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“Doing a Microsoft”: Why Apple’s Latest 128GB Announcement is an Attack on Redmond’s Business Strategy

Apple Attack on Microsoft

CNET said earlier this week that, according to one strategist, Apple’s latest move to increase its memory storage size to 128GB is an attack against Microsoft. Microsoft, after all, disagreed with Steve Jobs’s claim that consumers would ever go beyond the PC in their desire to have greater mobility. Jobs said that, under his leadership, Apple would move consumers to a “post-PC” era where laptops and desktops would give way to tablets and smartphones. Mobility would come to reign in the tech world – and, believe me, it has. This does not mean that Microsoft’s very own Bill Gates and Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs did not have respect for each other. This week, Gates said that Steve Jobs was a better leader and a more cool person than he was. That is something to be admired from the lips of a man whose new mobile tablets are bringing in dismal numbers for the Redmond, California company.

What does it mean to live in a “post-PC” era? To live in a post-PC era implies that consumers have lost their attraction for the desktop PC and the laptop computer. Windows laptop sales are in great decline, although some companies such as Lenovo seem to be doing well. Apple’s own MacBook line is in declining sales, as consumers prefer the tablet over the traditional laptop. There is a reason as to why this is happening: tablets are not only smaller and better able to hold in one’s hands; they are also more affordable than traditional laptops. Take Apple’s MacBook Air, the new entry-level MacBook that replaced the basic MacBook. The price of the MacBook Air is $1199 (although Apple recently diminished the price $200, down to $999). Even at the reduced price, however, the MacBook Air is still $200 more than the 128GB iPad ($799). The additional gain for the 128GB iPad comes in when you consider that the new iPad memory size provides much more easy-to-access memory than the traditional MacBook lineup. When I purchased my MacBook Pro back in May 2011, it only provided 2GB of up-front memory for $1199. For the 4GB model, I paid approximately $1500 ($1399 + $100 antivirus + $350 Time Machine + $400-$500 for a 4-yr. warranty). Since documents tend to take up smaller amounts of storage than most game apps, a 4GB laptop was not a bad selection. What I disliked most, however, was the extra stuff with my laptop that I did not need that rounded the price tag to $1500.

With the new 128GB iPad, I can play more games (with larger memory storage required), take notes for class (and save class notes), download more music, and save more articles and documents to my tablet desktop for half the price of my 2011 MacBook Pro ($799 vs. $1500). Whenever I take notes on my iPad, Apple has an application set up at the bottom of my “Notes” page that lets me send the document to my email, right away – without any of the saving and attaching file work that I once did to send documents.

While this is one of the benefits of a post-PC/laptop era, there is another that many believe interests Apple further: Apple’s introduction of a 128GB iPad places the company in direct competition with Microsoft. The numbers for mobile tablet sales are overwhelmingly in favor of Apple, but many consumers will purchase Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet this February (2013) because the high-end Surface Pro tablet comes with 128GB of internal memory storage. The price of the 128GB Surface Pro will cost $899, plus $100 extra for one of the company’s touch or type keyboards. You can purchase a 128GB iPad from Apple for $799 and, with a $100 physical keyboard, still save $100 plus the price of antivirus software (that would be required for the Surface Pro tab). To add to this, Apple’s iPad is the most popular tablet on the market and, while Samsung has made great strides this past year, it still has some catching up to do. This means that Apple’s popularity, the appeal of its tablet design, and the savings will add up to pull more consumers away from Redmond and closer to Cupertino. It is a win-win for Apple, all around.