Young people see Microsoft as a better value

The Laptop Hunters commercial campaign that Microsoft is pushing seems to be working. Young people in the 18-34 demographic see a laptop running Microsoft Windows as a better value for the money than an Apple laptop running OSX. Apple had dominated consumer mindshare in the winter, but has since fallen behind Microsoft.

All of this is according to daily interviews conducted by BrandIndex to track the relative strength of each brand. On a scale from -100 to 100, Apple current rests a little above 12 points, while Microsoft is sitting pretty at 46. A score of zero means that an equal amount of good and bad things are being said about a brand, so both brands are getting more positive than negative feedback.

I wonder if the perceived value of Microsoft in the younger demographic has more to do with ignorance? That sub-$1000 PC laptop will only come with a trial version of anti-virus software, and won’t come with much in the way of productivity software. You can get OpenOffice and a free version of AVG antivirus, but I’d wager that most folks will want to buy a commercial antivirus product for that extra peace of mind; and many will feel obligated to buy Microsoft Office because it’s what everyone else uses. Suddenly that value laptop has a couple more dollar signs attached to it.

Of course, everyone and their brother know how to troubleshoot Windows PCs (“turn it off and back on!”), so the long-term maintenance may be cheaper. Apple machines are black boxes with few user serviceable parts under the hood of the operating system. You need to take your system to the Genius Bar and risk feeling like a complete moron under the scornful gaze of a hip twenty-something who gets to play with fancy Apple toys all day long.

At the end of the day, both Macs and PCs are tools, and one should buy the tool that they feel will best help them do the work they need to do. Neither is, prima facie, more valuable than the other, so all this posturing and advertising and talk of value is a waste of time. Spend the money making better tools, rather than trying to convince us that this tool is better than that one.