Mar 11, 2011

The Value of Apple

I hate Microsoft. They sell bug-ridden, unsecured, shoddy software, and their monopolistic, unethical business practices are borderline criminal. I quit using Windows as my primary operating system (OS) in 1999, except for at work, where I had no choice. I switched to using Linux as my day-to-day OS, which I'd been toying with for a few years by then. Keeping a Linux system up-to-date took some effort. I hand edited most text configuration files, and compiled almost everything from source code. It was even less user-friendly at the time than its undeserved reputation now, but it forced me to learn.

However, a few years later, I was in the market for a laptop. After lots of research, I ended up buying a 12" Apple PowerBook, and started using MacOS X as my desktop OS. (I still use Linux on servers.) Like Linux, MacOS X is essentially Unix under the hood. All that power and security, but with a gorgeous UI and much easier maintenance. Since then, I've also bought a 20 GB iPod Classic, and replaced the PowerBook with a 13" MacBook.

Now, after reading this article from the New York Times, I almost (but not quite) regret my decision to buy Apple. It tells about a website that calculates the current value, if you'd bought Apple stock, instead of various Apple products. It's not completely accurate, since it only lists the base price, without accessories or upgrades, on the date each product was initially released. Some of my Apple buys were months after the release, and both of the laptops I bought had upgraded options.

Regardless, the analogy is still kind of depressing. The base price for the 12" PowerBook when it was released in 2005 was $1499. If I'd bought Apple stock instead, I'd be $10,558 richer! When the 20 GB iPod was released in 2004, it retailed for $299–the same price I paid a year later. In Apple stock, it'd now be worth $7,328. I waited to buy my MacBook until they'd updated the entire line, so it was less than one month after its release date in 2008, with a base price of $1299. Now that's worth more than double in Apple stock, $2,953.

Although my iPod gave up the ghost a couple years ago, my Apple laptops have served me well. I wouldn't buy any other brand. But if I'd spent the money instead on Apple stock, that $3097 would now be worth $20,839, almost a seven-fold increase in just a few years!

1 comment:

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