Can Mac mini help Apple win back double-digit market share in the personal computer market?

“Apple’s new Mac mini could be about to do for the personal computer market what its iconic iPod has achieved for the music industry and the role of the internet,” Perry Gourley reports for The Scotsman. “Apple’s latest product is being tipped to shake up the personal computer market and dramatically speed up the advent of the digital home. When the Mac mini arrives in the shops in the US later this month, and probably next month in the UK, it seems destined to become another must-have gadget.”

“Ian Harris, deputy editor of MacFormat magazine, thinks the Mac mini could herald the start of a new era in the computer market,” Gourley reports. “‘Apple has been known for making expensive computers which people have been prepared to pay more for because of what they offer,’ he said. ‘But the iPod has given the mainstream market a taste for Apple. PC users who like the simplicity, elegance and style of their iPods will be tempted to buy a Mac mini.'”

Gourley reports, “‘We believe the Mac mini will increase the percentage of iPod-toting Windows users who purchase a Mac by almost threefold,’ suggests Needham analyst Charles Wolf. What Apple does next increasingly dictates future trends across the media and consumer electronics industries. Success for the Mac mini could have much wider implications than just fuelling Apple’s already rocketing earnings figures… Apple appears on the brink of making a real assault on the personal computer market, where it currently has only a 3% share. That assault comes on the back of the phenomenal success of the iPod music player, which has created what has been dubbed the ‘halo effect’ for Apple. That is driving significant sales increases across Apple’s product range as more consumers become Apple devotees. Its latest quarterly figures, released last week, were the proof of the pudding. Sales of Mac computers have topped a million – up 26% on last year, compared with a predicted rise across the computer industry of about 10%.”

“Bank of America analyst Keith Bachman said in a note to clients that the bank believed Apple was now in a very strong position to grow market share, citing its better media capabilities and virus protection as a real pull for consumers who have been won over by the iPod,” Gourley reports. “Whether Apple will ever succeed in winning back the double-digit share of the personal computer market it once had remains to be seen – as does whether it can make sufficient returns in a mass market where other manufacturers have struggled. But the company’s progress in recent years still represents a remarkable revival story under Steve Jobs,” Gourley reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Does market share really matter? Isn’t “installed base,” currently around 25 million Mac users worldwide, of more importance to Mac software developers, peripheral makers and writers of device drivers, online banking web developers, and the like? As long as the Mac user base continues to grow, developers and others others should never forget that there are 25+ million Mac users waiting for Mac versions of their products – and Mac users’ ranks are growing daily.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Report: Apple gained significant market share of computer industry during past quarter – January 12, 2005
Apple finally stops overreaching for ‘switchers’ and goes for ‘adders’ instead – January 12, 2005
Switching from Windows to Mac? Don’t forget to ask to ‘cross-grade’ your software – December 21, 2004
Is Apple’s market share really that important? – October 18, 2004


  1. Yes, marketshare matters. Personally, I’d like to see it grow to the point where software developers ALWAYS see it in their bottom line interest to produce a Mac version, and release it at the same time as Windows versions. Corel, for example dumped support for Macintosh in the latest versions of their products because they didn’t see it in their financial interest to continue developing for such a small minority of users. Likewise, game makers often skip Mac versions, or release them far later than the Windows releases. I’d like marketshare to grow to the point where making a Mac version is a given. But, not much farther — being too big attracts problems of its own!

  2. Ed– Regarding Corel dumping Mac support–that’s fine–when was the last time Corel has been relevant? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />
    Yeah, unfortunately I cannot recommend a Mac to hardcore gamers. The number of Mac games out there would just not serve their purposes adequately. Hopefully that will change.

  3. 25 million is a substantial base and can be highly profitable. The trouble is that Mac users understand quality, so the crap developers steer clear of the platform. Only the really talented developers can make money on the Mac platform because the users won’t buy schlock.

    Sorry for the blatant truth. As long as the Mac adds users, it’ll be fine for many years to come. Even if they stopped selling Macs today, there are 25 million in use.

    The market share can go down while the user base grows. Simple math. Market share is relatively meaningless, but the media loves quoting it – even if it’s never been fully measured anywhere close to correctly. If Dell sells 100 Win PC-based cash registers and Apple sells 10 Macs today, the 10 Macs mean much more to us developers because those 100 Dells will never have any other software purchased for them. The 10 Macs will.

  4. DanK,

    Not necessarily so. Market share refers to sales, and since it’s commonly accepted that people keep Macs longer that they do PC’s, it’s not indicative of how many people actually own Macs. With the total sales of computers growing year over year, Apple could sell more Macs than ever (which they did last year), but still experience shrinking market share. Of course, market share has nothing to do with Apple’s profitability, which doomsaying analysts have completely ignored until the stellar quarter caused the scales to fall from their eyes.

  5. Developer, maybe the Mac market for “shlock” software will go up for a while as PC users migrate to the Mac who have not acquired a taste for quality yet due to lack of experience. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    I would like to see Apple quadruple their market share of sales of new computers to 12%. And as Viridian pointed out, that will mean an even greater percentage of User Base in the long run.

  6. I look forward to Apple’s Macintosh installed base being 30 Million, then 35 Million and some day down the road 50 Million. If the majority of the sales INCREASE is because of switchers, then this should be no problem.

    Brought to you by the word “case”: “Maybe now is the time to make a case for your office to start switching to Macs.”

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