Microsoft: Notebook PCs Still Better Value Than MacBooks

In an apparent bid to stifle the buzz around the new MacBooks, Microsoft has published a chart with the headline "After the Mac Refresh ... PCs are STILL a better value". According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the chart "was distributed to folks who closely follow Apple announcements" and "represents just a few examples of what you can get today."

Originally spotted by Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Joseph Tartakoff, the comparison chart compares each of the three MacBook Pro lines with notebook PCs with similar features from Dell and HP. In all cases, the notebook PCs are between $400 and $550 cheaper than their MacBook counterparts.

"The economy is impacting consumer choices, but Macs, due to their high upfront, won't sell in a more conservative market," the Microsoft spokesperson said in an email. "You can get a PC laptop with a bigger hard drive, more RAM, a media card reader, more USB ports, and a bigger screen, for much less than a Mac."

But some solution providers are wondering why Microsoft is playing the price card at a time when it has been getting a largely positive reception to its latest 'I'm a PC ads', which respond to Apple -- obliquely but effectively -- by showing how people are utilizing PCs in a number of real world scenarios.

Sponsored post

"I don't think the message resonates, because Apple has certainly never been playing on price," said Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolve Technologies, a Fairfax, Va.-based Microsoft Gold partner. "In fact, it almost runs counter to the new ad campaign, which talks about how there's a world of people out there that use PCs, and which I think is a great message."

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, is also surprised to see Microsoft comparing PCs notebooks to Macs notebooks in terms of price. "PC notebooks have been under $1,000 for years. It's understandable that Apple has everyone freaked out, but this seems like the wrong approach for Microsoft to take," he said.

However, some solution providers believe the price argument is one that Microsoft needs to continue making, particularly since Macs still lag behind PCs in the business world.

"Macs still don't have key enterprise applications like Outlook, Visio, and Project, and while using an emulator works, what is the point if you spend all day in those apps plus Office?" said John Eaton, president of Eaton and Associates, a San Francisco-based solution provider that partners with Microsoft and Apple.