Apple’s Mac is not doomed to small market share forever; the ‘Ignorance Lag’ is ending

By SteveJack

On Wednesday, January 29, 2003, in a moment of despair, I wrote, “Perhaps Apple is doomed to 5% maximum market share after all. Certainly, Apple will never hit 10% worldwide market share ever again.” I had just dealt with a person who was using an Apple Performa 5320CD, circa 1995, with a 100Mhz 603e, running Mac OS 9.1 who decided to get a Windows laptop recommended by a chef. I kid you not. The full article is here.

Normally, I am very optimistic about the Mac platform’s prospects. For example, just two months before, on November 26, 2002, I wrote:

Do you think the world is suffering from a collective case of “Ignorance Lag” when it comes to the Macintosh? I do. What is “Ignorance Lag” you ask? Okay, I’ll explain, but I’m dropping the quotes, it’s Ignorance Lag from here on out. Ignorance Lag is a term I invented to describe the period of time between the debut of something and the moment that the masses recognize that this something exists and understand its purpose. Once a product’s Ignorance Lag ends, rapid and widespread adoption usually takes place if the product is any good… The problem with the Mac’s Ignorance Lag is, as usual, Windows. Windows prolongs the Mac’s Lag effect because it tries so hard to copy the Mac. People have to spend a little longer time with the Mac now to recognize its value and superiority over Windows. It’s not as easy as comparing early versions of the Mac OS to DOS, but it still works. Nine times out of ten, I’ve found that putting a Mac onto someone’s desk at work, someone who’s never or not recently used a Mac, results in them buying a Mac for their home. It’s predictable, but it takes time and they have to be able to use the Mac for real tasks to recognize why it’s so special. That’s why each Apple retail store that opens is so terribly important for the Macintosh platform. Those Apple stores are more than blonde wood and glass; Apple’s ending the Mac Ignorance Lag one store at a time.

That is my usual frame of mind. But, after I lost that one to Windows, I felt like Ignorance Lag would never end.

Well, folks, I am happy to report, that Ignorance Lag is definitely ending. Today, that person I had lost to Windows called about Apple’s Mac mini. She called me out of the blue to have me talk her through ordering a Mac mini online at the Apple Store. And I didn’t hang up until her order was complete. Her chef-recommended Compaq laptop had her so frustrated with malware issues that she decided on her own that she was ready to switch back to the Mac – this time with Mac OS X!

So, I am happy to state my belief that Apple is most definitely NOT doomed to 5% maximum market share after all. And I’m gaining confidence that Apple actually CAN hit 10% worldwide market share again. It’s wonderful time to be a Mac user. Enjoy the ride!

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Macintosh ‘Ignorance Lag’ is finally ending; market share gains looming – November 26, 2002
Mac is forever doomed to small market share; I lost one to Windows – January 29, 2003


  1. First! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Seriously, though–if Apple wants to sell a boatload of these, they need to start hitting the airwaves soon.

  2. Apple seriously needs to start telling people about the operating system. The hardware just causes a discussion of equipment, people need to be comparing the operating systems.

  3. To Pete: I agree. It’s about the software. I mean, I love my iMac G5 (I’m a November 2004 Windows XP switcher). But, really, it is the OS I work with and the apps that run on it that make my Mac AWESOME!!!

    I would love to see some commercials showing how cool the user interface is in Mac OS X — especially Tiger. They need to pair it up with the iPod commercials.

    “From the makers of the iPod . . . Mac OS X Tiger….”

  4. Nice Story Steve. Glad to hear of someone making it back into the light. All the pieces are in place now for Apple to gain significant market share. I would really like to see a major marketing campaign kick off with Tiger. Because as MDN is fond of saying “It’s the software, stupid”, and most windoze users have not yet been able so “see beyond the box”.

  5. i finally got my parents to cave in and ditch that POS compaq they’ve had forever and bought them a new Mac Mini.

    it’s amazing what peecee users will say in order to prevent from switching… (i.e. “peecees are better”)


  6. I agree that things have changed. My normally PC-centric family is even coming around. iMac G5 did it, and the third virus destroyed laptop screen on a crappy “state of the art” Gateway laptop.

  7. Um, say Mac & PC Guy, have you been around the Mac universe for very long? I have. From the very beginning, in fact. And the “Jackasses” are the PC nerds who have been sprouting FUD about the Mac from the start – you know what I’m talking about, right? Macs are too expensive, there’s no software for them, they’re toys for kids, you can’t play games on them, and my favorite; Apple will be going out of business soon.

    That rhetoric you are so upset at is well deserved. Remember, you reap what you sow.

  8. I’ve had a number of friends go from Mac users, to PC users, and back to Mac users. They finally realized that going to the PC just because they could easily get software (you know… from… friends…) wasn’t worth it.

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