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New PCs for $300, how can Macs compete?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by hvfsl, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. macrumors 68000


  2. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Why does Apple have to compete with a cheap Linux Box?

    Apple spend a lot of money developing the OS, and can't afford to compete in this market.

    Heck the companies that have offered cheap Windows PC have kept running into deep financial trouble, this is a brutal section of the market in which to compete.

    Low margins with zero room for error.


    Now as far as the Linux PCs go, this is old news. And I haven't really heard how many mom and pop buyers with zero computer experience have handled the cheap Linux PC purchase.

    And/or how many of these buyers have ended up dropping Windows on to the machines at a later date.
  3. macrumors 68040


    - hvfsl

    These rank down there with the ultra-cheap DVD players.

    Key word is 'cheap'.

    You get what you pay for, and I'm very interested in how long these $400 machines last - either by hardware failure, or by obsolecence.

    I'm sure they make a dandy Email and Web surfing experience, and possibly som Office apps, but I think there the usefullness will become quite limited.

    And forget decent games.
  4. Das
    macrumors regular

    I think the Linux boxes are cool, they really get Linux into the mainstream. Unfortunately, for the mainstream folk, they will be useless (most can't understand how to turn one on).

    The mac has nothing to worry about there, but as for the 499 Dells with a monitor...well, that's another case.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jerry Spoon

    Apple isn't looking for the people who buy these $300 machines. They're looking for someone who wants some extras and then aren't afraid to spend a little more for a cool look.
  6. macrumors 68040


    apple enjoys one of the highest profit margins on their hardware in the market. the company is healthy with a decent user base and a huge cash reserve. even if the marketshare is low, there's absolutely no reason for apple to venture into a market that is a gamble at best and a losing cause at worst.

    instead of "apple needs to make cheap Macs to compete," perhaps you meant to say "apple needs to make cheap Macs so i can afford more stuff." :D
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Honestly, I think a sub-$1,000 PC will get the job done if all you want is to surf and write simple documents. You could probably play a few games, but don't expect to play the latest and the great. And even if you use it for a year, you can easily upgrade to another better (and possibly) cheaper model. Given that the industry is headed toward commoditization, PCs will be as fungible as TVs or microwaves. If you have the expertise (or a good friend who has the expertise), you could easily build your own PC with the latest and greatest parts for less than $1,000. I built a PC with an Athlon 1800 XP processor with 1 GB of RAM, a 60 GB hard drive, and a 128 MB video card--it runs all my programs (including games) swiftly and without any hitches.

    Before one points out that "Apple has the quality," one should remember that this probably applies only to the software and design. Some Mac users speak glowingly about the quality of a Mac as if the RAM and hard drives were handcrafted in Europe by some German artisan. The actual hardware that goes into a Mac (hard drive, RAM, etc.) all come from the same OEMs and factories in Asia that supply Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc.
  8. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    What happened to the $300 Lindows on Microtel boxes at Walmart?

    Now we have the same pricepoint Linux on Microtel boxes at Walmart, but with OpenOffice.

    Were the sales projection reached for Lindows? The additional OS is interesting.

    Wonder how they'll compete...
  9. macrumors 6502a

    At work I got a new Dell, out of the box, they think was well, unstable. XP had to go, so off to 2000 I went. The thing crashed during the install. Sometimes you cannot open the start menu unless you logout. At a previous employer we had Compaq's and they never had these type of problems. This Dell is just plain flakey. I can only imagine what the ones for $499 are like.

    Apple is positioned at where the high-end Dells are. Getting into the cutthroat bargain, barrel scraping low-end is not where any reputable company wants to be. There is no money there and is very risky. Dell wants market share, so they are willing to go in the low-end. Wall street likes them to sell a lot of peecee’s. This helps them make the street happy.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Motorola sells G4's at differing speeds and Apple gets the higher end ones to Apple. Not all G4 processors are the same. The same holds true for other components. When it comes to RAM, they give a list of specifications to their suppliers. The memory is built to those specs. The generic memory may or may not work, not even in a peecee, even though the speed, parity, etc. are all correct. The HD is usually the same though. Apple could ask for a higher quality on the other components though. There is a difference between making something that will work and making something that will last. In electronics you have a lot of components, resistors, capacitors, etc. You can save some money by using components as close to the specifications you want, or you could overbuild the system to have greater durability. Both will work, one will last.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    I know some people that will always want to buy cheap...No matter what. I believe that most people (talking out of my butt) would have a budget between $600-900 for a computer....I think people expect to buy a computer for that.....Apple's problem, in my opinion, is that more advertising needs to be done and who knows, they might be able to push those $600-900 peeps over to a little more cash for their products...
  12. macrumors 68000


