Total Cost of Ownership

Posted in Spritely by Dimitri on March 17, 2010
According to this article, IT departments are discovering that it costs less to keep Macs running than Windows.
A friend of mine, Kai Rasmussen, had the following to say regarding his company’s experience with it.

I was just talking to our Operations/IT guy and he is trying to get our SMT to sign off on dumping Dell for Apple laptops exclusively for development. It turns out that the Apple laptops are hundreds of dollars cheaper, have better warrantees and support, and have overall better specs then the HP or Dell enterprise/development laptops.

I’ve noticed something similar, even in the consumer laptops. Once you consider the cost of the upgrades that most users take anyway, most of the time I advise people on a computer purchase they end up spending around $1000 for a laptop anyway.
Even if a machine with a similar spec to a Macbook has a base price of $700, adding “the usual” to it brings it up to $1000.
Let’s take a Dell Studio as an example. To get it to be similar to the base MacBook (added bluetooth, a better battery, a 3 year warranty, etc).
Before Office, the price came to $900.
Office Home (no Outlook) brings the price to $1012.
If you want Outlook the price goes to $1170.
Add MacAffee (stupid, I know, but assuming you just want your PC to work without viruses) brings the total to $1261.
A MacBook with AppleCare and iWork comes to $1291.
So just getting it home, the price typically comes within 10% – 15% of the purchase price. Just considering the cost of Spyware/Adware/Virus removal, plus the cost of “my Windows stopped booting, let me get the neighborhood kid in here to fix it” you can easily rack up more than that cost in the next 3 years.
Of course, the big exceptions come when you look at the low-end and high-end of the PC selection. Without software, you can buy a PC laptop for $400. It’s not a good laptop, but it does exist. On the high-end, configuring a PC to match the 17″ MacBook Pro is likely going to cost half what that premium product does.
As an aside, my experience in living near an Apple store has been amazing. Something breaks in software, just bring in your computer and they fix it on the spot, for free. If something breaks in hardware, they ship it off for you and ship it back to your house within the week. It’s free if you are in the first year or have Apple Care. A friend of mine recently got her MacBook Pro fixed for free (motherboard replaced) even though she had been out of AppleCare for over a year. Either the Apple employee was breaking the rules, or she was under some sort of Apple recall. Either way, the experience was fairly painless.
And with her Time Machine backup, she was able to restore her computer right back to where she was when she got the repaired one home. Ask an everyday computer user how to do that with a PC, and you’ll likely get a blank stare.

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