Mac v PC thoughts

The Internets are abuzz with the latest round of shots in the ongoing Mac v PC battle, this time lobbed by Microsoft in an ad that began running Thursday night – a pretty effective one at that.

It’s been funny watching the Mac faithful take arms and begin poking holes in the ad.  This blog on Fortune does an effective job of recapping the issue and that it’s worth the read.

Some of the complaints according to Fortune:

  • “Lauren” is an actress, not the ordinary American shopper the ad claims
  • The Apple Store scene was faked; before-and-after photos suggest that she never actually went into the store to try the computers
  • The $699 HP Pavillion dv7 she chose over a $999 MacBook is a mess. “It is the epitome of what people dislike about PCs,” writes Computerworld‘s Seth Weintraub. “It runs Vista Home on a slow AMD mobile processor . its screen is abysmal . its networking is five years old . it is loaded with crapware and trial antivirus software that will have to be purchased or wiped off the machine.”

I find the first two points pretty funny. First off, “Lauren” may be an actress, just like nearly everyone who appears in commercials is an actor/actress.  Does this make the situation any less realistic? “Lauren” may have actually never gone into the Apple store, but if she did she wouldn’t have found any 17″ laptops under the $1000 range (or perhaps even under the $2000 price range).

As for the third point, if I was in the same situation I would have gone ahead with the Intel processor, which would have likely added $100 to the price, still well below $1000.  I can’t speak to the screen quality, but the networking part is laughable too – haven’t WiFi standards been stagnant for the last five years? You still don’t see N-class networking widely adopted.  As for the crapware and adware, that is an unfortunate reality of PC’s, but crapware can be removed (with tools like Decrapifier) and there are plenty of free antivirus utilities that can be installed.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Macs and I think the OS is beautiful and stylish, but when people talk about buying a Mac, I tell them that buying a Mac for your next computer is essentially the same as saying your next car should be a BMW: They’re well-built, they give a good experience, but people who own them swear by the quality, while people who don’t own them cite the price and see them as a status symbol.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds. I believe Fortune nailed a point when Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky said “This is almost a red-state-blue-state ad.”