Thurrott: ‘The Mac market is ending’

Using figures from Gartner that project PC vendors will ship 187 million units in 2004, up almost 14% from 2003, Paul Thurrot sees doom for Apple Computer’s Mac platform. Recent Apple CPU sales show 700,000 to 800,000 units a quarter or just over three million units for the year.

Apple Computer’s Macintosh platform “will continue to lose ground, as the company has done every year since Steve Jobs took over. Given the best-case for Apple (800,000 units a quarter, or 3.2 million units for the year), Apple will sell just 1.7 percent of all computers in 2004, compared to 1.88 percent for 2003. But that’s the best case. It will certainly be lower,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus, which proclaims itself to be “an honest look at Windows alternatives by technology reporter Paul Thurrott.”

Thurrott continues, “There’s no debate [about Apple’s market share] (indeed, Apple executives are still using the bogus 5 percent figure). Apple’s market share is 1.88 percent today, and as your own math showed you, it will be 1.7 percent or lower in 2004. Why is this so hard for Mac advocates to understand? The Mac market is ending. Let’s hope Apple has broader consumer electronics plans than just the iPod.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why is it so hard for Paul to understand that the Mac isn’t going away any time soon? Is it too great a leap to imagine a meaningful percentage of Windows iPod and iTunes users checking out a Mac for their next computer purchase – especially in light of Windows’ virus du jour situation and the multi-year wait for “Longhorn?” We see a Mac renaissance taking place. Paul sees only doom. What do you see?


  1. Yeah Paul and the iPod mini is a failure because it only had 100K backorders. Think I just saw a silver mini go for 350 on ebay… bet Paul wishes he was one of those backorders….

  2. Of course I disagree with Thurott.

    But I do agree with the criticisms of Apple’s marketing of OS X. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Mac products work, and work, and work..etc. It’s a matter of Apple capitalizing on that fact.

    Apple needs an Eveready Pink Rabbit with a bass drum.

  3. A young professor in Massachusetts experimented with rockets early in the 20th Century. He predicted that men would one day fly to the moon. He was ridiculed by the local press as “Moony”. Despite this, he continued his work including the development of the liquid-fueled rocket, the gyroscopic and inertial guidance systems among other things. Nobody in America paid much attention as he continued to work and publish his findings.
    The Germans DID pay attention, people like Von Braun and others who developed the V-1 & V-2 for the Nazi regime. When the V-2 struck London, the world stood up and took notice. The aftermath of the war found the US and Soviets scrambling to find and use these men to develop liquid-fueled rockets for their military and later their space programs. The alumni of the V-1 & V-2 programs, students of the now deceased “Moony”, launched the Space Age and designed the Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong to the moon, using designs built upon the work of “Moony”
    “Moony” was Robert Goddard. The NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland is named after this “flake” who had the vision to see liquid-fueled rockets escaping the bounds of earth and exploring the heavens decades ahead of the rest, even the “experts”.
    I see Paul Thurott as one of the local reporters in Massachusetts deriding Robert Goddard as “Moony”. They think that truth is only what they know and can see. They parrot the FUD, urban legends and conventional wisdom of the moment, for they are little more than court jesters. They have no vision and lack confidence in and respect for those who do. They are small-minded, parochial, followers, limited in imagination, lacking leadership or conviction, accepting of the status quo, afraid to step forward and say the Emperor has no clothes.
    Anyone who judges Operating Systems on their merit KNOWS that Macintosh OS X is superior to Windows XP in every way that is significant to the majority of computer users in the world. All that it is lacking is software development in some specialized markets and applications. Given it’s FreeBSD Unix base, that should be easily rectified.

    ” The Tortoise is slow, but the earth is patient.”
    Think Different

  4. Mac sales are growing… but not as quickly as PC sales. Therefore Mac OS X Panther (and beyond) is doomed to vanish in the face of Windows XP (and someday Longhorn). Gotcha.

    Don’t give the guy hits.

    This is the guy who calls Windows viruses “viruses spread by UNIX mail servers”… since after all, ANY mail server, including UNIX, can send mail that contains… anything ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  5. There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. Nothing lies better than a well-placed statistic. “Omigosh, look – Apple’s market share is down to 1.7% and getting smaller. The Mac market is vanishing!”

    On the other side, you’ve got Apple shipping three million units a year, which is a pretty big number in anybody’s book. And they’re making a profit while most PC makers are in red ink.

    You do the math.

