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Microsoft amends 'Apple Tax' return slightly

The software maker and analyst Roger Kay have updated their charts to reflect hardware changes, but fail to address other critiques of their return.

Microsoft and technology analyst Roger Kay have made a couple of changes to their charts outlining the "Apple Tax," but the update does little to address broader critiques of their math.

On Monday, Microsoft noted that it has updated both Kay's white paper and the accompanying blog post and chart to reflect the fact that both failed to take into account Apple's latest hardware specifications. The new paper and chart use slightly different models on the PC side.

However, the main points I (and others) made last week regarding Microsoft's bad math haven't changed. Kay's report (and Microsoft's accompanying tax return) still put charges in the Mac column that they fail to account for on the PC side when it comes to both software and services.

Suggesting that users can just bring their old copy of Office and Quicken--and that they won't need to upgrade over the five-year life of their new PC--assumes a lot. It's particularly laughable as Kay and Microsoft add in a charge for updating iLife on the Mac side.

On the services side, Microsoft had a fair point of AppleCare being more than Dell's basic three-year warranty. But then it threw in all kinds of other services, such as in-store training and the optional MobileMe service to again lose credibility.

I mean, really, one could have added (as several readers suggested) the five-year cost of antivirus software only to the PC side as well as a one-time charge for removing crapware from the PC. Personally, I'd recommend antivirus software for both the Mac and the PC, although clearly Windows users have had greater need of it to date.