The causality behind Apple’s success

“Apple’s new 21-inch iMac was October’s best-selling desktop computer, according to retail analyst firm NPD. While sexy, the sales success was partially due to a slowdown in sales of competing PCs prior to the launch of Windows 7,” Jonathan Salem Baskin blogs for InformationWeek.

Baskin writes, “No it wasn’t.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, we’re gonna like this…

Baskin continues, “Nowadays, things need only happen concurrently to be connected; trends cross space and time via the Internet so that they appear not just parallel but inexorably intertwined. Much of what passes for analysis today requires no tangibly real proof of cause and effect other than that two topics can be surfed during the same online session.”

“It’s silly to presume that people bought iMacs because retailers were clearing out inventory prior to Windows 7. If anything, any clearance efforts on Vista boxes would have been a competitive pressure on Apple, meaning that its success was greater (selling in spite of redlined PCs),” Baskin writes. “If consumers were waiting for Windows 7, that wouldn’t have translated into Apple sales whatsoever; it would have depressed overall PC sales, though I have trouble believing that the vast numbers of Wintel boxes and retail outlets were so badly hit by new OS anticipation to make Apple’s sales numbers shine so much better.”

“The causality of consumer choice drove 21-inch iMac sales, and I’d guess it boiled down to very specific factors like functionality, in-store experience, and price,” Baskin writes. “Any schlub can see connections where none exist, and it makes for a fun read when analysts make these grand, expansive declarations from high above. But it’s usually a description of a theory, at best, and a fantasy, more often. The causes of Apple’s success have everything to do with what Apple does better, more creatively, authentically, and consistently than its competition. I think Microsoft or its hardware partners don’t fully understand this phenomenon. It’s what dooms them to suffering its effects.”

Full article – very highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Every once in a while, the searing truth burns through brightly. Jonathan Salem Baskin is a global brand strategist, is the author of Bright Lights & Dim Bulbs: The Year in Marketing Buzz, Brilliance & Buffoonery, So You Don’t Have To Repeat It — 2010 Edition, and writes the Dim Bulb blog. Bookmark it if you haven’t already.


  1. Mac users aren’t waiting for Windows 7, and switchers have already made up their minds to buy Mac(for any number of reasons). Resultant Mac sales are a reflection of THAT phenomenon.

    Besides, if Wintel sales declined, it was because of Mac sales, not because of anticipation of Windows 7. The market has rejected Vista, and the reception for Windows 7 is better by comparison, but still not great.

    Mac sales will continue to grow (year over year) by 25% – 30% for the foreseeable future, at the expense of Windows sales.

  2. It hadn’t occurred to me until I read this article how little I’ve heard or read about 7 since its arrival. I know just one person running it – my co-worker who keeps multiple operating systems around just to try them out – and haven’t seen it in the wild anywhere else. My district won’t adopt it until at lease SP1, whenever that will be. The press and public greeted its arrival with a shrug.

    Meanwhile, Apple’s getting lots of attention, with iPods, iPhones, and Macs showing up everywhere and in people’s discussions all of the time. Macs have “mindshare,” as much as I dislike that word. Microsoft is the has-been of computing.

  3. I admit to being one of those who played a role in the October statistics being so high because of my buying a 21″ iMac. What can I say, I’ve been caught red-handed. But as an October statistic I can say with some authority that the Windows 7 release was completely irrelevant to my decision to buy that iMac. Wow, what a computer! All any thinking person has to do is walk into an Apple Store to see that for, just a tad more than a grand, you’re getting the best personal computer ever made. Period. Nothing from the Windows world has ever come close, and this is based on some 30 years worth of computing experience.

  4. I’m one of these who switched to os x in October. Don’t forget, the iPhone is a great entry into the mac world, suddenly you begin thinking “if there is such a superior alternative to these mobile-not-so-smart-phones, maybe there is an alternative to my windows pc”… And wow, I am so happy with that Mac! 

  5. That is the very first article on Information Week that hasn’t denigrated Apple. Hooray!

    And can anyone tell me why there is always a compliment paid to Ampar every time he posts? What’s with the hero worship?

    How does “WTF is Windows?” deserve a “@Ampar. Spot on! LOL!”

    No disrespect to Ampar, his posts can be astute and funny, but come on guys!

  6. Baskin is wrong. The numbers are misleading as stated. People who bought Macs would have bought Macs anyway. People who would have bought PCs, did not… waiting for Windows 7. It is impossible to judge who out of all of these people bought a Mac instead of a Windows system. None of these short term burst numbers mean a darn thing.

  7. I’m one of those dudes who bought a 21.5-inch iMac. I ordered it at 5:30 a.m. on November 27. That was 9 days ago. I wish that it would arrive already, but when I track my delivery, it says that I still have to wait 2 more days. I hate to wait.

  8. I provide PC support services to many small businesses around Southern California and over the past few months I have been asked the question by nearly all of my customers.. “If I had a Mac would I see you as often?” and going against my pocketbook I must answer truthfully “No!”.

    I even had a few customers actually purchase a new iMac instead of paying me my hourly rate to repair their current virus infected Windows Vista machines because it was actually cheaper to switch than repair!

  9. @Macaday…

    “And can anyone tell me why there is always a compliment paid to Ampar every time he posts?”

    Imagine if Lewis Black had decided to remain a dishwasher? How boring the world would be…

    Ampar’s that funny.

  10. Yeah, . . . we like Ampar, . . . but we LOVE Chrissyone.

    I didn’t contribute to the 21.5 inch iMac coming in first in October sales, I contributed to the 27 inch iMac coming in third in sales. I had to wait almost four weeks for delivery, but it was worth every minute.

    You really can’t properly describe the pleasures of working with this machine, . . . and pleasures with an “s” is not a typo.

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