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Free vs. Paid

April 11th, 2011

Paul Merrill

Microsoft has a growing number of stores around the USA. They came very late to the game that Apple started with their retail stores.

Microsoft Stores are not nearly as focused as Apple Stores. Microsoft Stores offer a massive variety of products. You are struck by extremely busy visuals, in contrast to Apple’s clean and simple retail interface.

But that’s not what I’m preaching today.

If you look at this recent ad (detail), you’ll see that they are offering training for $49 that Apple offers free at their stores. Apple computers cost considerably more than computers that run Windows, on the face of it. But in the end, Apple computers may be cheaper. Bundled software alone adds huge value. And relative freedom from virus attacks saves hours of productivity.

Mostly, though, I want you to think about whether you should charge more up front or at the end. In some cases, one model works better than the other. In the case of Apple Stores compared to Microsoft Stores, there is a very clear winner.

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2 Comments

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  1. Bob Allen (http://bobruns NULL.blogspot NULL.com) #
    April 11, 2011

    You don’t identify the winner. I’m an Apple user from way back — have owned and used them for 25 years. But, if you look at OS usage stats, then the Microsoft model could be argued to be the winner. If you look at my personal satisfaction, then the Apple model is the winner (though I would love to see Apple’s computer prices drop a bit).

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