Cheap is the new black.
06 April 2009
Seems like Microsoft, in the US, has finally found a positioning to take on Apple’s cool-factor and knock people out of the reality distortion field that envelops that brand. Microsoft is aiming squarely at people’s wallets and budgets: as the cheap yet powerful alternative in the downturn. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big Mac fan and I love my iPhone, but for many people on a budget paying for style is simply wasting money, and that is what Microsoft is tapping into.
In their latest ad, a cute girl sets out to buy a laptop with a large screen for under $1,000. Checking out an Apple store, she storms out in frustration, saying “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person!”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thinks the downturn will signal an upturn for Microsoft:
“The economy is helpful,” Ballmer said recently in New York. “Paying an extra $500 for a computer with a[n Apple] logo on it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this economy.”
And guess what – it’s working. Over at the Microsoft Watch blog, Joe Wilcox crunches recent computer sales numbers from NPD and sees:
Windows sales in Feb are up 22% y/y, with revenue up 1.4%.
Apple Mac sales are down 16.7% y/y, with revenue down 23.3%
Not sure what the figures are like in Australia, but I would hope the folks over at Apple are rethinking a Mac’s price/value equation and asking themselves whether focusing on their Green credentials is the right message in this environment. Could Apple have missed the mark? If so it would be the first time in years. It will be interesting to see how the new guard at Apple deal with this new market trend, especially now Steve Jobs is not at the helm.