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. I heard this old favourite on the weekend “You can’t use word on a Mac”. Surely that should be in a dictionary of phrases by now. The same person then told me that Macs are harder to use.

  2. The most well known Mac user in the USA (20 million listeners) is Rush Limbaugh. Steve Jobs is so left wing elite, that he misses an enormous opportunity to get to the masses by not advertising on the Rush show. Let’s see some advertising on TV which shows how great and easy the OS is to use, not a bunch of dopers leaping around to crap–sorry– rap. Hi Mac & PC Guy. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. >”You can’t use word on a Mac”

    I like to point out that besides the fact that we have Office 2004, Word was originally a Mac program, quite some time before it made it to PC… MS had to write Windows 1.0 just for Word!

  4. Hey Ron, actually the most well known Mac user in the US is Bill Gates! So said his ex girlfriend that wrote that book about him. George W is also a Mac user, but we really don’t want to use him as a spokesman!

  5. >George W is also a Mac user, but we really don’t want to use him as a spokesman!>
    Would you rather have Slick Willy as a spokesman? Well I guess he would be good as a spokesman for the porn industry.

    Limbaugh talks to 20 million real people in middle America–you know–the ones who are changing the liberal mode of this country.

  6. RON-

    I know this thread is old but I just had to say how funny I thought it was that you think that the mac should be advertised on the Rush Limbaugh show. Instead of using a bunch of dopers…

    Did they give Rush time for his “dope doin”?

  7. RON-

    I wasn’t judging or convicting Rush. I just thought your statement about not using dopers (do you have proof that they do dope?) was funny because he is in trouble though not convicted for the same thing.

    I find it funny when hard right “do gooders” get caught secretly doing what they condemn others for. Jimmy Swaggert was the funniest though. Getting caught with a bag of vegetables and a whore. Too funny!

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