Steve Jobs on iPod nano, Mac’s ‘5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling,’ and more

“Apple’s stock price has almost quintupled over the past two years, revenues have doubled during that time, and Jobs is sitting on a war chest of $8 billion,” Lev Grossman reports for Time. “He has a company with an almost freakishly diverse skill set–computer hardware, operating systems, applications, consumer electronics, Internet services. Will Jobs try to leverage Apple’s dominance in the digital-music space to get its PC line back in the running? Or is the iPod the first in a full suite of Apple-flavored, network-enabled media appliances–TV, digital camera, camcorder, digital video recorder, video-game player?”

Grossman reports, “After all, when Jobs unveiled the Nano in San Francisco, it shared the stage with the ROKR, a phone that runs Apple’s iTunes software and can hold around 100 songs. ‘We’re working on some stuff,’ Jobs says, with his best, most irritating Cheshire-cat smile. ‘We’re working on some stuff. We’ll see.’ He looks at his watch–his lunch date, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, is waiting outside.”

Grossman reports, “For the moment, it’s clear Jobs is just happy to be here. To paraphrase Lou Reed, his company was saved by rock ‘n’ roll. ‘What’s really been great for us is the iPod has been a chance to apply Apple’s incredibly innovative engineering in an area where we don’t have a 5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling,’ Jobs says. ‘And look at what’s happened. That same innovation, that same engineering, that same talent applied where we don’t run up against the fact that Microsoft got this monopoly, and boom! We have 75% market share.’ That music you hear? Redemption song.”

Full article here.
Has Jobs forsaken the Mac? We don’t think so. Read between the lines or read the related article.

Related article:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005


  1. Buy a clue. Apple has 4.5% of U.S. computer SALES. Someone as secure as SJ (at least now that the iPod is a big hit) doesn’t feel the need to hide that fact. Sure, the Mac installed based and software purchase market is bigger. But Apple’s computer market share (i.e., sales) has been going up relatively quickly and, if that continues, I predict that in 2006 even the media will begin to notice. It’s just not as dramatic (newsworthy) to move from 2.9% U.S. market share to 4.5%, at least not compared to owning 75% of the mp3 player market.
    Apple fans, be happy. Let the good times roll…

  2. I think that engineering talent is working on some incredible new Macs for the future which will go far beyond 16%. I think the 5% number is a little to low a figure considering how many Macs have been sold in the last year alone. That will grow much bigger as people get frustrated with Windows lack of security. It is happening already and I hear it every day that people with Windows are tired of spyware and viruses and are looking at buying a new Mac. Then they see why us Mac users are so happy about Apple’s platform.

  3. “5%-operating-system-market-share glass ceiling”
    Steve has given up on expanding the computer business.
    Gadgets is where its at for Steve.
    He is real happy with 75% of the music machine market and finally accepted that 5% is all he´ll ever get of the computer market.

  4. Although it does seem that Jobs sees the 5% glass ceiling as something that will not go away, I highly doubt that is the case. He is merely setting himself up to break a barrier that everyone sees as unbreakable. He is ever so subtly hyping up the 5% barrier, so that when Apple breaks it, they will get more headlines.

    And they will break it. That’s a fact.

  5. That is just the type of thing Steve would do: hype the 5% market share “barrier” just as Apple is poised to smash through it! And I agree that they ARE about to break it, despite the switch from Power chips to Intel. Still, Apple’s market share of US sales is only going to creep up at 0.5% increments per quarter, so “smashing through” the barrier is a relative term, of course.

  6. you have to think like sj to understand him. he is a contrarian. he sees what everybody else sees, but it means something different to him. what he has is a crystal clear vision of the future and how to get there. as a ceo, he has a magical gift. sometimes business is not kind to people like him. that doesn’t make him wrong. and from all indications, he has learned from that.

    5% of the pc sales market is used only because he has learned that to communicate with some people (journalists and investors) you have to speak in terms they understand. he does not give a rats arse about marketshare in a declining industry. pc’s are going to become ubiquitous, but in form factors and functions we don’t see today. that g5 in your ford is an indication of that. the boxmakers basically produce functional integration for a network device. when that is done on a single slice of silicon, what will all the tech support and eyetee departments of the world do? tell you what color the substrate will be to correspond to company branding?

    music is not a shoehorn into 5% pc marketshare. it is a shoehorn (great big one-that you can use to beat people over the head with) into a higher level of functional integration (home as well as business). that market will dwarf the pc market. this is where the rebellion kills the empire-not over the dinosaur pc.

    sj is leaving the hand-to-hand combat to companies who think that way as they drift into extinction. in geological time, a company is only as good as its next great idea. understanding that is sj’s “hedgehog” consciousnous (see jim collins’ writing explaining what makes good companies go to the next level and be great companies).

    google is a pretty good example of hedgehog experience. most people think google is about search. it is not. it is about bringing people to adsense so they can collect from their advertisers. bringing more views is their metric. that’s why you will see them become apple’s biggest threat as a system integrator.

    btw, yo-yo rocks. my 75 year old mother has most of his music on here ipod!

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