is an unknown quantity to its potential buyer. Given that Apple only holds 1.9% of the current worldwide market, the vast majority of potential Mac users have probably never used one extensively (if at all) and may not know someone that owns one, or, even if they know someone who owns one, there’s no guarantee that the person owns a new Mac running OSX 10.2 or later on a fast enough machine to really show the OS off. Given this, a buyer considering an eMac has to accept on faith that this is a better purchase for them when they know almost nothing about the OS or how to use the system. They might be able to visit an Apple store (if one is in the area or the potential buyer knows they exist) but this isn’t a guarantee, nor is it going to answer all their questions.”
Russell continues, “Given that $700-$800 is all one needs to budget for a computer purchase these days (at the low end at least) an eMac represents a substantial risk with no guarantee of reward. Apple’s return policy isn’t exactly comforting either-you have the right to a return if unsatisfied with the product, but only if the product is unopened in the box. Hard to tell if you’re unsatisfied with the product if it’s still in the box, isn’t it?”
Apple might do better, Russell offers, by “offering first-time customers a free 30-day test- drive on a Macintosh system. Here’s how the system might work:
– The customer calls Apple to investigate switching to the Macintosh platform.
– Customer is offered a free 30-day trial, on any system of his choice, but must provide Apple with a valid credit card number with a sufficiently high limit as to pay for the potential purchase of the computer. Apple pays shipping both ways.
– The customer’s thirty day period begins from the day he/she receives the system. For thirty days he has access to the standard Apple-shipped suite of software. At the end of thirty days the customer has a two-week grace period with which to return the system (in its original packaging) to Apple.
– At the end of the two-week grace period, if the system is not en route to Apple, the customer is billed for the full cost of the system (just as any Apple user would be). At that point the transaction is considered closed. Customers are also charged for any system returned that is no longer in suitable condition to be used again as a rental. Customer information is kept in a database used solely for the purpose of ensuring that customers do not repeatedly abuse the system.” Full article here.
What do you think?