Dvorak calls Mac market share ‘stagnant’ when numbers really show Mac market share growth

“The Mac platform is essentially stagnant. That becomes obvious when you look at the declining market share numbers – not from research firms, but from the W3C [sic: W3Schools is the link Dvorak includes in his article: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp , W3C is a different entity altogether. Dvorak means W3Schools, as evidenced by his article’s link to their stats page.], which monitors online activity. As of December 2004, the Mac share as measured by online activity is 2.7 percent (Linux is 3.1), with all the rest going to various flavors of Windows. I’m now convinced that this stems mostly from Apple’s inability to make the Mac a commodity computer by pricing it to compete with PCs made inexpensively in China and selling with razor-thin margins,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine.

John then outline his reasons Apple can’t sustain its position. We’ll summarize:

– John blames a “die-hard faction” of true Mac believers that “hurt the Mac community more than anyone by creating an unfair crackpot image that gets associated with the machine.” (Dvorak has always seemed to hate the fact that Mac users love their computing experience, while the most passion Windows users can muster is indifference at best or hate and pure frustration. However, Dvorak may have hit upon something here in sideways fashion: some Mac users write tech writers to correct inaccuracies about the Mac platform contained in their articles. This may dissuade some writers from tackling Mac-related subjects in the future – which may or may not be a good thing – but, it certainly costs Apple some measure of publicity. We do not believe that “Joe Sixpack” even really knows what a Mac is, much less considers Macs to be “The Computer for Crackpots.”)

– Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “attention to the [Mac] has been eroded by the success of Pixar, and more recently, by the iPod and iTunes initiatives. None of these has anything to do with the Macintosh. Keeping it on track is a full-time task – Jobs cannot be in the computer business, the movie business, and the music business and make them all successful. You see the results. Market share for the Mac is crap,” Dvorak writes. (We’ll explore market share in the MDN Take below.)

– “Much of the problem arises from the psychology created by the overpriced iPod. And Mac users who buy the players contribute to the problem by encouraging the company to maintain its high-margin death march. Apple, seeing it can still use strong marketing to sell high-margin, high-status items, will continue to think it can do so with the Macintosh… Simply put, the ease-of-use and simplicity of the [Mac] platform is killing it, because people cannot perceive that simplicity is ever worth MORE than complexity. Simpler should be cheaper,” Dvorak writes. (Dvorak doesn’t seem to realize that making the complex easy-to-use requires skill and attention to detail. The Mac is no more or less complex a machine than a Windows PC, it is the execution of the hardware and the OS that makes the Mac easier-to-use. Dvorak has it backwards. Anybody can throw together a bunch of stuff into a pot and call it edible (Wintel), but it takes a master chef to combine the same ingredients, but in proper amounts and properly-prepared to create fine cuisine (Macintosh). Making a complex thing like a personal computer easy-to-use takes a lot more work than not.)

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Dvorak’s entire article is based on the W3Schools’ stats that, to him, show Mac market share to be “stagnant” and “crap.” Dvorak writes that he’s “been thinking (usually a dangerous thing for John to do) about this marketing dilemma ever since seeing those [W3Schools] numbers… at some point, declining [Mac] market share creates a relative lack of interest, and eventually, discontinuance. The Amiga fell prey to this.”

Let’s take a look at W3Schools. W3Schools is a website designed to teach people how to develop Web sites for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer using the the Microsoft ASP.NET framework. W3Schools statistics above are extracted from W3Schools’ log-files, and also include “monitoring other sources around the Internet” (W3Schools doesn’t disclose which sources or their weight in relation to their own logs). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that visitors to the W3Schools’ site would be using predominantly Windows and Internet Explorer. On the flip side, if you took a look at MacDailyNews’ logs, you’d conclude that Macs have 91.7% market share and Windows has less than 7%.

However, the real stat of importance, the stat Dvorak fails to mention (perhaps because it blows the foundation for his whole theory to pieces), ironically comes directly from W3Schools’ windows-slanted logs themselves: Mac market share in March 2003 was pegged at 1.8%. Mac market share in December 2004 was 2.7%. See for yourself here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Is Apple’s market share really that important? – October 18, 2004
Piper Jaffray: Mac market share shows potential to increase – October 04, 2004
Piper Jaffray: ‘Apple market share to grow over next two years’ – September 27, 2004
Mac market share primed to explode? If not now, when? – September 25, 2004
Apple Macintosh easily leads Linux in market share, installed base – August 09, 2004
10 percent of computer users use a Mac; 3 percent is Mac’s approximate quarterly market share – February 10, 2004


  1. Hey John — Keep on writing this kind of stuff in 2005, as it does so stimulate us Mac heads to enjoy our ranting and raving. Thanks for all the fun you’ve given us in 2004. Happy New Year!

  2. Correction:
    W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium and is totally separate from W3Schools that MDN mentions in the article. W3C is an organization that sets the standard for web publishing.

