Monday, March 23, 2009


So I posted a lengthy response to a news item/blog post about a Steve Ballmer comment about the '$500 Apple Fashion Tax.' I took umbrage and concocted this:

Here's the link for the story. I don't know why it rankled me so but here was my response, printed on my own blog for when it gets lost in the sea of pro Mac fanboyism. I can't believe I didn't put 'FIRST POST' on it. That would have been flamebait.

In the interest of full disclosure: I have a Mac laptop for work/mobile screwing off and a PC running Vista for gaming. I am a firm believer in the right tools for the right job, and I wouldn't be caught dead with a desktop I couldn't upgrade myself (iMac). Also, I think I may like vi better than emacs. Still not sure though.

With that said...

1997 called and it wants its argument back. The standard, demeaning concession 'oh they're great for video/recording music' is so hackneyed and tired. Its like saying the only place one sees a large collection of Mac laptops are on the campuses of expensive art colleges. Have you ever covered RailsConf in your lengthy tenure as a journalist/computer enthusiast?

I assume you've never developed a piece of code in your life, only written about computers in enthusiast fashion for the past 20 years. If you had you'd see the difference in a heartbeat.

Let me put it to you this way. When I began work at an insurance company doing software development they gave me a corporate issue Dell and let me spend my time configuring it. While I was doing that, for 10 hours on my first day of work, I opened up my personal Mac, and started doing development through progress bars, one click installers and constant restarts.

Even if the things you say about price comparison are true today, that zealots are paying $500 for a logo. In that case, lets say I'm a software consultant, and not a paid corporate schlep. If I was billing the typical rate of $150 an hour, the 8 hours I just wasted getting my box ready for real live, big boy development would have COST me $700.

Finally, try building out one of Dell's professional Precision workstations, do all the upgrades to get it to the price of the base model Mac Pro and see what you come up with. I end up with $100 more, and I didn't even include antivirus software. Dell won't let me link the customized model, otherwise I would have. When the Mac Pro first came out I did the same comparison with the 8 core Mac Pro (when that was the base model) and the Dell ended up being $1300 more at the time.

The individual components when customizing on the Apple website scale more cheaply than Dell in most cases, but I guess that would have been too much work to actually look.

I may have drank the Mac kool-aid sir, but looking at your curriculum vitae, it looks like you sold your soul to Gates and Ballmer long before I even took sides on this most ridiculous of arguments.

Ugh. I can't believe I wasted that much time concocting that reply. I didn't even go into the TCO arguments that are always bandied around. It just struck me as old and outdated the arguments he was using, and to buy the party line from Ballmer himself is pretty damn stupid.

Its like they say "Winning an argument on the internet is like winning the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still retarded." Ooh, what did I just say? Am I going to have to issue an apology like Obama now?