This is precisely the kind of tripe that gives Mac users the "irrational fankid" label:

What about the Dell Coupon Argument? For bargain-searching geeks, Dell's random coupons do indeed offer significant discounts. But even if you're lucky enough to take advantage of Mr. Ou's $650 markdown, once you equip your Dell with all the software and anti-virus protection necessary to actually use it, the big price differential shrinks significantly.

This fellow at MacWorld is trying to say that if you remove the coupons you can find for Dell laptops that comparable Intel-powered laptops (Dell vs. Apple) cost similar amounts.

Big problem: Coupons create different marketing niches. Most people savvy enough to read MacWorld are also savvy enough to find a coupon online. I believe Dell also runs a number of deals in the catalogs they mail out as well as their on their online store. It's difficult not to accidently fall into one of the target niches if you know how to spell "computer". To ignore precisely the market that would be worried about whether the two have similar hardware -- that is, ones that could find coupons -- is to miss the conversation entirely.

I believe he's also missing another market -- the iBook user. I imagine iBooks will remain at an M-note for a while longer, and they really aren't bad deals. He might want to wait until they go Intel before responding to price critiques. Still, I hope the iBook has a duo chip as well, or they're going to have a hard time competing with other entry-level computers, whose prices have plummeted recently.

(He also, for some reason, ignores the screen discrepancy between Dell and MacBook, but I'll only mention that in passing for now.)

If I can save $650 on one computer and my cost is "anti-virus protection" which, as it turns out, appears to come to $39.99 sans coupons, I think I can handle it. The antivirus slap is more irrational outburst than even & fair comparision. I take $620 over $0 every time, with perhaps one exception.

I am somewhat surprised Dell doesn't offer OpenOffice on its bottom-end models that don't come with MS Office, however. WordPerfect and that's it? Interesting. Still, Macs don't come with any office software worth mentioning other than trials for MS Office and iWork '06. I suppose the "actually use it" comment dealt solely with iLife. I'll counter that Half-Life 2 and Photoshop running natively are both a bit cheaper on the Dell right now.

In any event, it is good to finally be past the "megahertz myth" 'UD.

[It occurs to me now, a bit later, than the MacWorld guy didn't even mention iSight in the text of his article. Do people really not use the camera? I finally hooked up a DVcorder to my Mac, and it's pretty cool. An integrated camera's gotta be worth a little dough, and is one of those things I think many who wouldn't think it too useful would find is central to their computer use soon afterwards.]