Windows tech writer Thurrott surprised about Apple’s robust Mac sales

Windows tech writer Paul Thurrott, writing for Windows IT Pro, is surprised about Apple’s robust Mac unit sales. Yes, this is the same Paul Thurrott who wrote just six days ago, “It’s kind of a stretch to think that iPod users will buy Mac in volume… But it’s kind of sad how every little success at Apple renews talk of a Mac revival. First it was Mac OS X. Ok, well, they got that one wrong, maybe Jaguar will do it. Nope. Hmm. How about the iPod? No? Well, maybe Mac OS X Tiger will do it. Or the Mac mini. OK, seriously, how about…”

In his latest, article, “Halo Effect? Apple Posts Strong iPod, Mac Sales” Thurrott writes, “Given the rampant success of the iPod in recent months, Apple’s earnings aren’t that surprising. What is surprising, however, is the Mac. According to the company, Apple sold more Macs in the previous quarter than it has in any quarter since before the company launched Mac OS X back in 2001. In the quarter ending March 31, Apple shipped 1.046 million Macintosh computers, a whopping 43 percent increase over the same quarter a year before. Most of that growth likely came from the new Mac mini model, a $500 Macintosh that competes with low-end PCs and is comprised largely of low-end laptop parts.”

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s quarter actually ended on March 26, 2005 and Apple sold 1.070 million Macintosh computers. Thurrott is confused. Apple sold 1.046 million Macs in the quarter ended on December 25, 2004. So, Apple actually sold more Macs in the traditionally “slow” quarter than they did in the holiday quarter.

Thurrott continues, “Some analysts and Apple fans are crediting the rise in Mac sales to the so-called ‘halo effect’ surrounding the iPod. The idea is that customers who purchase an iPod will become as fixated on Apple products as its most ardent fans and then rush back to the Apple Store and drop thousands of dollars on a new Mac.”

MacDailyNews Note: Thurrott notes that most of Apple’s Mac unit sales “growth likely came from the new Mac mini model, a $500 Macintosh,” and then writes about having to “drop thousands of dollars on a new Mac.” Does that make any sense to you?

Thurrott continues, “Despite the upswing in the previous quarter, however, the halo effect is somewhat fanciful: iPods work well with PCs, but users would have to drop years of compatible hardware and software to switch to a Mac, a process that would ultimately be extremely expensive.”

MacDailyNews Note: Mac sales are up and analysts and Apple are crediting the upswing to the “iPod Halo Effect,” but to Thurrott it’s still “somewhat fanciful.” Let’s get real here: in how many applications do PC users really have money invested? Apple’s Mac mini comes with the following software included: Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther,” includes Classic environment, Mail, iChat AV, Safari, Sherlock, Address Book, QuickTime, iSync, iCal, iLife ‘05 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand), AppleWorks, Quicken 2005 for Mac, etc. Other than MS Office for Mac, perhaps, ($149.95 for the Student and Teacher Edition) what do most Windows PC users really need? Nearly everything the average user would need is already bundled with the Mac mini! And remember to ask about cross-grading your software and you’ll be able to change from Windows to Mac versions of your software without the process being anything like “extremely expensive.” In addition, the Mac mini is designed to work with Windows PC users’ existing monitors, keyboards, and mice. USB printers and scanners can easily be used by the Mac. And, by continuing to run the PC (for a time), older PC hardware peripherals can be shared with the Mac.

Thurrott continues, “Regardless, one can’t deny the success that Apple is currently having with both its iPod and Macs. As a long-time fan of the Mac, It’s nice to see this once-beleaguered system regain its footing. With a little luck and continued healthy sales, perhaps the Mac can climb out of the market share gutter and reach a wider, more relevant, audience.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s long been known that “those who surf the Web using a Mac tend to be better educated and make more money than their PC-using counterparts.” Therefore, Mac users, 25 million strong and growing, with more disposable income than Windows users, are quite the relevant audience already, thank you.

[UPDATE: 1:20pm ET: corrected Q2 2005 unit sales figure. Thanks, “ralph from berlin”]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
‘iPod Halo Effect’ on Mac sales seen in Apple’s soaring second-quarter results – April 13, 2005
Apple beats The Street; posts net profit of $290 million on $3.24 billion revenue – April 13, 2005
Apple Q2 2005 Macintosh and iPod unit results – April 13, 2005
Switching from Windows to Mac? Save money by asking to ‘crossgrade’ your software – April 12, 2005
Thurrott: ‘it’s kind of sad how every little success at Apple renews talk of a Mac revival’ – April 08, 2005
Microsoft dismisses threat of Apple’s ‘iPod Halo Effect’ – April 04, 2005
Morgan Stanley: Apple’s ‘iPod Halo Effect’ is ‘roughly double what the market expects’ – March 18, 2005
‘iPod Halo Effect’ – sales of the iPod are spurring orders of other Apple products – February 24, 2005
Report: Best Buy to sell Mac mini, could accelerate ‘iPod Halo Effect’ – January 28, 2005
Apple execs now see ‘iPod Halo Effect’ clearly paying off with higher Macintosh sales – January 13, 2005
Apple posts net profit of $295 million on $3.49 billion revenue, highest in Apple’s history – January 12, 2005
Holy Halo Effect! Analyst predicts 100 million iPod sales by 2008 – Windows to Mac switchers coming? – November 24, 2004
Analyst: iPod ‘should spur sales of iMac, this is just the beginning of a ramp for Apple’ – November 23, 2004
Survey: 13% of iPod owners have switched, plan to switch to Mac from Windows within 12 months – November 22, 2004


  1. A while back i suggested that we stop referring to Thurrott as an ‘analyst’ and use ‘tech writer’ or ‘pundit’ instead. While i like MDN’s choice of ‘Windows tech writer’ I think we need to revisit the issue again. The recent spate of uninformed articles requires that we downgrade our pal Paul to ‘website owner’ or ‘computer user’ or some such thing. I’d appreciate your suggestions.

    mike k., CEO of the mike k. Group

  2. It would be good if some of the major software companies made clear their policies on cross-grading their software. This has the potential to have a big effect on the number of switchers. Good Job MDN on pointing this out. Hopefully more of the media will pick up on this.

  3. Mike, how about “blogger”? That’s all he really is. He doesn’t really know much about what he writes about.

    Analyst still works for me, since most analysts write crap anyways. It will probably be easier to come up with a new name for the analysts who know what they are talking about, since there are so few of them. How about “informed analyst”?

  4. Market share is overrated anyway. The bottom line is that Mac sales were up and that’s all that really matters. People are indeed switching quite obviously and Apple as a company is highly profitable these days. If Apple can continue to build upon the momentum of the past year, they’ll be doing just fine thank you.

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