Count your Mac blessings. We jokingly refer to Apple’s annual iLife “upgrade” fee as an Apple Tax.
Consider the poor Windows users. Now Microsoft is adding to their already heavy tax burden with another annual fee.
What is it they say? Nothing is sure except death and taxes? With Microsoft’s Windows you get both. While still living.
I’ve done my share of poking at Apple for the so-called annual or near annual “Apple Tax.”
That usually refers to the annual upgrade to the iLife suite. Some consider it a tax, but it’s really just upgrade insurance.
iLife ships with each new Mac. The early annual versions were free upgrades, or a nominal charge for the disk to get iDVD (too big for downloads).
Then the price went to $49. Then to $79, stayed at $79 but added updates to each application, more features, and the new iWeb application.
If we consider it a tax, it’s not a bad tax because we get something in return. The coolest suite of applications possible for $79.
There’s also the Apple Tax for a Mac OS X upgrade. That comes about every 18 months or so, and there’s another $129 to fork over.
What do we get for that tax? A better OS, more features, improved this and that. In general, more smiley faces.
What about Microsoft Windows users? Do they pay an annual tax for the pleasure of doing business with Microsoft?
That depends on your perspective. I’m the sys admin for my parents Sony Vaio running Windows XP Home Edition. There’s a tax, alright. Plenty of taxes.
There’s a need for anti-virus software to scan for viruses which may impregnate a Windows PC. There’s applications that check for spyware, and malware. All those cost money. That’s a tax.
Guess what? According to The Register, Microsoft wants in on the tax scheme.
Since Windows Vista won’t ship until the end of 2006, Microsoft’s looking for another way to “protect” their customers by charging them a fee to keep their PCs clean and free from malware.
Of course, said malware arrives on said PCs because the previously heretofore mentioned Microsoft creates a swiss cheese OS which lets them in.
Now, they’re planning to charge Windows PC users an annual fee of $50 to protect their machines.
I didn’t take economics in college, but I smell an annual tax, uh, um, revenue stream in that scheme, don’t you?
Microsoft will launch their previously announced Windows OneCare Live program in June. $50 gets you “protection” for your PC for one year (up to three PCs). What’s the advantage of using Windows OneCare?
The writing was on the wall. Just last week, Microsoft Windows technical honcho, Jim Allchin announced that Windows Vista would not have security features found in Windows OneCare.
The interview in CRN cracked me up. Hilarious.
CRN: What are major new features (in Windows Vista)?
Allchin: Big advances. I see the big things as safety and security, user experience, mobility and Internet.
CRN: In terms of security, how do you compare security in Vista vs. security in Windows XP SP2?
Allchin: SP2 was a very good system but compared to Vista, it’s night and day.
CRN: Is there going to be antivirus in Vista?
Allchin: No, there is not.
Allchin: It’s a complicated answer as to why not.
CRN: Was the decision based on technical concerns?
Allchin: It wasn’t technical.
CRN: Will Vista resolve security problems once and for all?
Allchin: I’m not going to claim perfection or near perfection, but I think we’re unrivaled in the work we’ve done.
That last statement could be considered true of any Windows product dating back to the 1980s.
Doesn’t that whole exchange smack of a FEMA director sitting before congress? Or, is it a gangster on trial? Whatever.
Why isn’t the security package built in to Windows Vista?
Because there’s money involved. Big money. There’s a whole industry of software that helps keep Windows running and Microsoft has yet to get involved.
I have no doubt that Windows PC users will swarm to Windows OneCare as a fly swarms to a watermelon on a picnic table. This is a tax they’ll gladly pay because it provides relief.
How does such a tax compare to our annual (or nearly so) Apple Taxes? Look at what Mac users get for the money. Look at what Windows users will get for the money.
No wonder the Mac logo is a happy face.