“I’m often asked: Why do I write columns about Apple Computer products? After all, the Macintosh has considerably less than 5% of the market for personal computers, and among the business computer users who are the core of BusinessWeek’s readership, the share is even lower. Add to that the fact that secretive Apple (AAPL ) is a difficult company to deal with — which would make it doubly easy to ignore its products,” writes Stephen H. Wildstrom in his article, “Why I Have to Write about Apple” for BusinessWeek’s Special Report, “Apple’s Strategic Shift.”
“That would also be very foolish of me, however. For all of its many faults, Apple is a fountain of innovation in the generally parched landscape of personal computing. That’s why its influence — what’s known as the tech industry as mindshare — vastly exceeds its market share,” writes Wildstrom.
Wildstrom looks at the impact Apple has already had on the music industry with its iPod and iTunes Music Store. Wildstrom covers Apple’s breakthrough portable Macs, the iBook and the PowerBook lines.
Wildstrom writes, “Microsoft gets grief from corporate buyers any time it tries to change anything in the Windows user interface, which has seen no significant enhancements since the introduction of Windows 95. And improvements in Windows are hobbled by the need to maintain compatibility with thousands of applications and accessories, some of them a decade or more old. Apple, however, declared a clean break when it introduced Mac OS X, its latest operating system — the software that controls the machine’s basic functions. At the time it was shipped, OS X could run on only a minority of the Macs in existence. But unlike the incremental improvements that have characterized the Windows operating system, OS X was a true breakthrough.”
Wildstrom writes, “There’s no reason its small market share should deny it either viability or influence. The personal-computer market is huge, after all. No one questions the viability of BMW, to take an example from another industry, or doubts its ability to influence car design, just because it has less than 3% of the car market… [while] relatively few of my readers will ever use the Apple products I write about. Yet as long as Apple continues to push the envelope and turn out remarkable products, I’ll continue to give them a degree of attention that vastly exceeds it minor market share.”
Full article here.