Microsoft has sponsored a white paper looking at the higher price of Mac computers as part of an ongoing campaign against Apple on the basis of cost.
What price cool? was written by Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, and asserts that Macs are more expensive to purchase initially and come with higher running costs. This means that Apple users pay $3,367 (£2,258) more than PC users over a five-year period, according to the paper.
"The biggest tax is, of course, the hardware. But the software re-buy, which is less evident, is pretty important," wrote Kay.
"It's zero on the Windows side, because most XP programs work in Vista and will continue to work in Windows 7. The Mac side, however, is pretty pricy because the [users] have to buy a lot of expensive software - more than $1,000 [£670] worth - just to do the things they're used to doing. But upgrades and service fees also widen the gap between the two worlds over time."
However, the figures have been described as biased by some in the industry for making overly onerous use of Apple upgrades.
For example, Kay includes a $99 (£66) upgrade of iLife after three years, which is not mandatory, and the full costs for Apple's MobileMe option when savvy users could be using free services that give the same functionality.
The costing chart also omits the lack of malware that targets Apple computers, meaning that PC users have to pay more for security and the clean up of infected machines.
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