CNBC Can’t Get Mac vs. PC Facts Straight

The Mac vs. PC argument is being stoked by Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” commercials and a fresh round of Apple’s “Get a Mac Ads.” Fanboys on both side of the debate are making their cases, but Jim Goldman, CNBC’s silicon valley bureau chief, made some of the most ridiculous pro-Mac arguments I’ve ever heard on TV.

Avram from Laptop Mag picked apart Goldman’s five-minute “On the Money” appearance line by line in this article. If CNBC can’t get some pretty basic computer specs right, why should I trust their financial advice?

Apple has some clear differentiators that make MacBooks stand out for the crowd. I use both MacBooks and PC notebooks on a daily basis and can understand why some users are overjoyed when they get their first MacBook. But instead of providing accurate facts,  Goldman just makes stuff up. I’m not entirely sure what his motivation were in making claims that MacBooks have faster processors, 4x better battery life and come with Photoshop, but his errors are so egregious that I feel embarrassed for him.

I don’t mean to pick on Goldman, but someone with his experience and the resources of CNBC at his disposal should be able to steer clear of such missteps. The average consumer can be heavily influenced by such arguments and generally don’t have any reason to question the accuracy of experts that appear on such prominent TV shows.

There’s really no excuse for an esteemed network like CNBC to spread misinformation about Apple, Dell, HP and other notebooks. It’s fine to argue for your preferred operating system, but you might want to do some basic fact checking before going to go on national TV and state the following “facts” (my comments added):

“Photoshop. You get that with Apple, you don’t get that with a PC. A hundred and forty bucks there.” (Apple doesn’t load Photoshop on its MacBooks. I’m not sure which fantasy land Goldman shops in, but a Photoshop license costs $699 . Adobe’s various CS4 suites cost far more than that.)

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“If your PC breaks down, Macs tend not to.” (Macs have their fair share of problems. The MacBook Pro I’m typing on right now is a replacement for my previous MacBook Pro, which had three major issues within the first four months of use. Search Apple’s discussion forums or visit MacRumors if you want to wade through countless forum posts about MacBook problems.)

“If your PC breaks down, you’re gonna want to call the Geek Squad” ( PCs come with at least a one year warranty, some come with three-year warranties. He says it’ll cost $129 to diagnose your PC problem as if there’s no alternative)

“The typical Apple laptop is more than a pound lighter than anything you’re going to get on the PC side.” (Sony, HP, Fujistu, Acer, ASUS, MSI, and Dell all make notebooks that are lighter than any MacBook.)

“Mac Battery Life: 4x better.” (Apple is simply not a leader in the battery-life department. Apple rates the MacBook at 5 hours, and the MacBook Pro between 5 and 8 hours. A lot of PCs get have less battery performce, a lot offer comprable battery performance and a lot trounce Apple’s battery claims. There are a host of PCs that can run for between 8 and 14 hours on a single charge.)

“Faster chip” (Apple doesn’t make chips. Companies like Intel do, and they sell their fastest chips in non-Apple computers.)

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