Intel makes the hardware, Apple sells it
Intel hardware yes, but where do you actually buy the hardware from? Intel.com? Assuming you don't want to build a so called "Hackintosh" or don't have the knowledge to do so (you can't use any part you find on Newegg like you can with Linux or Windows), the only place you can get a pre-assembled Mac from is Apple (as opposed to the many places such as hp, dell, gateway, etc. where you can buy a PC). As for the software being a part, OS X is 129.99 & Vista premium is 129.99 (prices from bestbuy.com), so the additional price cannot be attributed to software. It basically comes to a tradeoff, faster OS performance on limited hardware (Mac) or slower OS performance on virtually unlimited hardware (Windows). If you get decent enough hardware as I like doing, the performance difference in the OS becomes elementary anyway. You may prefer the former which is your personal choice, but I like to be able to, if, say, my video card is outdated, go over to Newegg, tigerdirect, etc. and buy an appropriate replacement (PCI, PCI express, etc.) and know it will work without any sort of clever internet hacks. Or say, for some reason I wanted an AMD processor, that wouldn't be a problem either... as long as I don't have a Mac. This is the same reason I stayed away from 64-bit windows, which was having an issue with a lack of drivers at the time I bought. So once again I say: Apple's vertically integrated business model allows it greater compatibility (it controls exactly what its OS can run on) but also allows it an unacceptable control over the price of its hardware which it seems overjoyed to exercise on a consistent basis.
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