Microsoft Responds to New MacBooks, Just Says "Apple Tax" Eight Times

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In an email of talking points circulated by Microsoft spokespeople, the company addresses the various rumors about today's new MacBooks, preemptively claiming that they will be overpriced, underspec'd and locked down. They offer charts comparing the feature lists of similarly priced Windows and Mac notebooks and make numerous accusations of an "Apple Tax." The email is interesting: nothing they say is incorrect, but none of it is new. Most importantly, all of it misses the point completely. Most Apple buyers are fully aware that they could purchase a cheaper computers from another manufacturer — after all, Apple's hardware specifications aren't exactly closely guarded secrets. Telling them this again and again won't win any converts, but it will, in a way, "rally the base" of fervent Apple critics online and elsewhere. If you also take into consideration that fact that Microsoft isn't promoting a specific new competitor to the new MacBook or even saying many positive things about any of their products, it is pretty clear what this is: an old-fashioned attack ad. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it's doubtful that it will change anything. With or without these ads, new MacBooks will inspire a hoard of people — most of whom would have never purchased one anyway — to write about how overpriced the hardware is. Shouting "COMMODITIZED PCS ARE CHEAPER" over and over again and throwing around phrases like "Apple Tax" isn't a marketing strategy — it's political entrenchment. For computers. Partial text of the email below.

The economy is impacting consumer choices, but Macs, due to their high upfront, won't sell in a more conservative market. On Sept. 29th, Morgan Stanley noted: "PC unit growth is decelerating and the remaining source of growth is increasingly the sub-$1,000 market where Apple does not play." Even if Apple were to drop pricing, the Apple Tax still prices Macs well outside of the sub-$1000 range. You can get a PC laptop with a bigger hard drive, more RAM, a media-card reader, more USB ports, and a bigger screen, for much less than a Mac. See the comparison chart below for just a few examples of what you can get today…we'll send out an updated comparison chart after Apple's announcement tomorrow. You can upgrade just about any Windows desktop PC, but the only significantly upgradeable Mac is the Mac Pro listed at $2799.00. Repurchasing software to make your Mac do all the things your PC does will cost you hundreds of dollars. Buying a Mac means scrapping your software and buying new applications (for up to $1,100) that run on Mac, just to do what you can still easily do on a new PC with the applications you already have. We've listed a set of common applications below. HDMI, Blu-Ray, eSATA, MediaCard Readers, built-in 3G, Fingerprint readers, TV Tuners, all have been shipping as built-in features on PCs for years, but none are available on a Mac. Not only does this mean you get to use the latest and greatest now, but since it's so easy to upgrade PCs, it also means that your computer is more future-ready…you can get today's technology now, and tomorrow's technology the minute its available.