Last week I looked at how businesses are taking a hard look at their current machines and wondering what to do next. More than just a Mac vs. PC post, many commented on how MS left the door open or that Jobs is a dope. Today we’ll look at actual cost comparisons for both hardware and software. Can a case be made to switch? Is Apple moving from a B2C model to a B2B one? I’ll avoid the question of should they.
Much has been written about this, so I’ll not reinvent the wheel. Here are some points made by folks way smarter than I:
Scot Finnie of Computerworld wrote:
The main point I was trying to make is that when you compare Macs with comparably equipped Windows PCs, sometimes Macs beat Windows PCs in the price/performance comparison. Sometimes Windows PCs beat Macs. Overall, there’s relative parity.
Chris Kerins of myfirstmac.com says:
“When you can get an even comparison, you’ll find that sometimes the Mac comes out ahead and sometimes the PC comes out ahead. What that means to me is for the time being, price really isn’t the issue people seem to make it. Yes, Apple used to have significantly higher priced products, but especially since switching to Intel, they are in the same ballpark as the PC. After reading all the comparisons on the web that I have, I’m calling it a draw.”
Ok, so hardware seems to be somewhat of a non starter. So if the deciding factor is software, there has to be at least two components: cost and usability.
Getting more business-specific Graham Yellowley, director of technology services at investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, explains it is not just about cost of a machine, it is everything that goes along with it, in short: software.He said:
“There would have to be a seismic shift in total cost of ownership to force a number of companies to jump from PC to Mac. The cost of transition is another barrier to wholesale change.”
From the same article, Alan Shrimpton, head of IS at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said:
“Many of our applications are mandated on us by existing national contracts and they are all based on a Windows desktop. However, from a personal perspective, if I didn’t have that constraint then I would certainly want to look at all of my desktop options including Apple Macs.”
Here is where things get interesting and is really the meat of the debate, at least for me. A family member of mine work in a IT help desk arena and I am always astonished at the horror stories from PC users who just can’t “get it”. The training doesn’t stick, they call far too much, they lie about reboots…it goes on and on. So the big question to me is, are Macs as easy to use as the now ubiquitous iPod. Put another way, if Apple can bowl over everyone by making tech so simple, can they repeat it in a Mac vs. PC scenario?
Jacqueline Emigh, writing for CIO.com offers up this quote as to proof why the Help Desk will get fewer calls:
“Even little children are able to use Macs. A kid can open up ‘Johnny’s folder,’ and there are Johnny’s little docs and applications,” says Roger Kay, president of market intelligence firm Endpoint Technologies.
To rebuke that article, Lynn Greiner also in CIO.com refutes the Mac with fear of incompatible sites and software and writes:
The Apple world has been becoming less insular each year, and the Mac market share has been growing. But right now, it hasn’t quite achieved that critical mass that will make it an economical choice for mainstream business.
There are lots more examples of why to escape to a Mac from PCland, thanks to PC’s dominance. It is the classic the grass is always greener. But look at this fact, wander into an Apple store and head over the kids section. Watch the kids hog the Macs playing games and word puzzles. Just playing. Now hop to Staples, see anyone playing? Heck, see anyone smiling? Something is going on there and it has everything to do with usability.
More questions than answers?
So with that, readers what do you see tipping the scales to make you stay on the PC side or swing over the Mac side? Is it being happy with what a PC does today? Is it too big a task to change over for too little benefit? Are the costs out of whack in my references above? Give us your thoughts.
Prepare for next Thursdays: Mac vs. PC in the mobile market: who do you want at your side?
Here is a joke I found funny:
“Apple vs. Microsoft”
Three Microsoft engineers and three Apple employees are traveling by train to a computer conference. At the station, the three Microsoft engineers each buy tickets and watch as the three Apple employees buy only a single ticket. “How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?” asks a Microsoft engineer. “Watch and you’ll see,” answers the Apple employee. They all board the train. The Microsoft engineers take their respective seats, but all three Apple employees cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, “Ticket, please.” The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes the ticket and moves on.
The Microsoft engineers saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the Microsoft engineers decide to do the same on the return trip and save some money. When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the Apple employees don’t buy any ticket, at all. “How are you going to travel without a ticket?” asks one perplexed Microsoft engineer. “Watch and you’ll see,” answers an Apple employee. When they board the train the three Microsoft engineers cram into a restroom and the three Apple employees cram into another one nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the Apple employees leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the Microsoft engineers are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, “Ticket, please…”