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. 2.7% – Few Mac users are going online.
    Why? They still have those 5-20 year old macs that are basically worthless for going on the internet.
    And so one wonders who is using all the “i” software that Apple produces that needs an internet connection???

  2. it’s not that the mac doesn’t have problems, it’s just not that significant to talk about. The average consumer & even corporations complain about virii, which is the major cause of downtime for both consumer & prosumer. The mac doesn’t hvae the problems, so hence why the huge barage of complaints isn’t on this site(check the apple support pages or help forums & and u’ll find the complains you are looking for) but MDN is a NEWS! site. not a support page.

  3. “Based on this sentence, he acts like only Mac users are purchasing iPod, which is completely off base”


    a good point.

    But like all propagandists, John Dvorak deals only in half-truths. (Goebels was good at this.) There are indeed crackpot Mac freaks. But the majority of Mac-users are not crackpot, and the majority of Wintel ‘folk’ (bless their cotton socks) don’t have any particular opinion about anything, let alone Mac-users.
    Those Wintel users who do think (a large minority) are increasingly potential switchers. In Germany (I live in Berlin), Apple’s reputation is increasing (positively) in leaps and bounds.
    This is happening in the rest of Europe.
    Wait for the next quarterly results!
    And don’t forget that a half per cent increase in Apple’s market share means many millions of new Mac users.
    I believe that the ‘halo’ effect is turning into a ‘snowball’ effect, and that people like J. Dvorak are sensing it and getting worried.

  4. I don�t know much about market share but I can tell you this past Christmas was remarkable in my small part of the world. Five of my PC friends moved to Macs. All of them purchased laptops (4 ibooks & 1 powerbook). All of them were fed up with virus issues. I have to think that my experience isn�t unique.

    Apple � Now is the time to ADVERTISE!

  5. I’ve got agree with “crackpot” quote. This site more than most does an awesome job of perpetuating that perception. Time to grow up like Apple is trying to do.

    Kinda sad writing this with a “Bust Santa’s Zit” annimation adjacent to the text box…

  6. charko spewed: “John Dvorak deals only in half-truths. (Goebels was good at this.)”

    Jesus F*cking Christ you unimaginative, dimwitted asshole. Out of all the possible people to note who tell half-truths (and there are many) you point to a Nazi. Go tell your mother to smack some sense into you.

    Look, I don’t like Dvorak. I hardly ever read his crap. But your not so subtle attempt at contrasting him with a f*cking Nazi is the stupidest thing I’ve seen posted on this fruit loops site.

  7. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    Mac market share. What does that mean? 2% (or so) of all PC’s sold in the US, the whole wide world? Apple doesn’t compete in a number of areas (cash registers, for example; except at Apple Stores) so why isn’t the number “from 0% to 40% (in a segment where Apple does well).”

    Server logs from a Windows-oriented web site can’t be construed as accurate representation of the average “web user” whether Mac or Windows.

    For example, on Mac360, our server logs show about 60% of users use Safari. That’s Mac only. The same logs show the Mac platform hits the site 77% of the time vs. 21% for Windows vs. about 1% for Linux.

    Wait? 21% for Windows on a Mac only web site? How can that be? Because many true Mac users have to use Windows at work. What do they do at work? Same as everyone else– surf the web, including Mac sites.

    The point is, even server log data can be misleading. If the average information neutral web site is getting 2% visitors from Macs and 95% from Windows, how many of those Windows PCs are really Mac users who are forced to use PCs at work (with high speed connections) and do their web browsing there?

    Media folks like Dvorak are not too good at slicing and dicing numbers, or understanding complex issues. They try to keep it simple (because that’s all they’re good at) because most of their readers are Windows users, right?

    So, let’s keep it simple. Apple’s profitable and the stock is doing well. The transition to the G5, though slower than we’d like, seems to be progressing and pick up the pace. The PowerMac G5, PowerBooks, iBooks, and new iMac G5 are selling like hot cakes.

    The iPod is red hot and owns the market, lock stock and barrell (except for the low end– that’ll come in January).

    Mac OS X is the darling of anyone who cares about an OS.

    Market share? Steve Jobs said the desktop wars are over (years ago). Microsoft won. Get over it. The same thing holds true for market share. Apple lost that battle over a decade ago. Let’s get over it and move on.

    Great products that work well together will keep Apple prosperous. So long as we continue to buy them in numbers that keep the company profitable.

    I own 3 iPods, 4 PowerMacs, an iMac (old), and a PowerBook.

    I’m doing my share.

    Tera Patricks

  8. Dvorak is nothing more than a mouthpiece for Bill Gates and Company. His credibility died in the 90’s when he wouldn’t tell the mindless, numb PC addicts about the risks and dangers of Windows. Now they live every day with hacks, pop-up windows, viruses and spyware.

    John, you’re an idiot and you probably need to retire. We’re growing tired of your Mac based insults and stupidity….. I hear they have some nice swamp land in Florida where you can homestead…..

  9. “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,”

    The guy is right. Something simple to use intuitively should be cheaper. John is saying most folks are too stupid to understand that something that operates like it were magical is highly complex in the background.

    MDN, throttle back the vitriol and look at the article in its whole. John isn’t slamming the Mac, just examining the paradox of Apple’s situation and showing his frustration. The fact Apple isn’t exactly putting forth a concrete vision of the future with it’s marketing of the Mac and how it relates to it’s other products, doesn’t help clarify anything for anyone. MDN is just validating John’s “crackpot” swipe.

    And market share climing from 1.8% to 2.7% may be a 50% increase between points, but it isn’t exactly a real big increase overall.

  10. Poor John. Sunk his life savings into Be OS thinking Apple would buy it and make him rich beyond his dreams.

    Of course, Apple bought NeXt and got iCEO Steve in the bargain.

    John has never forgiven Apple or Steve and it shows.

  11. Tera Patricks sez “our server logs show about 60% of users use Safari. That’s Mac only. The same logs show the Mac platform hits the site 77% of the time vs. 21% for Windows vs. about 1% for Linux.”

    My server logs show 2.1% Mac share.

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