In a declining PC market, opportunities are ripe for an indifferent Apple

“While the Mac line gets its own refreshes, Apple often treats it like a stepchild,” Mark Rogowsky writes for Forbes. “The bulk of the profit comes from the Macbook Pro line that still doesn’t have Intel’s latest Haswell chips, which have been in PCs (and the Macbook Air) for months. Apple had nearly 2 months last year where it had no iMacs to sell through its own stores. It should be no surprise then that where Mac sales had been outstripping the moribund PC industry, lately they have flat-lined.”

“Apple captures a huge portion of the PC industry’s profits despite its small share. But Apple is no longer growing meaningfully on the top or bottom lines,” Rogowsky writes. “That has investors restless, but should also have the company restless. It sits atop a mountain of money accrued from a nearly uninterrupted run of success over the past decade but now needs to chart a path to avoid becoming the next Microsoft.”

“You have to grow or die and for the moment Apple isn’t growing. Making “the most profit” isn’t enough. Apple has a chance to be the de facto seller of tablets and seems intent on expanding its offerings to fight for share there. That’s why you saw the Mini and will likely see a larger screen iPad (13 inches) next year,” Rogowsky writes. “What it hasn’t done so far is seized on the weaknesses of HP, Dell and others, though, to build a world-class corporate sales organization to push its tablets and PCs aggressively into thousands of organizations worldwide. It seems content to let it happen organically. With the cash it has and the sales talent that’s doubtless available from struggling competitors, the time is ripe for the company to build a world-class group that can sell into the Global 5000… It says a lot about how big Apple is that it can be so cavalier about its computer division, but as a 5% player in a 80-million-unit-per-quarter market, maybe it should consider getting more interested.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Amen.

20 Comments

  1. The moment Apple begins aggressively courting Enterprise will be the moment it becomes the next Microsoft.

    Enterprise market is to a computer maker like oil industry lobby to an elected representative: there is absolutely NOTHING you can do without making sure they approve your moves.

    There is still MS DOS code in Windows 8, and it is there because Microsoft’s bigger clients would NEVER accept ANY new version of Windows without DOS support. Enterprise clients tend to hold vastly disproportionate amount of power over the software industry.

    At the expense of any possible future rapid growth, Apple should simply IGNORE enterprise market and let enterprise integrate Apple’s offerings at their own initiative, if they wish. Apple has no problem sustaining its growth on the consumers. After all, every one of those people who work on a computing device in an office, has (or will have) a computing device at home. They don’t have a choice for the office one, but the one at home will be an Apple, if it isn’t already.

    1. Apple’s point of integration with the Enterprise Windows world can be either Parallels or VMWare or some other Windows virtual environment.

      Once it’s no longer need, it can removed with no impact to the supporting Mac.

      1. That is not at issue here.

        Microsoft was successful in the Enterprise because it was held hostage by the Enterprise — it bent over backwards repeatedly in order to accommodate wishes of large enterprise clients. MS arguably has (had) a lot of engineering talent, but they simply couldn’t innovate unless all the obsolete Windows (and even pre-Windows) technologies were persistent from version to version.

        Apple made a U-turn at least four times in the past 20 years (from 68k Motorola processors to PPC; from System 9 to OS X; from PPC to Intel; from 32bit to 64bit), dragging developers with them. No large enterprise customer would allow these kinds of turns in the road map.

          1. And that is PRECISELY the difference. Windows 8 can run DOS software, written 25 years ago.

            Apple kills compatibility layer after 3-4 years. Whoever hasn’t updated their application to run on the new system is left behind, on the heap of software history.

            This is why Windows is a colossal mess of spaghetti code, while whatever the latest Mac OS is called will be lean, efficient and modern, without the anchors of legacy support.

      2. I have it cracked. To replace nearly 100% of the windows boxes on the desks of corporations around the world, Apple should produce an iOS box that runs two apps. One App is Safari. The other app would be, perhaps, Citrix. With that, Enterprises could run their proprietary software. An A7 chip would be great. They need an HDMI out port. They need ethernet. They need a USB port for a keyboard and a mouse, possibly for a USB memory stick. Lightening connector would be nice. The hardware is essentially the same as an Apple TV. They could sell to corporations for $300. They will wipe out Microsoft and Intel with this combination.

    2. The only problem with that is that the average consumer doesn’t want to deal with two different interfaces and ways of doing things (ie Windows at work and Mac at home).

      If work doesn’t give them a Mac choice, many will simply stick with Windows at home because (a) it’s already familiar, and (b) they’re can’t get a Mac at work so don’t want to deal with different interfaces at home vs wok.

      1. Not necessarily so. A different scenario has been playing out, rather successfully, over the past fifteen years of Mac’s market share growth in the consumer market.

