Apple has out-competed PC makers on price for years

“I can’t believe what I’m reading. All across the Web, reporters are saying that at Apple’s press event next week, the company will unveil an $800 Mac to appeal to those looking to spend less on an Apple computer,” Don Reisinger writes. “Anyone who has followed Apple since its inception knows that the very idea that Apple could actually compete on the same level as its competitors on price is a shocker.”

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve done a fair bit of following Apple and, Don, we’re not at all shocked:
• Apple does it again: New Macbook Pros much cheaper than Dell – October 25, 2006
Fortune compares Mac vs. Dell: ‘you’ll get more for your money with Apple’ – September 11, 2006
AP: Time to think different, Apple Mac beats Dell on price, software compatibility, and more – August 23, 2006
Thurrott pits Apple Mac Pro vs. similarly configured Dell, figures out the Mac is less expensive – August 18, 2006
Dell cannot compete with Apple’s new Mac Pro price or feature set – August 15, 2006
Apple Mac Pro with/ 20” Cinema Display less expensive than Dell Precision 690 sans monitor – August 10, 2006
Bear Stearns: Apple’s new Mac Pro, Xserve pricing well below comparable Dell systems – August 09, 2006
Apple Macintosh simply does more and costs less than Windows PCs – February 14, 2006
• Apple Macs are less expensive than Dell PCs – April 24, 2005
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006

Okay, we just threw that last one in to drive home the point that you get much more with an OS-unlimited Mac than you do with a similarly-equipped OS-limited PC.

Reisinger has the temerity to continue, “For years, the company has wanted to be considered a boutique vendor that doesn’t submit to price leadership to sell units.”

MacDailyNews Take: Well, now, that’s actually true. Apple chooses not compete on the low end for a reason. Their shareholders expect healthy margins and Apple does not want to sully their reputation for quality:

We can’t ship junk. There are thresholds we can’t cross because of who we are. The difference is, we don’t offer stripped-down, lousy products.Apple CEO Steve Jobs, August 7, 2007

Comparing sticker prices is a meaningless, and rather deceitful, exercise. It’s an – ahem – cheap trick waged on the ignorant by PC makers that Apple simply refuses to perform. Instead, compare similar spec’d systems, factor in the bullet points below, and see if the Windows PC offers more value as a Mac:

Which operating systems the machine can run: Macs are OS-unlimited, Dell et al. are OS-limited: no Mac OS X for you)
Which software the machine can run: Macs can run all the world’s software, Dell et al. cannot: no iLife, Final Cut, etc. for you)
How much the machine costs you over time: Anti-virus subscriptions, support, repairs, wasted time, frustration, annual wipe and reinstall Windows, etc.: no fun for you)

Windows PCs offer more headaches, yes; more value, no. Remember, most Mac users have made a conscious technology choice (at one time or another, they’ve usually been stuck with Windows at work and/or school) and are therefore better informed than most Windows PC users (who have never or hardly used a modern Mac). Even if Macs really did cost double, we’d gladly pay it while considering it a steal – because we know better.

Resinger continues, finally warming up, “Now, I’m a firm believer that Apple should start lowering its prices to appeal to more consumers and take the fight to Hewlett-Packard and Dell, but if Apple’s plan next week is to offer cheaper Macs, I can’t help but wonder if this is Apple’s new strategy going forward. I think it is.”

“Will it work? I can guarantee that it will. But what will it do to Apple’s image? As long as the company continues providing high-quality products that easily eclipse the competition, I don’t think it will have anything to worry about on that front either,” Resingger writes. “Apple’s decision to offer a cheaper Mac is a smart one. But it goes beyond a cheaper product. In reality, Apple is now a changed company that will compete on price. And it’s because of that that its competitors should be scared.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It all sounds great, but, again, you’ll still have the same ignorant, short-sighted consumers who shop only on sticker price and Apple, even with an $800 MacBook, would not be competing with PC schlockmeisters selling stripped-down junk for $500 (or less). It’s good that Apple is looking to lower prices, if indeed that’s what they plan on doing, and, we agree with Reisinger, it’d certainly help to narrow the gap between the lowest priced PCs and lowest priced Macs, but let’s not get carried away.

