“Apple is now more successful than ever. Sales and profits are setting records every quarter. New models of Apple’s Macintosh computers appear on magazine covers and make cameo appearances in numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows. Apple’s iPod is bringing new acolytes into the Mac fold,” Mike Langberg writes for The San Jose Mercury News. “Yet despite well-deserved acclaim for design and ease of use, Apple’s share of the worldwide PC market has tumbled from 4.6 percent in 1996, the year before Jobs returned, to just 2.2 percent in 2005. Microsoft’s bland and virus-prone Windows operating system continues to grab more than 90 percent market share… Gartner puts Apple’s 1996 share at 4.6 percent, IDC at 5.1 percent. Market share in 2005 was 2.2 percent from Gartner and 2.3 percent from IDC. According to Gartner, Apple’s market share peaked at 15.8 percent in 1980 — four years before the Mac was introduced.”
“Apple has pursued a deliberate strategy of appealing to a narrow audience of computing enthusiasts. These enthusiasts, the Mac faithful, understand the value of what Apple offers. They are willing to pay more than buyers of what hard-core Macophiles snidely dismiss as ‘Windoze.’ Apple’s main consumer desktop computer, for example, is the new iMac with an Intel processor starting at $1,299,” Langberg writes. “It’s possible to get a Windows desktop computer and monitor for as little as $399, after mailing a bunch of rebate coupons. Such a system offers much less performance and fewer features than the Mac, but it’s good enough for the vast majority of computer users.”
“Apple is thriving by not worrying about being a low-price leader. In comparison, the two biggest manufacturers of Windows PCs — Dell and Hewlett-Packard — do little better than break even at best on PCs they sell to consumers,” Langberg writes. “The Mac’s tiny corner of the market is sufficiently lucrative to support continuing state-of-the-art innovation in the Mac OS X operating system and related software such as iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Spotlight and Safari.So there’s no immediate reason for Apple or Mac users to fret.”
Langberg writes, “Apple is somewhat stronger in U.S. consumer market share, with Gartner giving Apple 5.8 percent in 2005 and IDC at 2.9 percent [sic]”
MacDailyNews Note: That’s a mistake. IDC pegs Apple at 4.0 percent for 2005 U.S. market share.
Langberg continues, “It’s also worth noting that Apple’s worldwide market share did move up slightly last year from 1.9 percent in 2004, according to Gartner, or 2.0 percent, according to IDC.
“In the dark days before Jobs came back to rescue Apple from heavy losses and listless design, however, Mac believers often felt beleaguered and defensive. But now the clouds have lifted… ‘People don’t look down on you — `You’re still using a Mac?’ — like they did five or six years ago,’ added Steve Bellamy, an advertising agency executive in Menlo Park and president of the Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group. Leander Kahney, author of the 2004 book ‘The Cult of Mac” and an editor at Wired News in San Francisco who regularly writes about the most devout of Mac true believers, concludes: ‘Mac users are very confident these days. They’re hipper and smugger than ever. Low market share is a badge of honor. It shows exclusivity.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s not as much about being hipper and smugger, than it is about being smarter and realizing that life’s too short to waste dealing with mediocrity. Most Mac users don’t care about market share as long as we have enough for developers to keep making and updating Mac software. We’d like to see a bit more share growth, if only to prod some software companies to take a long hard look at Macintosh. It always amazes us that more software developers don’t wonder if they’d rather also sell their wares to people who have the money and the sense and the willingness to buy the best or just keep trying to sell software to people who buy cheap Windows boxes based on sticker price with fists clenched full of rebate coupons. Which user is more likely to pay full retail and who’s more likely to copy (steal) it from their friends or from work?
As we often mention, market share is different than installed base. More people use Macs than you’d think if you just looked at market share numbers alone.
According to US News and World Report, Macintosh owners buy 30% more software than their Windows counterparts. Further, Macintosh software comprises over 18% of all software sold, according to the Software and Information Industry Association. In addition, the Software Publishers Association (SPA) estimates that 16 percent of computer users are on Macs. More here.
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Tech writer: Forget booting Windows on Macs, now is the time for Apple Mac to take back share – March 23, 2006
Analysts: Apple a ‘big mean cash machine,’ expect Mac market share gains – January 20, 2006
IDC: Apple Mac 2005 U.S. market share 4% on 32% growth year over year – January 20, 2006
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
Survey shows Apple Macs owned by nearly 10 percent of US small and medium-sized businesses – February 17, 2005
More people use Apple Macs than you think; 8-12 percent of homes use Macs – March 31, 2004
10 percent of computer users use a Mac; 3 percent is Mac’s approximate quarterly market share – February 10, 2004
Syracuse Post-Standard: 3 percent is a false stat; Mac holds ’10 to 12 percent of the market for PCs – August 27, 2003