Apple number one in Wi-Fi revenues; led industry with Airport intro in mid-1999

“Anyone following Apple Computer should be forgiven if they feel that iPod has hogged all the glory lately. The wildly successful digital music player has dominated media coverage and garnered accolades, as well as capturing about one-third of the market for these devices. But that golden halo has overshadowed another big Apple hardware success: Its popular Airport line of wireless networking devices,” Alex Salkever reports for BusinessWeek.

“The Airport Extreme base station acts as a wireless broadband router that can support up to 50 computers, Macs or PCs. Apple also makes wireless broadband cards that allow Macs to pull in signals based on the 802.11 standard, known as Wi-Fi. Apple engineers jumped on the Wi-Fi bandwagon early, building Airport-card slots into iMacs and other Apple computers two years ago,” Salkever reports.

[MacDailyNews Note: Apple actually introduced Airiport on July 21, 1999 at Macworld Expo New York, over 4 and a half years ago.]

“Indeed, Apple had seen the promise of wireless broadband when 802.11 was only emerging from standards bodies,” Salkever reports. “How fast did Apple embrace Wi-Fi? According to research by tech tracker In-Stat/MDR, Apple grabbed 20.2% of the global market for network interface cards (NIC) and wireless access points offering the 802.11g flavor of Wi-Fi. That put the Mac folks behind only Cisco (CSCO ) subsidiary and industry leader Linksys in sales of gear running 802.11g, which is quickly become the de facto standard for consumer and small-business Wi-Fi use.”

Salkever reports, “Still, if Apple is No. 2 in sales, it leads in revenues. In 2003, it pulled in $148.3 million in 802.11g revenues, putting Jobs & Co. ahead of Linksys by some $32 million. True, Apple had a much smaller market share in older and slower 802.11b devices, but it didn’t even bother to advertise its products available in that market, instead choosing to emphasis the zippy newer line.”

Full article here.


  1. wats nice is that this base station is rumored to be a part of the wireless player thats supposed to stream your itunes. i love how apple integrates everything and it actually works!!!!!

  2. Nice. Apple is notoriously great for creating and/or adopting technology that many PC users and companies take for granted. (GUI, mouse, firewire, Airport, etc). Go Apple.

  3. There is so many Apple first things. It is shame that average PC user does not know these. PC users should thank Apple minimum twice a day. Wich way is Cuppertino (Mekka)?

  4. There are some things that used to be easier on a Mac, which are now about the same. That still leaves plenty in favor of the Mac, but apart from the fear factor, using Windows sucks less if you try not to think it and just go with the program.

  5. I’m not sure how that comment was relevant, but that pretty well sums up the highest level of enthusiasm people can manage about Windows ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> Macs earn a bit higher praise. (And I have to say, I don’t think Windows XP has caught up to Panther at all.)

  6. Airport Extreme Base station, with modem is the only model out there, that allows you to use dial-up internet and wireless networking. I feature I plan to take full advantage of. I can set up my local stuff for my broadband, and when i go home for christmas, I take the base station with me, set it up to use dial-up and still don’t need wires to access the net, of course browsing just got slower but hey that’s okay.

  7. Yeah, they’re #2 in revenue but Airport base stations and cards cost much more than the competition. I paid $250 for an Airport base for the house and $60 for a wireless router for work. Both work identically. Unless Apple becomes competitive, if my Airport dies, I’ll replace it with a cheaper off the shelf unit.

  8. Good Article. I agree that one of the major advantages of the Airport is ease of use. Set up is a snap. I hope Apple takes his advice and makes the airport compatible with 802.11g windoze PCs. The more tastes of how easy thing really can be we give the windoze community the better. If they want to continue to charge premium prices tho they will have to continue to offer more and more advantages for the Airport over other manufacturers or come down in price.

  9. Recently I have seen TV commercials touting the wireless networking capability of a Windows laptop (the one with the marionette who loses its wires). That commercial makes it sound like they popularized Wi-Fi, not Apple.

    Apple’s advertising still reeks after a decade of criticism. How about a simple, to-the-point commercial that actually talks about Apple hardware and software products? Far too many people are just plain ignorant about Apple products, even those who work in IT.

  10. I agree King Me! I wish Apple would do more advertising showing PC users all the things they can do so simply on an Apple with included software that even if they are able to do them on a PC will be very complicated to do and often involve purchasing more software to be able to do so. A quick demo so to speak that showed things like:

    1. downloading digital photos to iPhoto and editing them
    2. downloading content from a digital movie camera and editing it
    3. purchasing songs with ITMS and putting them on an ipod
    4. Pop up blocking and spam filtering
    5. Expose’

    The digital photo element is key I think. This is an incredible growth area in the PC industry and many potential first time digital camera purchasers are frightened off because they don’t think they will be able to understand the complicated process. I set my mother up on an eMac and showed her how just hooking up the camera autolaunches iPhoto and there is just one button to push to download the pics and she is now fully confident she can perform this operation ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> (She is 77 years old by the way)

    Apple commericals are great and artistic but I think even just a few “nuts and bolts” examples would sway a lot of customers to the Mac platform.

  11. “egarc”, I have not done any price and feature comparison between the Airport Base Station and other Wi-Fi routers, but I can’t imagine anything that compares to it. Apple’s version can be easily bridged (daisy-chained) to others by just plugging them into a power outlet. Making a Wi-Fi “umbrella” that covers a large area is a brainless task. Now add a printer to one and a computer (via ethernet) to another station, and it’s still easy to do. I seriously doubt the competition’s ability to do all of that and do it as easily as an Apple.

    Apple offers control software for Windows, do they offer the same software for Macs?

    Granted, $60 is cheap, but how much will the IT expert (team?) charge to set it up and maintain it with upgrades?

  12. I just got a new wifi equipped Toshiba laptop from work. At home we have two G3 iMacs (a Graphite DV and a Strawberry) and a graphite clamshell-style iBook SE. I have Comcast cable internet service and want to set up a wireless network at the house. The iBook and the Strawberry iMac will get AirPort cards. The Graphite iMac is in the same room as the cable modem so it can plug directly into the wireless hub/router.

    So here’s my question: given the above setup, why whould I pay two to three times as much for an AirPort versus a Linksys? If there are tangible benefits, I don’t mind paying more but I won’t pay more just because the AirPort looks cool because it will be hidden in a closet.


  13. No reason I can see for your setup unless the wireless router will be out in the open where people will see it. It is somewhat easier for newbies to set up the Airport though.

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