  3. The world would truly be a less interesting place if people like John weren’t on it. Seriously, we need people like him because it’s fun to know what he doesn’t, and it really makes me laugh that he actually thinks he’s right, when ‘we’ all know he couldn’t be further from the truth…

  4. The guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
    “Much of the problem arises from the psychology created by the overpriced iPod. And Mac users who buy the players contribute to the problem by encouraging the company to maintain its high-margin death march. ” Based on this sentence, he acts like only Mac users are purchasing iPod, which is completely off base. iPod isn’t overpriced either, because if it was, it wouldn’t be so popular.
    The guy’s logic is just wrong. He has an opinion and is trying to bend facts to make his opinion correct.

  5. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…

    Either Dvorak is monumentally stupid or he believes his readers are. I’ll match my Apple stock against his portfolio over the last 2 years any time.

    What do you think, John? Do people buy simple to use but “overpriced” iPods in spite of their perception that simplicity should be cheaper? Or do you suppose there’s a problem with that theory?

    Call me silly, but having to patch my OS daily, living in dread of the day I have to change a piece of hardware, and spending hours removing unwanted malware is not a signal to me that I’ve bought a superior product for which I should be willing to pay extra.

  6. Unfortuantely Dovorak is right (even though he’s a jerk.)

    The Mac market share is stagnant. It’s stagnant because IT people are largely stagnant and most companies defer technolgoy decisions to these people.

    I don’t know if Mac market share will ever really change that much. If it does it would take a very long time. Most large companies with hundreds or thousands of computers aren’t simply going to go out, toss them in the trash, and buy all new iMac G5s over night. It isn’t going to happen folks.

    First of all, it would be insanely expensive, and for what? Should a company spend countless thousands or millions of dollars so the same secretary who can’t type in Windows is allowed to demonstrate her equal incompetence on the Mac? The Mac won’t make people smarter, even if smarter people tend to use Macs.

    By far, most people do precious little with their computers. They read and write e-mail. They type memos. They create “databases” in Excel. They surf the web. They look at porn when the boss isn’t looking.

    Most people aren’t out there making moives, managing large music libraries. editing HD content, sequencing DNA, etc.

    Next, no matter how good the Mac gets, the IT world is 99% populated by Windows bleeding and breathing MCSE tech folks who have a large amont of time invested in becoming incompetent boobs with Windows. They aren’t going to toss all that “training” in the trash to become complete utter morons with the Mac.

    On these people, the sheere elegance of the Macintosh is lost. I’ve been an IT director for the last 15 years. I’m a consultant now because the last of the large Mac shops vanished long ago. Most of my clients have between 5 and 20 Macs. Once they’re set up, they don’t require a great deal of assistance, and most IT people rely on the problems with Windows for income, to make them seem necessary. Those folks aren’t going to cut their own throats. “Gee, try a Mac, then you can fire me!”

    Not gonna happen.

    Apple is doing a fantastic job of building a much better computer than the typical Wintel computer, but all things considered, Dvorak is right. Marketshare is stagnant.

    This might change over an extended period of time though. If Apple keeps pushing E D U C A T I O N. It is important that students become accustomed to Macs. They take their impressions out into the real world. Perhaps they will contest the stagnant opinions of IT people.

    And no matter how you look at it, Macs are expensive. The cheapest new Mac goes for about $799.

    I live and breathe Macintosh.

    If I was about to go out and build, oh a dental office, I would use Macs because I know the difference.

    The average Dentist is going to look at that cost and say, get $399 Dells. Those are good enough.

    That’s a tough nut to crack.

    Finally, does market share even matter?

    Only if people keep creating Microsoft only solutions. Technology vendors like Apple and Sun and others need to scream bloody murder everytime they find a major commercial or government website that is Windows only.

    I have to go now. I’m going to deliver a new dual 2.5 G5 to a design/motion graphics company. First new computer they’ve bought in a year.

  7. Eric24601 is correct, W3C is different than W3Schools. But it is Dvorak that confuses the two, as he mentions “W3C” in his article, but then links it to the W3Schools statistics page. Whatever happened to fact-checking?

  8. ‘John blames a “die-hard faction” of true Mac believers that “hurt the Mac community more than anyone by creating an unfair crackpot image that gets associated with the machine.”‘

    I agree. You guys make me look bad.

  9. Funny, I bet at least a third of the people who use safari or another Open source browser probably sppof using IE to get to moronic sites design for only IE. Tell me how that skews the numbers?

    And I love how he thinks only Mac users are buying iPods, WOW, I numbers must be growing quick!

  10. Based on the stats Dvorak referred to, the article might as well have been entitled:

    Windows market share in slow but steady decline

    since the stats clearly show it declining from 96% to 94.3% over the two years cited.

  11. *pssst* When he refers to the devoted Mac base that gets associated with the Mac and puts it into a poor light… He means MDN… Making fun of this guy doesn’t help at all. Personally, nobody ever mentions the Mac flaws on this website, and I think it’s about time we began to pretend they existed.

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