Every so often the Macalope chats with his Microsoft counterpart, the Winotaur. This is one of those days.
WINOTAUR: HEY. PIANO LEGS.
MACALOPE: Piano legs?! They’re antelope legs. They’re just… naturally skinny at the bottom. Who is this, anyway?
WINOTAUR: You know who this is!
MACALOPE: Um… Mom?
WINOTAUR: No, you idiot! Half bull, half man, half Windows and seeing red about Lion!
MACALOPE: Steve Ballmer?
WINOTAUR: Oh, stop it. Listen, what the hell is up with this $30 for an operating system me-hockey?
MACALOPE: Ohhh. That? Well, you know. Just providing value. Just giving people what they want: a modern operating system, available for download at a reasonable price that doesn’t look like it was
filmed in Glaucomavision. It’s not 1995 anymore, you shouldn’t need a loan to buy software. Why? Does charging $30 cause you some kind of problem?
WINOTAUR: Are you kidding me?! Do you know how much the least expensive usable upgrade of Windows 7 goes for?
MACALOPE: Really don’t. Are any of them “usable”?
MACALOPE: Wow, that’s… multiply by six… take the square root… carry the two… four times as much!
WINOTAUR: No, it’s not it’s… yeah! Four times as much!
MACALOPE: Phew, man, that’s a drag. Sorry to put you in such a tough spot like that.
WINOTAUR: Don’t give me that! Oh, sure, Apple can afford to practically give the operating system away because they overcharge for those hunks of aluminum they sell. What are my boys supposed to do?! The software’s our bread and butter!
MACALOPE: Yeah, but doesn’t most of your Windows scratch come from long-term enterprise contracts? Look on the bright side: those suckers are locked in. Wait, did the Macalope say “suckers?” Because that’s what he meant.
WINOTAUR: Yeah, but that’s not going to last forever!
MACALOPE: The Macalope really hadn’t thought of this until you called. But it sure squeezes your business model a bit, doesn’t it. And the cheap mobile app market probably doesn’t do you much good, either. Well, you’ve still got servers.
WINOTAUR: UGH. Servers! Listen, listen… you can’t offer
a server OS for $50! It’s against the Geneva Conventions!
MACALOPE: The Macalope’s pretty sure that’s not in the Geneva Conventions. But, look, if you drop your prices to match ours, maybe you can make it up on volume.
WINOTAUR: No, why don’t you make it up on volume!
MACALOPE: You must be really mad because that doesn’t make any sense. The Macalope’s guessing you probably don’t want to talk about iCloud.
WINOTAUR: That? Big deal. So Apple might finally be getting a cloud strategy.
MACALOPE: Well, in fairness, not having one doesn’t seem to have hurt them much. But iTunes Match is kind of funny, isn’t it? It sounds a lot like the iPod-killing feature the Zune was rumored to have before it came out—that Microsoft would just give you your iTunes purchases for free on the Zune because they had all the money in the world and could do that. Remember that?
WINOTAUR: [sigh] Yeah. We totally should have done that. Anyway, your stupid thing is $25. The Zune implementation was free.
MACALOPE: Uh, yeah. It was also imaginary.
WINOTAUR: Uh, yeah, but our version was better. Because it was free. Duh.
MACALOPE: But it never existed.
WINOTAUR: But it was better.
MACALOPE: What is wrong with you?
WINOTAUR: You! You’re what’s wrong with me and… like, America, man.
MACALOPE: Phew. OK. The Macalope doesn’t know why he’s trying to help you here but, look, Lion comes out in July so that gives you more than a year to, you know…
WINOTAUR: Steal all the good parts?
MACALOPE: Right. And then sell them a year later for four times as much.
WINOTAUR: Well, I guess that’s something.
MACALOPE: Right. And you seem like you need something to hold on to right now.
WINOTAUR: I have mentioned lately how much I hate you?
MACALOPE: Ummm, yeah. It was Saturday when we played poker at Tux’s house.
WINOTAUR: OK. Just checking.
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the
Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]