[quotemsg=11133200,0,1335260]Dear STEVEJNB, this message is in reply to you. The quoting would have been a nightmare, so I skipped that.
Your Apple example is a bit misleading. One thing common about apple products is that they simply work. While many PCs rushed to market with the newest bling don't. But the extra charge is not really to screw over customers. (first off, aluminum sleekness must be expensive). Apple buyers know, that they spent lots on their computer, and everybody seeing one knows too. They voluntarily buy this.[/quotemsg]
Interesting that you cherry picked one of several points. Oh well, to respond...
First off, I well know that Apple products "simply work." I am "the computer guy" in my extended family and I've pushed that several members of my family use Apple products because of just that point. Simply put, they are the best computing solution for a lot of people, and you're right, people do willingly pay. Myself, I use a combination of Window based and Android devices because I do not have a problem dealing with a bit of hassle for the benefits of far lower cost for the same hardware and more freedom. This is not true for many people, and Apple IS the ideal solution for many people.
That being said, the issue was this. Microsoft was accused that they "make decisions based on how much money they think they can get from consumer." When you look at Apple's pricing model and try and act like Apple doesn't have this same modus operandi, you're either *really* buying their hype or you're being wilfully deceptive.
Apple uses their image and a series of misconceptions to prey on a - and let's be frank - consumer base that is ignorant of what is best for them and what they actually need in order to sell their machines at a *far* higher markup than any of their competitors. You would be foolish to deny these two points:
1) These products are sold at a far higher markup than equivalent products of many of their competitors. (case in point: I got my Le Pan II android tablet, which has a metallic [aluminum, I believe] shell for $150, brand new, on a sale - regular $200. This was around mid way through the iPad 2's lifespan and has very similar guts to the iPad 2. At the time, the iPad 2 cost about 2.5 x that for, again, very similar hardware, functionality, etc. This is not uncommon for Apple's pricing scheme from computers to tablets to MP3 players to phones)
2) Many people who think Apple would be their ideal solution - be it as a result of hype, marketing, reputation, or just outright misinformation of "It's always the most cutting edge!" - buy these products out of a position of ignorance. They are FAR from the ideal computing device for many people who own them and think they are "the best." If you're curious about what Apple people think they know about the products they spend $500+ on, go to a college campus and poll Apple users which is the more powerful machine with more software available for it - the iPad 3 or the Surface PRO. The results will be *laughable*.
Apple is of course neither obligated to educate the consumer nor charge less than they can. But the fact is, they take advantage of this consumer ignorance to charge *far* higher prices than they need to for their products - in essence gouging them for the privilege of owning a cutting edge Apple product, usually with hardware that is not at all better than the competition, and a shiny case that cost them pennies but makes the thing seem very fancy. In doing so they perpetuate the myth - and it is a myth - of superior products and being a "luxury" type of company. They are the hardware equivalent of a brand name fashion designer that sells a purse for $1500 when it cost $10 to make, and people gobble them up assuming they are much better or some such. Simply put, Apple is not the ideal product for a lot of people who mistakingly believe that it is. Apple capitalizes on this widespread ignorance.
Google's model is different and more insidious... They let you use their things cheap, but whatever you do on it is for sale. In essence, the digital you is for sale, and that keeps their software, their services, etc, nice and cheap. For Google, you pay in a very different way. Microsoft? We know their tricks, but I ask you... Is "M$" really justified these days when Google and Apple rip you off every bit as much, possibly even more these days, and manage to get off with this perception that they aren't as "evil" as the money grubbing Microsoft?