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Vizio Puts Computer Makers on Notice

Apple’s shareholders are very lucky in the fact that Tim Cook has the boundless energy of the late great Stephen Jobs. He has a tough fight on his hands.

No, I am not referring to the upcoming battle with Microsoft’s Surface tablets/ultra books. I’m looking long and hard at the product lineup from Vizio.

Some critics will cry loud and hard about Apple ripoff. Certainly the impending lineup look like virtual clones of the latest MacBook and iMac’s. Right down to the beautiful giant magic pads for navigating the GUI.

However there are two giant differences that I see. No retinal display, and no need to see a banker to take out a loan. The entire lineup is all based on the third-generation Intel Ivy Bridge 64 CPU system. (Which has its roots in the Xeon processor).

Vizio starts with an iCore 3 on a 24 inch iMac look-alike for under $900. While it ships with the signature version of Windows 7, the reader should note that Microsoft already has a program in place that if you buy a new computer now, you will get Windows 8 when it releases for $15.

If you’re computing needs tend to run more on the go Vizio also has at the same starting price point what could only be described as a MacBook air clone featuring USB 3 and HDMI. The difference between the iMac look-alike and the laptop is the former has two HDMI ports.

Lacking in the lineup compared to the new MacBook Pro is the thunderbolt ports. Also missing is about $2000 in the cost of entry.

For the record, I have been purchasing Apple hardware for years. There is no doubt the Cupertino firm commands a price premium for its hardware. As the operating CTO for a small international firm, it was my fiduciary duty to compare running Mac versus PC.

In the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), Apple had clearly won.

I want to direct you to a particular word in the above sentence. It is the word, had.

When one was comparing hardware from someone such as Dell or HP, running Vista versus a Mac running OS X Leopard, the TCO was no contest.

Running Time Machine to second drives over the Internet for invisible real-time backups scattered around the planet, not having to deal with fussy drivers and reboots made that expensive Mac hardware downright cheap.

That was then, and this is now. Despite what you read from people just trying to make headlines, calling Windows 8 a Frankenstein OS, they obviously haven’t been working with it.

The upcoming generation of Windows (8/RT/Phone) is nothing short of a game changer. I know I have been living in it on a daily basis for 10 months (running it on Apple hardware).

Looking at the Vizio computer lineup and seen what Windows 8 is doing, everyone from Apple to HP is going to have to burn a lot of midnight oil to figure out how not to get trounced.

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