Microsoft’s Laptop Hunter’s commercials have brought the whole “Is there a price premium for the Apple brand when purchasing a Mac rather than a PC?” to the forefront. Steve Ballmer argues it’s a $500 premium. Apple fans say it all depends on what you buy. The bantering goes on.
While everyone seems to be arguing this point online about PCs, I’m struggling with price differences between the two when it comes to developer conferences. Looks to me like there’s a $500+ price premium for the Microsoft brand in this case. In tough economic times like today’s that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Right now I’m leaning towards seeing if I can get into Apple’s WWDC.
Here’s my reasoning:
* It’s only $1295 for the June WWDC as long I sign up before Friday, April 24th. That’s going to be about $1000 less than Microsoft’s equivalent developer conference or $600+ given similar discounts. (There are no prices public yet for Microsoft’s PDC, but last year’s was north of $2000 and this year’s TechEd is $2195. So a pass in the $2000 range seems predictable.)
* I’ve made a pretty good career of developing with Microsoft technologies over the years so continuing to learn the latest and greatest from Microsoft, such as with Silverlight, makes sense. That’s one for Microsoft’s column.
* Apple’s conferences are cool, maybe not as cool as SIGGRAPH, but more so than Microsoft’s.
* There’s more that interests me at an Apple developer conference than a Microsoft one. The iPhone is the big draw here. There’s not a single developer I know that shouldn’t be paying attention to the iPhone and iPod Touch platform. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile is so far behind I’ve moved on.
* Apple’s consumer focus is more to the customer base that I’m interested in. Microsoft, with its Windows phones and Tablet PCs, keeps migrating towards the IT market no matter what the intent. Can’t blame them. That’s where the handful of volume sales are.
* Microsoft wants to party. I don’t drink. Microsoft parties aren’t of interest to me. The activities are either too young or too much about drinking. Actually, I’m probably too boring so I can’t blame Microsoft here, but I don’t have a good reason why I should pay Microsoft to provide a party event that I won’t get anything out of. Do I want to pay a $100 party tax? Nope.
* There’s plenty to learn about when it comes to the iPhone. Microsoft’s events are becoming increasingly about things like Sharepoint. That single product is growing a huge IT support base of consultants. Uhm, Microsoft should be asking itself: If there’s so much about Sharepoint that people need to know, maybe the platform needs to be easier? You think? I’ll get off my soapbox now. No offense to Sharepoint enthusiasts.
* WWDC is coming up now (June) and PDC is not until November. Seems like I could go to WWDC now and if something significant comes about from Microsoft, the economy turns around, all my medical bills get paid off, and, and, and.
* I’m too cheap to stay in a hotel. My uncle lives close to San Francisco so I can take the Bart into WWDC and avoid the hotel costs. I can stay with relatives outside of LA too for PDC, though the 21 mile trip to the convention center has taken me 1-1/2 hours travel time in the past. Eh.
* Maybe, just maybe, Apple will announce their efforts into the long rumored tablet-slash-netbook-slash-whatever device. I’d like to be there for that moment. What new thing does Microsoft have to offer this year? Windows 7 is shipping and here are the developer tools? Old. Azure? Hmmm.
Have I left something out?
Sound reasonable? Which conference would you attend?