Richard Bucker

Total Cost of Ownership - Apple, MicroSoft, Google

Posted at — Nov 11, 2014

I constantly struggle with the cost of my hardware and software choices. I also struggle with the cost of quality, reliability and support of the hardware. And finally I struggle with the quality, features, and cost of the software.HardwareIn reality, when comparing the cost of Apple hardware to equivalent hardware from Dell, HP, Sony, or Lenovo - the cost is very close. Dell and HP might be a little less expensive, however, Sony and Lenovo can actually cost more. Please keep in mind I’m also comparing hardware component quality, features, reliability, support; so you will not see me compare Acer or Packard Bell.SoftwareSince MicroSoft does not have anything except it’s software in it’s catalog it has to sell it’s operating system as the product. In order to receive premium dollars it has to create a catalog of versions with varying levels of features and support. The last time I purchased an OEM Windows disk it cost me about $125 for the home edition and $250 for the pro. Furthermore Microsoft does a full upgrade every 18 - 24 months. And if you consider the amount of bundle-ware that the manufacturers provide (which is a revenue center for them); the number of BSOD (blue screen of death); reformats; viruses…Once you have purchased an Apple device it’s operating system upgrade are free until the machine reaches end of life. Many years ago Apple charged $25 for an upgrade but it’s free now. The extra ordinary news is that I have two laptops that are about 5 years old and only one is EOL and cannot be upgraded.ConclusionIf you consider any premium dollars you might have spent to purchase an Apple computer and the ongoing cost of maintenance then the cost of an Apple computer is close to it’s peers if not better than most. It’s also trivial to put a price on user experience which Apple wins hand’s down.I like Google but I cannot compare them to Apple or MS.  The hardware is the lowest commodity hardware a person could purchase. In many cases the fit and finish is a little substandard reducing productivity below any meaningful level. It also requires that the user be online in order to take full advantage of the connectivity. I like my ChromeBox and ChromeBook but I cannot replace my MacBook Air with a ChromeBook. It’s just not up to the intended use-case.As a footnote; The integration and style of the other apple products like the iPhone, iPad, watch, Apple TV are so spot on as to appear to be a seamless joint. The counterparts from MicroSoft and Google are still rough around the edges. And while someone once said “once in a while you have to purchase the underdog product to keep the competition going” I’m not certain we’re there yet.