“It’s a truism about the computer industry that when your competitors are talking in public about how they’re not worried about you, they’re doing a lot of worrying about you in private. So perhaps Apple should take it as a huge compliment that within the space of a week, senior executives of both Dell and Creative have taken time out of their busy schedules to mention how they aren’t concerned by the announcements the company made at this year’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco,” Ian Betteridge writes for eWEEK.
“For Creative’s Sim Wong Hoo, the iPod shuffle is ‘a big let down … worse than the cheapest Chinese player.’ For Dell’s Kevin Rollins, the iPod is ‘a fad’ and the Mac mini poses no threat to the company’s 17 percent market share,” Betteridge writes. “Some analysts have already cautioned that both men might be mistaken about the impact that the iPod and Mac mini might have on the industry. In a posting on his blog, Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg called Wong Hoo’s comments ‘foolish.’ ‘Creative doesn’t get it and is going to dismiss Apple to their own peril. … You can see why [it’s] going to get beat up in this market pretty bad.’ Gartenberg’s colleague Joe Wilcox described the Mac mini as ‘a potential suitor to Windows users, particularly those who have iPods and enjoy the experience delivered by Apple.'”
Betteridge writes, “It’s easy to see the Mac mini as an extension of the iPod platform, rather than the other way around. And this is what offers the greatest threat to other computer makers, for if Apple is able to persuade a significant number of those customers coming into its stores to buy an iPod to walk out with a Mac mini as well, it could gain the two or three market share points that would make it a serious player in the PC market once again.”
“What will worry the other PC companies is that, in a market where everyone except Dell has struggled to make money, Apple has long been highly profitable with only a 2 percent to 3 percent market share. Should the company boost this to 4 or even 5 percent, its profits—and thus its ability to increase its spending on marketing and development—would also be significantly increased, raising the prospect of the company simply being able to blow away its less profitable rivals,” Betteridge writes. “Such a revitalized Apple could, over the long term, become a challenger to even the 17 percent of the worldwide market that is currently owned by Dell. While Rollins may be right to dismiss Apple in the short term, you can bet that he’ll be keeping a sharp eye on how well the Mac mini is doing.”
Full article with much more here.
MacDailyNews Take: You can bet Apple’s Mac mini is sending shivers through Wintel box assemblers’ boardrooms worldwide. If Apple can execute well, 2005 could very well be the year of the Mac in addition to being the real breakout year of the iPod.