I place the blame on the way computers are marketed, and on the ever-decreasing price.
When was the last time you saw an advertisement aimed at the consumer that showed a computer being used as something other than a toy or entertainment device? This gives the buyer the impression this device is easy to use and doesn't require much attention. Unlike computers, car ads include operational details because that's how the manufacturers differentiate between their products. Since the automobile is a very mature product, the industry has had a century to "educate" the market about the critical features. The only features the computer industry talks about in consumer ads are processor speed and drive space.
The problem with the reduced cost of computers is that it gives the consumer the impression that training and maintenance aren't important. When personal computers cost $2000 for an open-price-point system, people didn't mind spending $100 at the local tech school to learn how to use it effectively. Now that they can buy a computer for $400, why spend another $50 (12.5% of the purchase price) for anti-virus software? The industry tells them the box was obsolete before they loaded it in the car.
I'm always reluctant to use the "car vs. PC" analogy because it can be carried to far. A car costs tens of thousands of dollars, will last for years, and only does one thing. Consumers don't mind paying $20 for an oil change every few months or $200 for tires every few years. Most now learn how to drive an AUTOMATIC; don't ask them to drive a standard tranny unless you want to replace it. And I don't lock my doors, but in rural South Carolina with a rusted 12-year old Nissan, I consider the risk of car-jacking almost unmeasureable.
I don't think it's off-base. Where I work, the computer people decide what to buy; we work with Purchasing to determine where and how to buy / lease it.
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