  6. The intended audience for Mr. Thurrott’s reporting are mostly Windows users and to them, the OS market share statistic means something completely different than what it means to Mac users. The most obvious meaning for a Windows user would be that Microsoft dominates computers and this in itself makes hardware and software “more compatible”. To use a recent example of this compatibility, look at the WMA format and all the hardware that can play it. Those 1.7% computers are simply “not-compatible” and miss out on all those technologies that are taken for granted on Windows.

  7. Just another Apple is dying story, You hear one you hear them all.

    The problem is this, the rest of the world is getting into computers, china, east europe etc. They don’t have the money to buy the top of the line Macintosh computers. They usually can just get a cheap PC and steal a copy of Windows.

    So tell me where is there a market for Mac’s? Exactly where Apple is building hundreds of new stores, where the smart, wealthy and trendy folks are who can afford quality and appreciate security. The Us government is buying Macs in droves for security, navy using them in submarines, FBI using Powerbooks, NASA using Mac’s.

    People tend to keep their Macs 2-3 years, as PC users buy another every year.

    Who’s the fool?

    Apple is posting a profit and selling units, as long as they keep doing that, there are folks that will buy them. And they will still be around for many many years.

  8. Re Apples market share, we should all worry. In the UK, Lead Replacement Petrol (Gas to Americans) was available everywhere after the phasing out of leaded petrol but not enough cars required it. When market share fell to just a few pecent of total petrol sales LRP was generally withdrawn and is virtually impossible to find. When software companies can generate 95% of their profits from Intel users why worry about the 5% from Apple users bearing in mind the hassle of maintainingand marketing two versions of the same software. As long as market share continues shrinking then this is a likely scenario. It happened to the Microstation CAD software I use FOUR years ago so I write from personal experience. What really irritates me is that Apple could hugely boost it’s market share by just running a few adds explaining that Macs run Office and can be used for virtually all computing requirements, home and business – but they don’t (and won’t). In the UK their marketing is non-existent, all I’ve seen in the last six months are some poxy iPod ads and they aren’t going to get Microstation back on the platform (or convince someone to ditch a PC and all the money they’ve invested in software etc). I’m sure I read a couple of months ago that Adobe had ceased Mac support for one of it’s video editing applications, who can say what will be next. Mac sales seem to be improving but for Christ’s sake Apple, do some decent advertising/marketing for once and do us all a favour.

  9. where I live (upstate NY) every ( and yes I mean every) windows user has really bad virus/spyware problems. The entire system of internet+windows systems will probably be unusable for consumers within a year or so. It’s Paul’s career… he should be forgiven for flailing out in terror.

  10. If all of these “experts” had been right about Apple, it would have gone away a long time ago, and they wouldn’t have anything to write about. So all I say about this person is to ignore him and not to get yourself all in knots because an hopelessly wrong statement.

  11. Clive, I think your Argument is a little over simplified.
    Yes PC’s have 95% of the software market, but software companies don’t necessarily get 95% of revenue from those users.
    Adobe state that around a third of their software sold is on the Mac platform, yet the usage ratio is less, what does that tell you?
    Yes PC users “bootleg” more this is why you have activation on PSCS for PC users ONLY.
    As for Adobe dropping Premiere for the Mac that was because they couldn’t compete with FCP and Avid and their product “sucked” BIG TIME.
    As for CAD you can still get some great products for the Mac
    But Sure the market leader (AutoCAD) is missing.
    I also live in the UK and see quite a few Ad’s for Mac (G5 on TV)
    Your analogy with LRP doesn’t really stand up as the cars on the road requiring LRP is less than 0.01% (according to Gvt figures) and you could always just buy leaded petrol if you wish as it is still on sale.

  12. You can also buy unleaded and use an additive to make it safe for your old banger/classic car.

    There will be less software choice for the mac. In some ways it’s a good thing. The people entering the mac market have to make good software to compete. In the PC market they can make shoddy software and still sell enough to make some money, even if they only sell to 1% of users.

    Also, you have a choice of 50 applications, which one do you choose ? That’s a lot of research to do. If you have 2 or three quality choices, it’s a much easier decision. Curiously, a lot of those choice quality applications are also the ones that make it big on the PC too (Macromedia, Adobe etc).

    Something that IS needed though is reader software from Microsoft. You can get a Word reader for the PC, but not (AFAIK) for the Mac. Without low end ‘Works’ alternatives, it makes begin Office compatible a very expensive thing in the Mac world. (Appleworks’ Office compatibility is a joke and OpenOffice isn’t ready for primetime)

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