Each Sunday I scour the newspaper ads and find PC prices going lower and lower.
Last week I saw a desktop system with monitor for $399. Now there’s a notebook for $99.
Where will this silly attempt to drive prices through the floor end? Who is buying these machines?
CNet News is reporting the first $99 notebook from retailer giant Circuit City. Why is this happening?
More importantly, will we ever see a truly discount priced Mac?
As to why and how a retailer can sell a $99 notebook it’s obvious. Insanity. The whole process is insane.
Competition between retailers such as Circuit City, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Staples, Office Depot, CompUSA and others requires cut-throat pricing.
To be fair, the $99 notebook is an HP Compaq reported by Black Friday, an ad watching service.
The price tag is misleading, as you might expect of big box retailers. In this case, the notebook PC would sell for $299 after a bunch of special rebates.
The $99 price tag comes when you also agree to a 12-month subscription to Vonage, the Voice-Over-IP folks.
I’m half expecting that there’s not even a battery included at that price, rebates notwithstanding.
Perhaps it’s pedal driven, like a tricycle.
Don’t expect this machine to be a screamer or a favorite among gamers or anyone with half a brain.
The Circuit City $99 notebook comes with an Intel Celeron CPU, half a gig of RAM, a 15-inch display, and a 60 gigabyte hard drive.
I can only image how many useless or unncessary and extra cost applications are stuck on that hard drive.
This isn’t a case of a good manufactuer building a good product that smart customers will buy because, well, it’s a good deal.
Anti-virus software makers, AOL, Vonage, and a host of Windows groupies actually pay money to help lower the price of the PCs.
They feed on the unsuspecting and less knowledgeable at the bottom of the computer using Bell Curve.
That kind of incessant competition drives down prices and creates throwaway items out of the cheapest manufactured PCs, notebook or desktop.
At $99, a MacBook costs about $1,000 more than the Circuit City notebook in question. There’s little question you get more for the money.
You also get less. There’s no anti-virus, anti-spyware software to dispose of.
Those 127 other applications that are stuck in and around and under and in Windows XP? Nope. Don’t get that kind of cruft on a Mac.
HP now tops Dell among major computer manufactuers, and both are offering heavy discounts to prevent more market share losses.
Meanwhile, Apple coasts along with the highest margins in the industry, and growing sales to former Windows PC users.
Should Apple compete at the low end and increase market share? Why should they?
Apple’s Mac market share is growing, sales are growing, profits are growing, and Apple’s customers are among the most satisfied in the computer arena.
Don’t misunderstand my concerns or desires in this personal bag of mixed emotions regarding discount prices.
On one hand, I’d love to be able to buy a Mac mini for, say, $199. On the other hand, I remember the old sales strategy of Price, Quality, Service—Pick any two.
Would you buy a $99 notebook or a $299 desktop, both running Windows XP and subsidized by AOL, Vonage, and anti-virus gimmicks?