Don’t forget, Apple introduced Mac mini, the most affordable Mac ever, which started at just US$499 back in January, 2005 and it didn’t exactly set the world on fire, although it may have helped entice a significant portion of new-to-Mac buyers, who ultimately decided on a different, faster, more full-featured, and higher-priced Mac model after being attracted by that shiny, low sticker price.

Also, let’s not forget that Apple is doing rather nicely with current pricing; grabbing share, maintaining the PC industry’s highest customer satisfaction, and vastly outgrowing the PC industry as a whole.

46 Comments

  1. I sympathize with your observation, Macintosh. But all of a sudden there seems to be a “flight to quality” in this more-than-a-little-beleaguered market. Let us all hope it continues!

  2. Remember, most Mac users have made a conscious technology choice (at one time or another, they’ve usually been stuck with Windows at work and/or school) and are therefore better informed than most Windows PC users (who have never or hardly used a modern Mac).

    Well I said something to this effect on a post here a few days back and it got deleted. BAD MDN!

    I said something like this about my observations of the PC/Mac market:

    Mac’s get a mindshare in college, where kids who came from Windows PC homes want to try something different. But unfortunatly most have to use Windows PC when they get to a workplace, then have to buy a Windows PC for work at home. Then their kids at home learn to use Windows because it’s there and mom and dad use them.

    When the kids grow up and go to college, they learn Mac’s are better and some (like myself) continue to use them throughout their life because their income is not reliant upon having to use Windows at a workplace. However most switch to Windows because it’s what they have to use at work. The cycle continues I said.

    Now what is wrong in stating the obvious?

    Apple needs to break the Windows monopoly and this is how Windows maintains it’s monopoly.

    To break Microsoft is to break into corporations with a better computer, a flexible computer, a more secure computer, a total cost per machine and paying attention to what corporations need. Price adjustments for volume purchases and stuff like that.

    Apple STILL doesn’t have a spreadsheet program. (Appleworks is gone)

    Apple isn’t paying attention to the HUGE opportunity provided to it because of the BLOATWARE and hardware lock (DirectX9) that is Windows Vista requiring a substancial costly hardware upgrade.

    Apple can RULE THE WORLD, but is still terrified of Microsoft.

    Microsoft is terrified of Google.

    Hello?

    Hello?

  3. “And this $800 rumor is going to come back and bite us all in the ass when they come out to be $899 or something…”

    Thank you! I’ve been saying the exact same thing now for days. The whining idiots will be out in force next Tuesday wondering why Apple didn’t release the $800 MacBook they had been promised. They won’t have the intelligence to know that Apple has never promised any such thing.

  4. > We can’t ship junk. There are thresholds we can’t cross because of who we are. The difference is, we don’t offer stripped-down, lousy products.

    That quote from Steve Jobs IS the impact he has had on Apple since his return, and the effect that saved Apple from being bought out or going out of business.

    During the years when he was not at Apple, Apple did ship many stripped-down and sometimes intentionally cripple Mac models. Unfortunately, they still sold them with a relatively high price tag.

  5. My Bad, Apple does have a spreadsheet.

    There was that LONG period between Appleworks (free) and Numbers.

    I switched to NeoOffice on my IntelMac then and forgot all about Numbers.

    Guess Apple made a mistake not having something ready when they discontinued Appleworks.

    A critical mistake like that just cost the company a lot of money, and if Apple played a part in corporations, would have lost major market share.

    Ohoo back to updating my Vista install, overheating my MPB!

  6. A secure computing from OSX? That’s non sense. Their operatng system is full of holes and vulnerabilities than Windows and Linux combine. Only IDIOTS will dump Windows and go for a Mac or Linux. I recoomend everyone either upgrade their existing computer to Windows Vista or wait for Windows 7. Why bother switching to another operating system while Windows has it all. I love Windows!!!! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

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