Apple Tax is renamed Apple System Access Fee

Ever since Microsoft introduced the term, “Apple Tax” has referred to the premium cost of buying an Apple computer as opposed to a “regular” same spec PC. The problem is that the word “tax” implies that the extra money is paid into a pool that benefits everyone. But in the case of Apple, the extra money paid goes straight in the pockets of good old Steve and the other share holders. In other words, the term “Apple Tax” is misleading. We need a new and better term to fit the definition. Once again Morten’s Encyclopedia of Proper Definitions comes to the rescue:

Apple System Access Fee (formerly “Apple Tax”): The added cost of buying an Apple computer (Mac) that is not reflected in increased performance or usability but solely in the brand. The term “system access fee” stems from a fee charged by Canadian cell phone carriers that does not relate to any real cost for the carrier but is designed to bleed the users dry. Similar terms include “Sony Manufacturing Fee” and “Bang & Olufsen Style Fee”.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning (formerly specializing in AI, bleeding edge web technologies, and the intersection between technology and humanity. He also occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is a popular conference and workshop speaker on all things tech ethics, AI, web technologies, and open source.

One reply on “Apple Tax is renamed Apple System Access Fee”

I’m not so sure this concept even exists (no matter what it’s called). There was a time when it surely did, but to think of a new name for it now is like coming up with a new name for cassette tape. Why bother?

In a head to head comparison of similar machines, you can find PCs both above and below Apple’s price point. That is certainly true of MacBooks and Mac Mini, somewhat less of MacBook Pro. MacBook Air and iMac are unique products that defy comparison.

In most cases, the entire comparison boils down to software. Do you buy MS Office for OS X or is iWork deemed equivalent? Do you spend money for anti-virus software on both platforms? Do you buy equivalent apps on the PC side to match iLife or is a bundle of crapware good enough? Do you consider a Linux-based PC to be a viable alternative, which brings the software cost down near $0 on the PC side? People use software to twist this comparison one way or another depending on their desired results.

Personally, I consider the value of my time to exceed either hardware OR software. One of these choices involves a whole lot less overhead and fewer questions from friends and colleagues.

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