    But according to CNET, the best selling computers in China cost $300 to $500 and they can be plugged into a TV. $1000+ computers are fine for the developed world, but most of the planets population are in poor countries and need their computers to be as cheap as possible.
  13. Das
    macrumors regular

    Well I never said they were good computers, just cheap ;)

    I've had that problem with Dells though and it's mainly solved with adding more ram. The one I got was useless without adding more than 256, it'd sputter like an old car and act like it was crashing then snap back together 10 minutes later. XP's a memory hog. Plus it came with a CD-ROM reader only...welcome to 1994...
  14. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Big difference between the computer equivalent of a toaster, and the more expensive convection oven.

    You may be able to live on the software equivalent of pop tarts, but every now and then it's nice to be able to eat a gourmet meal.
  15. macrumors 65816

    If you want a $300 Mac that compares, try the $350 G3 Blue and White G3s available at many of these used and refurbished shops:


    Try to get the Revision 2 of these Macs as they make it easier to expand hard drives internally.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    512MB in this one. Ram is not the issue. Doesn't seem very fast even though it is 2GHz.
  17. macrumors 65816


    And I also think that cutting margins to gain market share is a strategy that works a lot better when you're in a position of market dominance or strength, like Dell is. That does not describe Apple's position at all...
  18. macrumors 68000


    wow you must of had some bad luck there. My high school 4 years ago received dell p3's running windows 98 and they never crashed--which is pretty suprising even to me that your box would crash outta the box.

    The fact that you got an XP that was unstable is pretty surprising--especially when you say that windows 2000 "crashed" during install (i.e. ram issues / heating / weak psu -- which are highly doubtful in office machines because they aren't overclocked)

    Hardware error is the only thing that could possibly do this, and i find it a bit hard to belive that it was dell's fault. At my high school there were 100's of dells that haven't had hardware faults since the day they arrived.

    Whenever a student "messed" up a Dell system (i.e. installed games), they ran a ghost program to restore it to it's out of the box default--all in less than 2 minutes.

    Compaq's are pretty bad i have to admit...my brother purchased one a few years ago, "complete" with the "latest" geforce3 video card and all.

    It couldn't even boot up half the time. A mom and pop store built the same computer with BETTER components and sold it for half the price of a compaq. The compaq retailed around 1500, the mom and pop store built it for less than 800 dollars--and built it with full version of windows, not the oem crap that the compaq had come with.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Years ago on the MacWorld forums someone posted a thread what if Apple got into the low end machine business. They could put in a slow, obsolete processor, small hard drive, crummy graphics card - all it would need is a fitting name - iCrap. Personally, i thank god that Apple is not in the low end business!
  20. macrumors 604


    apple wont compete because that has never been their market. plus a 300 dollar computer wont sell that well. the sweet spot is about 700-800 dollars, a apple has that.

  21. macrumors 68040



    According to J.D. Power, Dell has a 10% out-of box faliure rate. Meaning one out of every ten Dell machines will not boot - brand new. And that's considered good in the WinTel world.

    I'm surprised at your surprise that you didn't know this.
  22. macrumors 68000


    Oh ok thanks for the clarification ;)

    Could you point me to where you got this? I'd like to find more information on the topic.
  23. macrumors 68000


    i just checked out the Walmart site and the machines are actually starting at $199! anyway, they are total junk. Apple shouldn't even stoop to this level. i don't want to see Apple make a throw-away Mac. Apple makes premium products for a premium price. yes, most of our Macs are turtles, but atleast they are high-quality turtles:)
  24. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked


    Looked at that $199 stuff...
    Does this mean the warranty is VOID if you install Windows on the machine?
  25. macrumors 68030


    Does anyone here buy the very cheapest car available? The cheapest TV? The cheapest clothes? The cheapest beer?

    No? Ask yourself why not. Then ask yourself why Apple would want to lump itself in with products that you routinely pass by or laugh at.

    Sure I'd like to See Apple's prices come down a little more, but catering to a market that wants a $300 computer would hurt Apple's reputation in the marketplace more than help it.

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