“There is much exuberance in the Mac orbit this week over news from market research and analysis firm Gartner Group that Apple has edged past Taiwan-based Acer into third-place spot for computer sales volume in the U.S. with 8.5 percent of the domestic personal computer market, although it still ranks sixth globally. However, domestically, according to Gartner estimates, Apple’s sales now surpass all competitors save for for Dell and HP, showing amazing sales growth of 38.1 percent year-over-year, and that’s with fourth-place Acer having gobbled up Gateway and Packard Bell whose sales are included in the Acer total. Gartner’ market research competitor IDC in its report this week pegged Apple’s gains somewhat lower, at a 7.8 percent share, up from 6.2 percent a year earlier, and with slightly slower growth (31.7%), locked in a virtual dead heat with Acer (Apple trailing by 2,000 units), but the trend is the same with Apple shipping an estimated 2.37 million Macs worldwide in the quarter,” Charles W. Moore writes for Applelinks.

“Apple at either 8.5 percent or 7.8 percent of the [U.S] personal computer market (up from 6.4 or 6.2 percent in the quarter a year earlier) is a figure unheard of by a generation or two of Mac-Users,” Moore writes. “[In 1995] Apple’s share was just under five percent of the PC market, which is arguably a more realistic figure to use as a comparative base-line for today’s figures… [Given] that the prices Apple charged for its hardware systems in the mid-90s had essentially ceded the mass market for the PC as a commodity to DOS/Windows by default… it was a pretty impressive showing that the Mac had as much as five percent.”

“Just how remarkable that figure was slowly morphed into focus… with the Mac’s market share nadir being plumbed in ’95 – ’96 at just above two percent in those dark days when virtually all news mention of Apple was preceded by the descriptor ‘beleaguered,’ and there was much serious and not-unwarranted speculation that the company might be taken over or even fold and disappear as so many of its competitors of the early-’80s era had,” Moore writes.

Moore writes, “But then in 1997, Steve Jobs returned… [and today] Apple’s prospects are looking brighter than they have in nearly two decades, and 10 percent or more market share now seems easily in reach, probably before this decade is out.”

Full article here.