How to avoid the Apple tax?

Paul Tansom paul at
Wed Aug 29 10:43:08 UTC 2007

** Ari Torhamo <ari.torhamo at> [2007-08-29 10:34]:
> ke, 2007-08-29 kello 07:44 +0200, Mario Vukelic kirjoitti:
> > On Tue, 2007-08-28 at 20:24 -0500, Brad Johnson wrote:
> > > There is more than enough precedent on Google alone for using the
> > > phrase "Windows Tax" in this manner.
> > 
> > Newsflash: something can still be stupid even if many people say it.
> As I understand it, Microsoft tax means that when you buy a (compatible)
> PC, you are forced to pay Microsoft for the Windows operating system too
> - wether you need it or not. It's also called 'tax' because nowadays in
> developed countries we are nearing the situation were people are
> supposed to own a computer - like a phone.
> The situation is exactly the same when you buy an Apple computer. You
> are forced to pay for their operating system - wether you need it or
> not. I understand that the fact that Apple is smaller may make you think
> that it's somehow different in this regard. But where's the difference?
> The two players share the market and collect the tax.
> Or maybe I'm just stupid too :-)
** end quote [Ari Torhamo]

OK, I've managed to resist posting to this thread so far, but I'm going
to give in to temptation and post.

To my mind Apple is perfectly entitled to sell its product in whatever
form it chooses, with or without an OS. It is their decision and it is
not up to me or anyone else to dictate how they define their product. Is
anyone insisting that Ford should sell their cars without seats so you
can choose to fit some nice comfortable sports seats in instead of the
standard ones?

This logic can follow on to PC manufacturers like Dell who can choose to
define their product to be a bare PC or a PC complete with OS of their
choosing if they so wish. They are choosing to create a product to the
specification they think will sell - if you don't like the specification
then don't buy the product, just don't insist that they should change it
to suite you. Fine, you can ask if they will sell a modified product,
but if they choose not to that is their choice - do not restrict their
freedom to define what their company sells.

Where the TAX issue comes in, as I see it, is when Dell (or any other PC
manufacturer) is restricted from selling a PC without Windows because of
the restrictions placed on it by Microsoft (or anyone else for that
matter). Whilst on one hand they are free to choose to sign such a
contract to get a better price if they choose, the market dominance of
Microsoft Windows means that Microsoft can pretty much dictate terms
because it would be akin to commercial suicide for Dell (or etc.) not to
be able to sell a PC with Windows - hence the use of the term TAX.

Of course all this rests on the assumption that they are forced to pay
for a Windows license whether it is included or not, and although I've
seen plenty of speculation on this I can't remember seeing cast iron
evidence of it - although there is enough circumstantial evidence to
make people pretty sure this is the case!

Since Apple create both parts of the product - hardware and OS - and
there is no third party forcing them to do so I don't see the term TAX
applying - they are choosing to define a product that they sell, no
third party is forcing them to do anything with a restrictive contract.

Of course one of the problems that often gets ignored is the fact that
the large scale manufacturers like Dell buy in such high volumes that
the per unit cost of Windows must drop pretty low, so not including it
isn't saving them much.

I also found it interesting that when I purchased a Dell laptop from
their Outlet (checked and guaranteed returned systems) it had a second
Windows 2000 license sticker placed over the original one. I'm assuming
that there is some clause that prevents them from using the same license
when the resell the machine - double TAX? ;)

Paul Tansom | Aptanet Ltd. | | 023 9238 0001
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