There is a big difference between the price of purchasing a computer and the cost of owning one. That's a distinction that Microsoft carefully dodges in its latest round of commercials, but I don't think Microsoft is fooling many people (except maybe analyst Roger Kay, but that's another story). Apple has even seen fit to respond to the rather silly points Microsoft tries to make.
"Millions of people have switched to Mac because they love the security, stability and power that comes with world-class hardware and amazing software that just works, right out of the box," Apple spokesman Bill Evans told Macworld, breaking Apple's silence on the matter to this point.
Apple executives must have been giggling like school girls when the ad featuring Lauren De Long debuted. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," says Lauren after entering an Apple retail store.
"The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool; with it's great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price," said Evans.
Microsoft starts off by saying that Macs are cooler than PCs--regardless of how sarcastic it's meant to be--and no matter what Lauren finds, that point stays with you. If you've seen the commercial, you know that Lauren's goal is to find a 17-inch laptop for under US$1,000--and she does. She settles on an HP. Congratulations HP, you aren't cool enough either. The follow-up ad, featuring Giampolo, ups the ante to $1,500, with HP coming out ahead once again.
There are a couple of important points the commercials don't bring up: the operating system and the cost of owning the computer. Have you noticed that Microsoft never mentions Vista? It's like the OS doesn't exist anywhere except on the hard drives of poor, unsuspecting consumers. Apple talks about OS X all the time. Have you ever wondered why? Because it works. It's that simple.
The Mac works for photos, movies, music, DVDs and almost everything else you can throw at it. Windows Vista boots up most of the time--that's something, I guess.
What about all those hidden costs that Microsoft doesn't tell you about in the ads? As soon as you get a Windows PC home--and most definitely before connecting it to the Internet--you will need virus protection. I heard no mention of the fact that viruses from e-mail and the Web will slow your computer down to a crawl in no time at all. (And let's not forget the Windows Registry and the amount of repairs it needs.)
And before you ask, yes I do have a PC. It's gathering dust in my basement because I got tired of always having to fix it with one utility or another just because I dared go on the Internet.
I'm a Mac user out of choice. I like my computers to work for me, not against me. Maybe I am cool enough to own a Mac--even if I'm not, I am smart enough to own one.
This story, "Microsoft Ads Continue to Defy Logic" was originally published by Macworld.