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Business Week Author Plays Revisionist, Alters Anti-Apple Editorial

Business Week Author Plays Revisionist, Alters Anti-Apple Editorial

by , 4:20 PM EST, December 13th, 2000

On Monday, I took a few swings at Sam Jaffe, a writer for BusinessWeek who wrote a poisonous critique of Apple that largely relied on erroneous data and half-truths. Since then, Mr. Jaffe or his editors have edited the piece, though without actually telling us so. That's ok, because we remember. For instance, this:

And it's not only the Cube that's priced wrong. I visited Apple's online store and compared its top-of-the-line G4 to a similar model offered by Gateway on its Web site. The 500-megahertz dual-processor G4 with 256 megabytes of memory costs $7,598 from Apple. A 700-MHz Gateway with a single processor boasting the same memory goes for $2,549.

Can now be seen as:

And it's not only the Cube that's priced wrong. I visited Apple's online store and compared its top-of-the-line G4 to a similar model offered by Gateway on its Web site. The 500-megahertz dual-processor G4 with 256 megabytes of memory costs $7,598 from Apple. A 700-MHz Gateway with a single processor boasting the same memory goes for $2,549. Take out the huge $4,000 Apple flat-panel monitor and the $700 Gateway monitor to make a better comparison, and there's still an $1,800 price differential.

Much better, to be sure, but it is still a poor comparison. Where's the Gigabit Ethernet on the Gateway machine? Where's the DVD-RAM drive? The argument could be made that Gateway doesn't include those things because their customers don't want them, but Apple's customers can replace the DVD-RAM drive with a cheaper one too. To Mr. Jaffe's credit, he apologizes for the original comparison in a forum post on this subject, however he still has some issues just plain wrong. According to that post:

Thank you all for your thoughtful and carefully argued comments. Apple fans tend to be a highly intelligent and opinionated lot--and I really do mean that in a good way. Nevertheless I disagree with you about every complaint except for one. It was unfair of me to not mention that the Apple computer I used in my comparison had a $4000 monitor. I asked the editors to correct that and we are in the process of doing so.

Despite that omission on my part, the comparison still holds up. Take out $4000 from the price of the Apple and $700 from the price of the Gateway for its 17" monitor, and you still have an $1800 price differential. That's stunning for two computers that do roughly the same thing at roughly the same speed.

The rest of the forum post is a rebuttal to criticisms posted by BusinessWeek readers.

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