        Ordinary users are increasingly often getting exposed to Macs. They are increasingly often recognising the advantages. Many are learning that there is no need to suffer Windows at home, after suffering for eight hours in the office.

        Whenever people are exposed to a Mac, they prefer it over their office Windows experience, even if it means initially learning another UI. Apple can simply continue to grow this end of the market, where there’s plenty of room for growth.

    3. “The moment Apple begins aggressively courting Enterprise will be the moment it becomes the next Microsoft.”

      Or … Apple could redesign/rewrite the rules of Enterprise engagement just as they did with Retail customer relationships, phone/telecom relationships, computer user relationships, music customer relationships, …

      Everyone will benefit as the lines between Enterprise vs. small business vs. individual technology go away and it all becomes simpler.

      Not saying Apple wants to do this now, but as Enterprise uses more Apple technology they are going to be pulled down this path anyway.

    4. As this subject from time to time came back into place, and I already placed this question many times before, here it goes again! How the biggest company in the world deal with this situation? I truly believe that company does not use ruindows in their operations.

      1. I’m sure they don’t, and I’m sure this would be a perfect solution for all those large enterprises that are just starting now.

        For the ones that have been out there for the last 30, 50, 100 years, they are hobbled by Windows, COBOL and all the legacy in-house applications that are meeting their business needs, and must be supported by any and all future versions of desktop software they choose to use. MS can’t afford to lose these customers by dropping such support.

        It is not the question of whether Mac as a platform can meet the needs of businesses; it is about what businesses are already running, whether bought off-the-shelf twenty years ago, or developed in-house. The code must run on whatever they choose to buy. And most of such code simply won’t run on Macs natively. So, no point in migrating.

  2. I so totally agree. Apple needs to get back on the ball with the Mac, not just iMac.

    MS can pretty much send everybody home and just leave one person to answer the phone and one person to sign stuff, and Windows can self perpetuate for the next 20 years. IT people will keep it going forever with no further development effort on MS’s part.

    Where’s the competitive spirit there Apple?

  3. ‘Corporate’ in the way this writer suggests would likely be an anchor around the neck, an increasingly big one at that. Windows isn’t moribund simply because of the lack of imagination over at Microsoft. More strangely it seems rather weird that to avoid becoming like Microsoft it should become… well more like Microsoft. What was a no brainer in the 80s is hardly innovative business or technological state of the art thinking in 2013. No, far better markets to exploit and driving those in to the Corporate underbelly.

  4. I’ve been reading several articles recently about how it’s inevitable that Apple will make s 13inch iPad and how it’s been neglecting it’s Mac business. I don’t think so, on both accounts, I do however think that Apple has been preparing it’s future Macs in a very secretive way, the trojan horse that Apple is using to achieve this is of course the incredibly powerful chipsets used in the new iPhone. Now imagine for example a beautifully crafted lightweight Aluminium shell that houses a retina display and a keyboard, however a shell without a cpu, ram or hardrive. Now imagine that your beautiful iPhone 6 just clicks into place at the front of the shell’s keyboard and becomes in an instance the touchpad, cpu, ram and hard drive of this beautifully crafted alluminium shell, driving the retina display and creating the MacBook air of the future. The iPhone could and should be the new Mac. Just imagine, I did, so I expect Apple is probably already testing one of these bad boys as I write.

  5. Given that 50% of teenagers use iPhones and are predisposed to use Macs, they are only a half dozen years from entering the workplace where they will want to use Macs.

    That lead needs to be groomed by Apple as laptops and desktops (though in evolving formats) are not going away.

  6. Grow or die didn’t work out too well for the dinosaurs. Being smart and nimble seems better. Sucking up to corporate accounts only gets the opportunity to negotiate volume deals at razor thin margins. Why seek that? There is a knee in that curve where added efforts don’t provide much corresponding benefit. There may even be an inflection point, where more effort has negative payoff.

    Apple could go for it, but why bother?

  7. Yes, the Mac ecosystem did suffer a lag as Apple had to spend a ton of effort reorganizing its management and software after Scott Forstall left the company.
    Apple seems to be back on track and we are just now starting to see the results of Apple’s new steamroller.

    1. He did not say “making the most profit is wrong”. He said it was not enough. In other words, it is a good thing, but not enough if there is no meaningful growth.

      You should re-read the article; is looks like you didn’t understand it.

  8. Apple’s strategy seems fine. If the Enterprise wants what Apple offers, make them change their ways to come to Apple’s door begging and clamoring for it. For Apple to try to become the next corporate b*tch like Microsoft did would only taint it’s soul and stifle it’s ability to innovate and make beautiful, elegant products useful to the people who appreciate them.

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