My take? Well, people still buy nine Windows machines for every Mac. The big reason? As those "laptop hunters" ads say, you get a lot more for your money from a Windows machine (including frustration). And the message appears to be getting through; a year ago, Apple was the No. 3 PC maker in the United States, according to IDC. Now it's slipped to No. 5.
On the other hand, Microsoft can't make a dent in Apple's stranglehold on the portable music market or touch Apple's technology lead in handsets. But worse than that, consumers love Apple the way they love puppies and ice cream. Aside from a handful of apopletic fanboys, people barely tolerate Microsoft. And it's only getting worse. According to VendorRate, Microsoft's customer satisfaction among IT pros dropped like rock over the past three months.
This week at Microsoft's worldwide partner confab in New Orleans, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner threw another jab at Apple, sharing this nifty little anecdote (full transcript):
...two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, "Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices." They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business.
I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, "Is this a joke? Who are you?" Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them.
As PC World's Nick Mediati notes, Apple did drop its prices in early June, making those "laptop hunter" ads a little off target -- the most likely reason Apple's legal beagles gave Turner a jingle. Even at $1,499 instead of $1,799, though, MacBooks still aren't exactly what you would call a steal.