1. Initial Cost: X200 MacBook Air Apple "Premium" INITIAL COST 13" laptop (Paralles VM free w/ Mac) $1,373.09 $1,649.00 dock station (PC)/keyboard-airport-cables (Mac) $184.93 $180.00 AC adapter (included w/ Mac) $32.94 $- 3 year extra warranty $300.00 $300.00 $1,890.96 $2,129.00 $238.04 2. 5 year Total Cost of Ownership (Initial Costs + Support Costs): X200 MacBook Air Apple "Premium" INITIAL COST 13" laptop (Paralles VM free w/ Mac) $1,373.09 $1,649.00 dock station (PC)/keyboard-airport-cables (Mac) $184.93 $180.00 AC adapter (included w/ Mac) $32.94 $- 3 year extra warranty $300.00 $300.00 $1,890.96 $2,129.00 $238.04 5 Year Est. Support Costs In-house support: PC (2 calls per year * 2 hrs per call * $100 per hour * 5 years) $2,000.00 In-house support: Mac (one-half of PC, since free, comprehensive hardware & software support all through Apple) $1,000.00 $(1,000.00) 5 Year Total Cost of Ownership $5,781.92 $5,258.00 $(761.96) 3. Quality/Completeness of Phone Support: Note I added 3 year warranty to both the PC and Mac options. Why? It's a no-brainer low-cost investment! We know hard drives and components fail and that we'll need phone support from the manufacturer at least one time over a 3 year period. Also, what happens when you (or I) are not available just when user needs help? She can/should call the manufacturer in a pinch (according to User, this does happen and she places a premium on immediacy of support). Secondly, I submit that Apple support is both better quality in general (they are smarter and better qualified than most support reps). Importantly, Apple supports the ENTIRE product -- hardware and software, whereas we all know that PC hardware manufacturers OFTEN point fingers at Microsoft and blame them while the customer is spending time trying to figure out who's to blame. Also, strangely, Microsoft's operating system license is with/through the hardware vendor, so an end-user has to pay $150 to speak with MS. 4. Amount of In-House Support Required: I'm not saying there will be NO in-house support required for the Mac, but probably less because: (a) better and more complete phone support is available with the 3-year extra support warranty; (b) mac support is for the entire system (hardware + software) and Vivian's iPhone. Real-life examples: a. Web guy came in to install a recently purchased HP printer on User new PC. The HP install script wouldn't work! After 1 hour on the phone with HP support, they "punted" to it being a Dell issue. After being bumped up to a sr. tech at Dell and 3 hours more later, they fixed the problem. They claimed it was a problem between Windows XP and HP's software. Who knows (who cares!), but what should have been "plug and play" cost User few extra hundred dollars! This would never happen with a Mac b/c the hardware and OS are one. b. User's curren ultra-portable was a demo "deal", right? It ran slow and pooped out. Was it MS's fault? The hardware vendor's? How many extra extra in-house support calls were needed to keep it alive and how much EXTRA did that cost to the User? 5. Ease of Use/Quality of Experience: OK, we all know Vista sucks and while XP is simpler, it's not as easy and intuitive to use as a Mac. Why? B/c the hardware and software are one (e.g. why is it that User needs to keep her laptop open while using her external monitor). File management is much simpler (one hard drive and not the "a" through "g" volume crap which confuses backups). Mac's freakin' back themselves up by themselves with TimeMachine! Eventually, when Vista is viable (maybe a year from now), Vista will be more intuitive than XP, but it will never be as seamless with the hardware, by nature. Also, users' computing requirements include mobility to a substantial degree (her iPhone) and the ease of use/simplicity value of one integrated solution - including laptop/OS/Phone - is tremendous. 6. Marketplace trends with laptop purchases: You note below that law firms are not Mac houses (creative is). This is a dated perspective. True, creative firms tend to Macs b/c the software on it is better. But if we look at the entire laptop market, Apple laptop growth is much greater than MS laptops. Part of the reason this is changing is that with Apple's shift to Intel and really good VM options (VMWare and Parallels), Macs run Windows and Windows software extremely well and seamlessly (I know, I use VMWare and PC software on my Mac, when necessary and it works fast and flawlessly).
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