Let's talk about ecosystems

Something to get out of the way first is that an ecosystem has nothing to do with the number of apps in your app store. "Ecosystem" was the word chosen to use as a metaphor to describe the way devices interact with each other. The only thing an ecosystem of apps could possibly be is that you have all of these ethereal services that interact with all of your devices, but the devices themselves do not interact with each other. And in that case, I don't know why the devices themselves should get any credit.

Both Microsoft and Apple have proper ecosystems. If you have an iPhone, and iPad, an AppleTV and whatever Mac of your choice, then you have Apple's ecosystem. If you have a Windows 8 PC, a Windows RT tablet, a Windows Phone, and an Xbox 360, then you have Microsoft's ecosystem. Both of them do some incredibly cool things. Statistically speaking, it is the most likely that you have a Windows computer, an iPad, and Android phone, and a Wii, and this is no ecosystem at all.

Let's assume they are both equal as ecosystems. I know they aren't but there are some tradeoffs, so let's just start at equality for arguments sake.

The Samsung Series 7 15.6" laptop from the Microsoft Store has a 2.3GHz i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB 7200rpm HDD, and a 1GB NVidia graphics card.

The 15" MacBook Pro with the 2.3 GHz i7 has a 512MB NVidia graphics card and can be configured with 8GB of RAM and a 750GB 7200rpm HDD.

The Samsung is $1200. The MacBook is $2050. If anyone can tell me why it's $850 better than the Samsung, I am willing to listen.

As a consumer, if I have $2100 to spend, I can either get this lone computer from Apple, or I can get a nearly identically specced computer from Microsoft, and a Surface, and an Xbox 360, and a Lumia 920.

To match this in Apple's ecosystem, you would have to spend another $500 on an iPad (which would require an accessory just to stand up, not to mention allow for peripherals and support video output, all without giving you the ability to expand the storage yourself), $100 on an Apple TV (which, while decent at what it does, only has the few video streaming apps, while the Xbox has those as well as being a DVD player and a game console), and a $200 iPhone (which takes worse pictures, has a worse display, has awful mapping, has half as much storage, doesn't support gloved use, NFC, or wireless charging...). That is an additional $800. That frees up a lot of space on Microsoft's side for Xbox Live and Xbox Music.

Again, I want to know why it costs so much and why people are okay with that. While it's all well and good to say something like, "You get what you pay for," what exactly are you talking about? Build quality? Things aren't like they were four years ago, poorly built laptops are pretty hard to come by these days. I am not going to say they never happen, but Apple's machines aren't perfect either, or else they wouldn't need a Genius Bar. While the original batch of Xbox 360s had their issues, the ones sold today are fantastic. And we have all seen the stories of the Surface's durability. And if it's build quality then why is the iPhone so expensive? I dare you to take the case off your phone and drop it from shoulder height, and I'll do the same with my Lumia (which I do not keep in a case). Now let's do that 10 times.

Is it the service? Boy is that ever anecdotal. I can tell you that I have come across the stupidest people working the Genius Bar and some of the worst customer service ever from the Apple Store in general. I know people for who it was the same and I know people for whom it was the complete opposite. I also know that I have only ever gotten the best service from the Microsoft Store, and I am sure there are people out there who have not.

Is it the capabilities? Can your ecosystem do something mine cant?

I really want these answers. Because all I can think about whenever I see somebody with an Apple product is how irresponsible that person is with their money.