New Mac mini could make Apple ‘a serious player in the PC market once again’

“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.

28 Comments

  1. Dell tried to sell Linux boxes for a while, but gave up when the support issues exploded – Linux is just not ready for the normal end-user.

    BUT OSx is ready for the normal end user.

    Safe, secure and stable….

    Yup, it’s going to be a really really tough year for the box assemblers – and just wait until the new lower cost Apple laptops hit the market.

    (The PowerBook reached end of life cycle yesterday – so something is happening!

  2. I have converted about 15 friends and family to Mac over the last 5 years. My most formiddable holdout (we all have one don’t we?) has just caved in under the no-brainer of the Mac mini and is finally go to go apple!

  3. I think that’s why we haven’t really seen a sub $500 Mac until now. OS 10.3 has proven it’s ready for a worldwide userbase. It’s taken it’s lumps up to know, and blossomed beautifully. It’s now time to take off the gloves and start bringing more into the fold. I was talking to a friend tonight about why Apple would decide to jump into the low end market after so long saying they weren’t interested in it, couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. I think it’s more than just the iPod Halo factor. 3 things had to fall into place, and that was just one of them. The other 2 had to be the following…

    OS X is finally at a point where it is ready for the world to use it. And it’s time to show Windows users that there is a secure, stable, easy to use, and complete alternative to Windows. As great as OS X has been, up til now, it’s not been quite…there…yet.

    Lastly, Steve had to find a way to put a Mac in every home and be damned certain that by doing so, it wasn’t going to break Apple’s back. They’ve found that solution and put it together as the Mac Mini. It’s small, affordable, cute, comes with OS X, Just Plain Works, and 70%+ of average households can actually afford to get one (or 2) of them.

    You’ve got the Hat Trick which is what’s got Apple top-of-mind with people through the iPod, you’ve got the Mac Mini which will pull them in, and OS X which will let them know it’s Okay to stay, and they’re gonna love it here.

    How could this not have been planned all along?

  4. Dell has to be worried. They depend on Intel (and others) for the hardware and MS for the OS. Their value-added is just putting together other companies’ stuff in an efficient maner. As long as those other companies’ stuff is perceived to be good or just OK then Dell can survive. Intel hardware is having problems (they are recanting their mantra about faster is better), and people are waking up to the inherent problems with the MS OS. Dell has nowhere to go if Intel and MS slip, nothing to offer on their own. There will be no reason for their existence. They could just evaporate (sublimate maybe?!) relatively quickly. So quickly that there won’t even be time to give the shareholders their money back. Dell has to be worried.
    This post brought to you by the magic word “days” as in the possible lifetime left to Dell can be measured in days.

  5. Regarding DELL – wel the’re a losy cause.

    If windblows longhorn is finally released and it’s a buggy piece of shit betaware (which is normal for M$ – to released unfinished software to it’s ‘sheep’ market) – then DELL will be in BIG trouble!!

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