Everything you can buy is a rip-off

The Macalope has had a good chuckle at the meat-heads who like to say that Microsoft’s inability to ship a real operating system update for five years is a feature, but the Test Bed’s Emil Larsen — if his whimsically entitled piece “OS X is a rip-off” is to be taken seriously — must be the gristle of head meats.

This is the extent to which Emil covers the features Apple released in every update of OS X:

Apple, on the other hand, charged for OS X updates; sure they had new features – DVD playback, better CD/DVD writing capabilities and interface goodies like gui dpi control, but with v10.1 Apple had the cheek to charge for CD burning and only a minority of people took advantage of v10.3’s “fast user switching”…

Uh, Quartz? FileVault? Safari? iChat? Dashboard? Exposé? Spotlight? Smart Folders? Automator?

Any of those ringing a bell?

Many of those are features you can only now get on Windows by upgrading to Vista and you could have had them a year and half ago when Tiger came out. Earth to Larsen: that’s worth something.

Helloooooo? Anybody home?

Nope. Looks like Larsen must have stepped off the planet.

Larsen’s basis of comparison is looking at each release of OS X, adding up what each cost and then comparing it the price of Vista Home Premium. This is really not comparing apples to apples (no pun intended). Vista Home Premium, for example, can’t be used in a domain/AD-based LAN and OS X can. But, the Macalope is willing to spot him that particular point.

He’s not willing to spot him some other assumptions, however. For instance, how many people really bought Cheetah? The Macalope did, but ran it purely experimentally. It frankly was not ready for prime time and shipped so Apple could say that it shipped OS X. Puma was the first usable version (although most people probably didn’t convert until Jaguar shipped). So, a more realistic comparison is to add the price for Puma, Jaguar, Panther and Tiger for a total of $516 U.S.

Vista Home Premium’s suggested retail price is $159 (note: the Macalope is using suggested retail prices for both operating systems instead of Larsen’s trick of using suggested retail prices for OS X and discounted prices for Vista). If you’re still stupid enough to believe Larsen’s thesis that it’s not worth something to get a feature sooner rather than later then OS X is about 3 times more expensive than Windows. On planet Stupid.

So, advantage Windows!

Well, no.

If not having features to actually use is somehow itself a feature, then two can play at that game.

Because it’s not like Apple held a gun to your head and forced you to upgrade. You could have simply bought Puma (or Jaguar) and not upgraded again until Tiger. Then OS X is only 1.6 times as expensive as Windows. Or, you could have not bought anything and simply continued to use OS 9.2! Or 8.5! Or 7.1! Or a slide rule with the Mac OS smiley face drawn on it!

Advantage Mac!

Conversely, by Larsen’s logic Microsoft could never release another version of Windows again and be infinitely more cost-effective than the Mac!

Advantage Windows!


Do the people at the Test Bed know that if they don’t have any good material they can just not post that day?

  • Essentially, by using Windows, they are PAYING ME to not have certain features. Cool! Well, until this week.

  • Ignis Fatuusz:

    First of all (if memory serves), I don’t believe there was a charge for 10.1…it was a free update for anyone already using 10.0…so that point is wrong.

    Secondly, this guy assumes that 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, etc….are bug-fix updates. They’re not…they’re full, feature-rich OS releases. Just because Apple is using decimals doesn’t mean they’re just incremental updates (I suspect that’s a marketing/branding thing on Apple’s part).

    For cryin’ out loud…if you’re gonna try to spin the facts, at least do a little homework. Geez.

  • I can’t wait for the next version of Windows to not be introduced. All those new features I’m not paying for will help me boost my Apple stock holding.

    Waiter. Check please.

  • brock:

    This guy obviously forgot that you must now buy a powerful new PC to be able to use all the Vista goodies.

    Now, what about that expensive Apple hardware? Oh, thanks Microsoft for leveling the playing field…hahahahaha

  • Simon:

    Ignis Fatuusz: I suspect that’s a marketing/branding thing on Apple’s part

    Well, it’s that or ship Mac OS XI.

