PC vs. Mac - Round 2: Myth-busting Apple's commercials - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

Posted by Ray Majoran

Mac vs. PC CommericalsThanks to everyone for all of the feedback in Round 1. Although I’m not converting back to Mac anytime soon, there were some great cases made for both Mac and PC. A special thanks to my friend dybenks (who works at Apple) for providing links to some relevant articles. As Andrew noted in his post last Thursday, it’s always helpful to have constructive feedback.

That said, as more ministries and non-profits look to make the right decision when it comes to their computer environment, the question of Mac vs. PC always seems to come up. Through Apple’s recent string of humorous ads and TV commercials, they are making a strong case for Windows users to convert to Apple. But are their advertisements truthful, or do they simply play on the emotion of the consumer?

[Interlude: There is a cell phone company here in Canada that has one of the best marketing campaigns in the country. Their use of playful animals in a consistently branded platform has made their campaign one of the most ingenious campaigns ever. (Click here to view some of their commercials.) But anyone in Canada (specifically Ontario) that uses Telus knows that they have the worst coverage out of all the networks. When I asked a few of my friends why they chose Telus, their typical response was: “Their commercials were really cool and their phones/contracts were well priced.” When I asked them if they wish they’d gone with another provider (that didn’t drop every other call), their typical response was, “Yes, but I’m locked into a contract.”]

Consider a few Apple advertisements from 2008:

  • The “Really Fast” iPhone Commercial: This commercial features the iPhone browsing through the web at lightning speed. Digging deeper: Although it would be nice if the iPhone could really browse the web that fast, it can’t. As a result, the ASA in the UK banned the commercial from all of its networks.
  • Apple’s Claim in various advertisements that “MacBooks support "millions of colors." Digging deeper: The only problem with this claim is that the MacBooks LCD screens are 6-bit TN models, only allowing for only 262,144 colors. A true 8-bit display would support "millions of colors", however, Apple chose to scrap the 8-bit display in favor of a cheaper 6 bit one, despite the high cost of Macs. As a result, they were sued.
  • The Bean Counter Commercial: This commercial implies that Microsoft is spending a ridiculous amount of money in advertising verses the amount of money that it spends on R&D (research and development). Digging deeper: Well, according to both company’s 2007 fiscal reports, the numbers are as follows:

    Apple (Financial Report):

    Net Sales: $24.006 Billion
    Advertising: $467 Million
    R&D: $782 Million
    Net Income (Profit): $3.9 Billion

    Microsoft (Financial Report):

    Net Sales: $51.122 Billion
    Advertising: $1.33 Billion
    R&D: $7.121 Billion
    Net Income (Profit): $14.065 Billion

    Both companies spend a considerable amount of money on R&D and advertising, but if you do the math, for every $1 of sales, Apple spends 1.9 cents on advertising and 3.3 cents on R&D. By comparison, for every $1 of sales, Microsoft spends 2.6 cents on advertising and 13.9 cents on R&D. Although Microsoft spends 0.7 cents per dollar more on advertising, they actually spend five times more than Apple on R&D. But didn’t the Apple commercial imply that Microsoft wasn’t spending enough on R&D? My point exactly.

There are a number of other Apple advertisements that we could dig deeper on, but for the sake of not writing a book, I will leave it at that. In the defense of Apple, I will also say that we could imply the exact same methodology against Microsoft. My point is – just because a company throws up a comedy of commercials and advertisements; don’t simply jump on the bandwagon. Do the research. Talk to professionals on both sides. Determine if you have people within your organization that can support a new operating system. Don’t just assume that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

As a person that has used both Apple and Windows, I am giving you my opinion – and it’s just that; an opinion. Many of the things that I’ve tried to do on an Apple, I find out that I can’t do… for me, that’s frustrating. Similarly for an Apple user, there are tools that they live by that are only available on a Mac. At the end of the day, it’s a major decision – a decision that (like the Telus example), you will have to live with for an extended period of time. For many Apple users, they are happy they made that decision. As a former Apple user, I’m happy I made the decision to go back to Windows.