For some reason humans love to compare and contrast. We do it with everything. We have Top 10 Lists for everything; movies, music, TV shows.
We compare cars, restaurants, religions, philosophy, diets, and botox. One age old question which remains an arguing point for many is, “Which is cheaper, Macs or PCs?”
Everyone knows the answer already, right? Ask any person on the street who knows the difference between Macs and PCs and about 90-percent of them will tell you the same thing, “PCs are cheaper than Macs.” Or, put another way, “Macs are more expensive than PCs?”
What brings up such a stupid topic again and again? Blame it on Computerworld and writer Eric Lai this time, in another sordid, twisted, and corrupt article about how much more expensive Macs are than PCs.
The real problem here isn’t the price differential between Mac and PC. We can argue that until the cows come home and leave again, and not much will be resolved. The real problem is an article designed to attract web site hits instead of providing insightful analysis.
In other words, arguments like Mac vs. PC get grabber headlines because it gets more web pages hits, which means, for Computerworld and other online publications which engage in such abhorrent emotion mongering and profiteering, more ads, which means more revenue.
It’s a controversy without end. Why? People seem to like to engage in such controversy. Macs have been the underdogs for decades, and, like any good underdog, we Mac owners and users are used to a good scrap.
In an attempt to feign a nonpartisan, balanced view of the Mac vs. PC controversy, Computerworld’s Lai examines the low, middle, and high end of the Mac line and compares some features while ignoring others.
Balanced is good, right? Not so fast, grasshopper. Accuracy is better, and that’s the problem with such comparisons. It’s nearly impossible to be balanced because there are so many variables, each of which weighs differently for different buyers and users.
First, let’s get this straight. Without a question, PCs are cheaper than Macs. You can always buy a Windows PC for less money than any Mac. There. Settled, right?
So, we’re talking hardware, huh? I guess so. After all, isn’t that what a computer is? It’s hardware? If not, what is it? As Bill Clinton said, “It depends on what you mean by ‘it’”
My Lexus is more expensive than my husband’s Ford Mustang. Are Mustang’s cheaper? Is a Lexus better? See the problem? The argument becomes granular in a hurry.
I can understand flaccid, inept, 90-second arguments such as Mac vs. PC on television. There’s not much time to get a point across, so the basic point is thick and the supporting substance is thin.
To an extent, I can understand the same problem with newspapers and magazines. Paper costs money, and lengthy, detailed analysis takes up space, so, though headlines might still be grabbers, usually there’s a little more substance and analysis going on in print medium.
How about the web? How about web sites such as Computerworld. Web pages don’t cost much. Surely we can get more detailed analysis, insight, and thought provoking considerations from the Eric Lai’s of the digital world, right?
Instead, we get so-called “balanced reporting” with a gabber headline, “Analysts: Mac buyers still pay more than PC buyers for same hardware ‘guts’.”
It’s both true and false at the same time. Why? Because it depends, and it also depends on what you mean by “it.”
Pound for pound is there much difference between my Lexus and my husband’s Mustang? Engine, seats, paint, bumpers, transmission, stereo, wheels, tires, windows.
At a very base level there’s not much difference at all, but my Lexus cost more than the Mustang. What do I mean by cost? See? We’re right back to Computerworld’s grabber headline and shallow consideration of the issue.
Cost means a lot more to those who actually think with their brains than mere price. Over the years, the cost of my Lexus is actually less than the cost of my husband’s Mustang.
Why? My Lexus just doesn’t break, doesn’t cause me problems, and I get a loaner car when it goes in for service, and the resale value of Lexus vs. almost anything from Ford is remarkable.
So it is with Mac vs. PC, and cost vs. price. Macs, hardware only, with features as similar as you can get, seem to be priced higher than comparable PC hardware. But that doesn’t discuss, and Computerworld and PC mongers never discuss it, the actual cost of owning the product.
Cost and price are not the same thing. Generally speaking, in that regard, and in my experience and that of countless others, Macs cost less than PCs.
Cost of ownership, Mac vs. PC, is seldom discussed in the trade media. Why? It’s subjective and difficult to pin down. Why? There are too many variables, everyone’s experience is different.
So why don’t we see more articles from Computerworld regarding the total cost of ownership, Mac vs. PC, instead of the multi-page drivel that passes as analysis by analysts?
Water flows downhill. It’s just easier to toss up a flame-baiting grabber headline to stoke an ages old controversy than it is to put some effort into the substance of computer ownership. Cheaper doesn’t matter. Cost does.