I'm a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) disciple, for the most part, yet even I have to admit that Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) is cool. Yes, my home may have a few Windows-based PCs, but we're a Zune-free zone around here, with a pair of iPods and a Sandisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) Sansa media player instead.

I want iLife! I want to edit videos with Final Cut Pro. I want to laugh at the "I'm a PC" guy without feeling that I'm laughing at myself.

However, my admiration for Apple doesn't mean that I'm an Apple shareholder, or even considering becoming one. The shares have soared so high in recent years -- ever since the success of the iPod, which was introduced just five years ago -- that I have to wonder whether the so-called "halo effect" would play in reverse if the iPod went downhill.

What if Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE:HPQ) recent resurgence starts digging into the non-Windows world? What if music subscription sites like Napster (NASDAQ:NAPS) or RealNetworks' (NASDAQ:RNKW) Rhapsody begin eating away at iTunes? Despite Apple's undeniable success, there appear to be plenty of questions and potential threats.

But this week's bout isn't about me and my fears or desires when it comes to Apple. Alyce Lomax and Rich Smith are the ones who will duke it out with verbal fisticuffs this week. Think Different? Duel Different?

You bet!

Duel on!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns no stocks mentioned in this article. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy .


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