The cost is mainly attributed to convenience.
For certain reasons, I’m thinking of installing Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro. I had Windows on my old MacBook so that I could use a Windows-formatted iPod Classic, which would make it compatible with any system using Windows. Since I don’t have my iPod Classic anymore, I don’t have a reason to get Windows 7 except for extra compatibility, since the computers at my two schools use Windows 7.
In order for me to get a FULL, retail version of Windows 7 Professional, I have to pay about $300, depending on where I look. When I did a search on Google, I found that $300 could also get me a 5-user family pack of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which isn’t even the latest version. The 10.6 Snow Leopard upgrade is about $25 to $30. After my experiences with OEM versions of Windows, I know I need a retail version so I can move the installation from one computer to another when necessary.
Windows advocates could make the argument that “Snow Leopard is a service pack,” and that Windows service packs are free, so the two aren’t comparable. True, the two might not be comparable. But I would much rather deal with [very] occasional updates–most of which do not require me to restart my computer–than to be given a new update after I’ve JUST rebooted from installing another update, and have this happen at least three times, and if I don’t want it to update yet, it won’t leave me alone until I stop everything I’m doing and click “Install and Restart.”
This makes me think back to when I was helping my mom set up her new laptop, which was actually my brother’s old one. It runs Vista, and when it asked to install updates, it ended up installing over 100 items…understandable, since Vista is old. When I rebooted, it still had about 30 more items to install. Seriously?
I’ve had friends tell me they wish they could get a Mac, “but it’s too expensive.” They are expensive, I’ll admit that. However, they are worth the cost when you know how to take advantage of their simplicity and flexibility. I kind of hate seeing people with Macs and NOT using them to their full potential. They’re probably people who “grew up using Macs,” but Windows is not that hard to use–they could save a lot of money if they just learn how to use them.
I suppose Windows OS software is so expensive in order to make it fair for other OS makers. A large percentage of computer users in the world use Windows, so to make the software more affordable would only increase the ratio between Windows/OSX/Linux users in favor of Microsoft. Also, it’s expensive because people are simply willing to pay that much. If they need it, they need it. And they will pay what it’s worth to them. I could build a computer and get a Linux OS for free, but from previous conflicts I’ve had with Linux, I’m willing to pay for the convenience of a somewhat simpler operating system.
Believe it or not, I’m actually very frugal with my money. Whatever it is I buy, I want to spend the least amount possible, and if I can’t find an ideal price, I will wait as long as possible until either the price goes down or I have more money in my pocket. It’s a challenge to do this in Japan, where nearly everything is extremely overpriced. I guess that’s why I buy so many things at 100 yen shops.