An insanely great misnomer, perhaps the best of modern times, has to be “Apple Marketing.”
“On Wednesday Apple posted a quarterly profit of $14 million on sales of $1.475 billion. Year-over-year profits were down 65 percent with machine sales of 711,000, down 29,000 from 740,000 Apple reported in the same quarter last year. A red flag for Jobs & Co: Apple’s sales are falling as the overall PC market worldwide showed growth last quarter. IDC’s figures of 34.6 million PCs sold last quarter, which would indicate that Apple accounted for 2.05 percent of PC shipments worldwide,” we reported yesterday.
2.05 percent? 2.05 percent! Apple Marketing should be renamed, “Wintel Marketing.” No new Switch TV ads in months, market share in decline while the rest of the personal computer industry grows, and you Apple Marketing guys get paid how much?
Listen, Apple needs to put its money to use effectively for once. Take all of that “preaching to the choir/propping up the Mac magazines” marketing cash and put it to good use instead by targeting a large corporation or two and getting them to switch. I don’t care if Apple has to use some of its $4.5 billion cash horde to get it done. Whatever it takes. Get a Fortune 500 company to switch from Windows-based computing to Mac OS X and Mac hardware. Nobody outside of current Mac users and Cupertino thinks a Mac can run a serious business. Think of all of the myths that would be shattered or altered; Mac software, software compatibility with other Wintel businesses, speed, productivity, IT costs, etc.
Apple needs to show the world that serious business can be accomplished, even increased, by switching to Macintosh. Then Apple Marketing can tell the world along with the switched company’s probably actually effective marketing department. The consumer market will follow, if Apple can show a real company how productive computing can be done with Mac OS X. Let’s see if this company’s employees buy a Mac or a Dell for their homes next time they’re shopping for a computer. Let’s see how much a sizable company can really save on in-house IT costs with a pure Mac OS X environment. Let’s see if productivity and profits rise. Let’s hear from the company’s employees after the switch is in place.
Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Jobs. If Apple Macintosh is so great compared to Wintel alternatives, the result of this “switch a Fortune 500 company” approach should open many, many eyes; especially the eyes of those who really matter, the decision-makers, and could truly positively affect market share.
Apple should approach a large, well-known corporation and slash the cost of the switch. Put 17″ iMacs, at minimum on every desk. All management gets 17-inch PowerBooks. Apple Xserves run the LAN, WAN, and websites. In exchange for cut-rate hardware, software and support, the switching company agrees to let Apple use their employees in Apple marketing materials; including the IT people left in place.
I’m talking one fell swoop here. Get in done in a short time. No drawn-out, gradual transition. Of course, take the time to prepare the employees with a training program run by the company’s computer support people working closely with Apple.
Involve reporters from The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, CNBC, The New York Times, etc.
Let’s see what happens then. It can’t be worse than what’s happening now.
Update 4/19, 6:23pm: I would like to clarify that my idea of getting a major company to switch to Mac is not to target the corporate or enterprise markets, it is to prove to the world that Macs are not just “good for graphics” and Mac OS X can do anything almost always better than Wintel. The conversion of “Big Hairy Company” to Mac should be used as the centerpiece for a marketing effort targeting all markets, to wake and shake people up, and if a few corporate suits also happen to take notice, so be it.
Imagine Jane Public telling her husband, “Joe Six Pack’s cousin’s wife works at Big Hairy Company and they just switched to Mac OS X and she says Macs are amazing and so much easier. And, you know how well Big Hairy Company’s stock is doing now. She threw out her Dell at home and bought an iMac yesterday. I think we should, too.”
And you can quibble about fractions of percentage points on the market share figures until the cows come home, but the fact remains: Apple’s performance record on growing market share is laughable (unfortunately, Apple’s shown they’re absolutely experts at losing share). Let’s be generous and give them 5% right now. Where’s the growth since 1997 or earlier? Answer: there is none. Now let’s talk about my idea or any other ideas you may have since arguing about the exact market share number is nothing but a pedantic excercise and doesn’t help solve the growth problem.
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.