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Microsoft must be feeling the heat from a growing acceptance of
Apple Mac products, as a new campaign by the Redmond, Wash.-based
company is pushing the concept of an "Apple tax" for non PC-users.

The campaign, which Microsoft began last fall, claims that
non-Microsoft users pay more for Apple hardware and have fewer
peripheral and software choices than their PC brethren. Microsoft even
created a chart proving the increased cost. (Ironically, the chart does
not include the after-purchase costs associated with downtime and
repairs that Microsoft users experience far more than Mac users.)

The idea of non-Microsoft users paying added costs in their computing
experience is not new to Microsoft’s marketing department. In 2004, the
company launched a similar campaign aimed at Linux users, claiming that
Microsoft Windows Server System was much more cost-effective than a
Linux-based solution. It even funded research to support that claim and
built a Web site around it.

In discussing the so-called "Apple tax," Brad Brooks, vice president of
marketing for Windows, said the economy will force many people to
rethink how much they want to pay for a new computer.

"More and more people are going to be scratching their head and saying, ‘Is that a tax I am really willing to pay?’" he said.

Brooks also noted that the "Apple tax" campaign may show up in online marketing campaigns and future Microsoft commercials.