Friday, August 31, 2007

Microsoft Loving Apple These Days?

I've written about my new Mac in the past and thought it was about time to write about it again. Prior to the release of the iPhone, Apple was running those ads with Justin Long, the hip young guy who used to be on the Ed show, and John Hodgman who (in the commercials) bears a rather strong resemblance to a tight cheap-suited/sportcoated, un-hemmed pants, bad hair day, chubby version of Bill Gates. I'm sure you've seen at least one of them - here's a collection of all 15 of them a user has put on YouTube.

Well done and yes they make me smile! Apple is really letting Microsoft have it huh? My first impression was yes but let's think about this a bit. Mike Q sent me an email last week saying that one out of every six notebook computers sold in the U.S. is now an Apple. I seriously doubt these are first time computer users and the majority of them are PC converts like Mike, myself and many of our academic and business/industry colleagues.

What's the first thing a PC convert asks when they decide to take a close look at the Apple machines? Does it run Windows?! The answer used to be no but today, with Intel processors and applications like Bootcamp, Parallels and VMWare, both the Apple and Windows operating systems can co-exist on the same machine. In the case of Parallels and VMWare, both operating systems can be used simultaneously.

Microsoft has to be loving this - the company doesn't sell hardware - they sell software. Let's take a look at what the average user will spend from a Microsoft product perspective starting with a new Mac user who is a Windows "convert" and still wants/needs Windows apps:

Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac (non-Microsoft product): $79.99
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate: $209.79
Microsoft Office 2007 Professional for Windows: $499.95
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac: $399.00
[note: all Microsoft prices from Microsoft website]

Adding up just the Microsoft applications gives $1108.74! What's really interesting is the fact that many (including myself) actually purchase two versions of Office that run on the same machine. Of course people can get away with upgrade pricing or get academic pricing (yes I did) if eligible. This drops the price a bit but you get the idea.

Now again, from a Microsoft product perspective, let's take a look at the purchase of a new Dell notebook - let's say a new Business Class Lattitude.

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate: $209.79 (it's likely a lot less $ for Microsoft since Dell gets volume pricing from Microsoft)
Microsoft Office 2007 Professional for Windows: $499.95
[note: all Microsoft prices from Microsoft website]

Adding these numbers gives $709.74 - still a hefty sum but less.

Laugh at the ads if you wish - people at Microsoft have to be smiling. Of course the real threat to Microsoft is not Apple - it's the free webware apps like ThinkFree, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Zoho, etc......

Read Show Notes and listen to Mike Q and my latest Podcast titled Enterprise 2.0 linked here.
Podcasts also free on iTunes.

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