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Mac laptops cost twice as much as PC laptops

So this one is sure to draw some fire. I should note that in my own experiences shopping for notebooks (and yes, I did recently buy a Macbook), Macs are definitely more expensive than PCs. However, I’ve never seen the 100 percent markup described here by Joe Wilcox:

On Saturday, Aug. 2, I got to wondering about Mac versus Windows PC pricing after seeing two HP notebooks on sale at the local Target. One of them, a 14-inch model, the HP DV2946NR, sold for $699.99 and packed 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive. Capacity for both features is twice that of the $1,299 MacBook—and shared graphics is 356MB compared with a meager 144MB for the MacBook. I wondered: If Vista notebooks are selling for so little and packing so much, how does this compare with Mac desktops and notebooks?

Today I contacted Stephen Baker, NPD's vice president of industry analysis, about computer average selling prices at retail. That HP notebook is right on mark: ASP for retail Windows notebooks is $700. Mac laptops: $1,515. Yeah, right, they're more than twice as much. But there's more: The ASP for Mac desktops is more than $1,000 greater than for Windows PCs, and Mac desktop ASPs were higher in June than they were two years ago.

Apple's share gains, while impressive, are still tiny compared with the Windows PC market. Price is likely one of the major barriers. Consider how much hardware-heftier is the HP DV2946NR compared with the MacBook, for a considerably lower price. Apple's higher starting prices eliminate many budget buyers ... Windows Vista PCs have been selling with modest marketing support. But Microsoft is about to launch, in earnest, a $300 million Vista marketing campaign. Real advertising should have real sales effects—and Vista desktops and notebooks sell for less than do Macs.

In the past, I have defended Apple's pricing, because when comparing Macs and Windows PCs of similar price the hardware features were about the same. That situation has dramatically changed in the last six months, particularly the last three months.

What I like about this argument, to be honest, is that it describes exactly the same market that the iCabal uses to pump up the sales figures for their favorite platform: The US retail market. But I have to wonder: Is the price differential really that high? Another point to ponder: Even with nearly identical interiors, do you get what you pay for? The Macbook I have is high quality. But the HP notebook mentioned above is a piece of junk. I’d never go near the thing (and I like most HP products otherwise).

Thanks Joe R.

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