Over the years, Apple has led in the “premium devices” category, because Apple has predominantly sold devices only in this category — with even the 11-inch MacBook Air landing in the “$900 or more” range.
Right now, the cheapest MacBook you can buy is the 13-inch MacBook Air at $999, with the 12-inch MacBook’s cheapest price set at $1,299.99, and the new MacBook Pro coming in at $1,499.99. Apple’s Mac lineup is premium by default, and so it makes sense that if Microsoft wanted to take some shots at Apple, going after the premium market would be one way to do that.
To compare, Microsoft’s Surface Book starts at $1,299 (right now — it traditionally starts at $1,499). The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 without a keyboard.
And so that’s apparently what’s happening. The Redmond-based company revealed its quarterly earnings yesterday, and in the process revealed that it is seeing “continued growth” in the premium device category, thanks to licensing out its desktop operating system, Windows, to hardware partners. Microsoft, for its part, defines premium devices in that “$900 or more” price range, and, considering it’s Apple’s only segment when it comes to these machines, it’s the one they’ve dominated over the years.
In December, a little while after the company had officially revealed the Surface Studio desktop PC, which retails for $2,999 and higher, Microsoft said that it credited disappointment in the new MacBook Pro from Apple as a reason why it had seen “all-time Surface sales.” Apparently those sales are still going strong, while third-party Windows PC makers are also seeing overall increases in their sales in the premium market as well.
Overall it’s good to see that Microsoft is seeing continued growth, in any market, because it means more choice for consumers, and, ultimately, better competition for Apple, too. After all, if we want Apple to force itself to improve its products, making other companies force them to do it might actually make it happen.