“More home users, and a growing number in the small business sphere, are opting to move to Apple’s computers, their interest driven by positive experiences with Apple’s other products, as well as disenchantment with the Windows world,” Suzanne Choney reports for MSNBC.

“‘The popularity of other Apple products, particularly the iPod, has drawn more users to the Apple platform,’ said Charles Smulders, Gartner’s managing vice president, client computing. ‘As a result, you see this halo effect of people buying Apple computers in addition to their iPods. Quantifying the halo effect is difficult, but we certainly believe that effect exists,'” Choney reports.

“What is quantified is Apple’s growth in the last two years in the home and small business areas, with sales of its iMac desktop computers, and MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops,” Choney reports. “‘If you look at just the U.S. home market, Apple had a 10.4 percent share at the end of the first quarter of this year, compared to 7.5 percent for the first quarter of 2007, and 5.4 percent for the first quarter of 2006,’ Smulders said.”

“Among small businesses, defined as having 100 or fewer employees, Apple has been ‘gaining some ground, too,’ he said,” Choney reports. “The company had a 4.4 percent share of the small business market in the United States at the end of the first quarter this year, compared to 2.4 percent in 2007, and 2.1 percent two years ago, according to Gartner.”

Choney reports, “Earlier this summer, the Yankee Group surveyed 700 global IT administrators and C-level executives, and found that 80 percent of the companies have installed Macs on their networks. ‘Apple’s strong marks in security, features, performance, usability and reliability are indicative of the qualities customers’ value when purchasing hardware and operating system software,’ wrote Laura DiDio, Yankee Group research fellow, in the report.”

Full article here.