Steve Ballmer Details the Apple Tax

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has frequently commented on the so-called "Apple Tax," which is what is referred to as the premium people pay to buy Apple products. On Thursday, at the McGraw-Hill Companies' 2009 Media Summit 2009 in New York, Ballmer told people just what exactly that premium gets a consumer.

NPD noted that Apple retail sales fell 16% in February, with NPD analyst Steve Baker asserting that the higher prices associated with Apple products are hurting sales in these recessionary times.

It should be noted that these are retail sales (thus including Apple retail stores), but do not include data from direct sales.

So what does Ballmer say the "Apple Tax" gets you? He said:
"Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."
Well, that's a bit of hyperbole there. Obviously, you could create a Windows box with pretty much the same hardware as a Mac, but to say that the only difference is the logo is a bit too much.

There's no doubt the higher prices are hurting Apple, though, and that same NPD report stated that, helped by netbooks, Windows PC sales rose 22% in the same period.