  • jbelkin:

    What I find HEE-larious on the Win side is MS’ gall to sell you an service pack and later a yearly service contract to patch all the virus and malware holes from the ORIGINAL PRODUCT. That’s like Ford selling you a $99 service charge to change out your rear Firestone tires … Of course, there’s something else Win users don’t get – each OSX version actually made that older Mac with an updated system run faster unlike Pc’s where if you go from NT to XP, it would run slower … they just don’t get it nor will they believe it – sad for them.

  • MacRae:

    Roughly Drafted Tech did a comparison back in august showing that keeping Windows up to date and protected costed 5x as much as keeping up and upgrading his Mac since 2000.


  • TjL:

    typo – “ugraded” (I realize it’s difficult to type with hooves, so feel free to delete this comment once it is fixed.)

  • Roberto:

    “This guy obviously forgot that you must now buy a powerful new PC to be able to use all the Vista goodies.”

    Even that may not be enough…..

  • That post reads like it was written by my kid brother. If I had a kid brother, and he was British. I love how the conclusion begins with “My point is” and ends with an ellipsis. What a punch!

    Tho I agree that OS X is an expensive regular upgrade, it’s either worth or not worth it depending on who you are and if you like having the world’s most advanced operating system. Ellipsis.

  • Rus:

    Kind of stated above with the “Roughly Drafted reference”:

    The real cost of Windows has never been the retail price of Windows itself … it’s the virus software, virus removal, productivity loss due to slow systems (caused by viruses).

    I would say that he’s somewhat right and somewhat wrong:

    I would group 10.0-10.2 together


    10.3-10.4.8 together

    Either way, it’s FAR less than any Windows user has spent on quality virus maintenance.

  • Ken:

    Just to be fair here, you have to buy a new mac every once in awhile, too. 10.4 is simply not happy on an AGP G4, much less a Blue/White G3. Everyone’s harping on the hardware upgrade cost, and forgetting the “USB on board” or “firewire on board” requirements. And if you think Leopard is going to run all of its eye candy on [i]anything[/i] G4 based, you’re out of your skull.

    That said, I’m a Mac guy, down to the core. But we have to be somewhat realistic if we’re going to win any arguments!

  • ssp:

    I hardly am an apologist for Apple’s rip off pricing. But to make the comparison fair, it should be mentioned that the _advantage_ of having to buy a new copy of the full OS instead of upgrading is that when you buy your second upgrade you can just sell the first one. And if you are buying your upgrades early-adopter-ish, you can still get about half the price by selling your old version – even after the rip-off charges at amazon or ebay. At least that’s what I did… still doesn’t make OS X free, but makes justifying the upgrade easier.

  • Dhrakar:

    One thing that also seems to get lost in the mix is there is much more to each update than just what the user sees. Things like fine-grained locking in the Mach kernel, vastly improved tools, rewrites to the networking subsystem, improvements to the various *kits. Not to mention things like CoreImage, CoreData and CoreAnimation. Heck, Apple even included a light-weight SQL database with every copy of Tiger. It’s built-in.
    My point is that Apple continues to make great strides in improving and updating all of the various parts of OS X with each version. You as a user might not see all of these improvements but, by golly, they sure make a difference and should not be discounted as ‘just the geeky details’.

  • Gary Patterson:

    A lot of trolls get caught up on the point-naming scheme Apple use. To them, 10.4 is a bug-fix upgrade from 10.3, so they post about how wrong it is for Apple to charge for the patch.

    Arguments about features, new frameworks, overwhelming new revisions to the entire OS are lost on these trolls, and are barely worth trying.

    They forget, though, that WinXP has the internal version “NT v5.1”, and Win2K has the internal version “NT v5.0”

    Hmm… seems some people shouldn’t throw stones, considering they live in glass houses.

  • Its just like everything else nowdays is a ripoff, just like shipping when you order from companies, this is the same as stealing from people.

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