How Apple took over the only segment of the PC market that still matters

“In recent years, most attention has been focused on the eye-popping numbers associated with the iPhone and iPad lines, which sold 150 million and 71 million units, respectively, in Apple’s 2013 fiscal year,” Ed Bott writes for ZDNet.

“Compared to those stratospheric sales volumes, the Mac division appears downright anemic, selling a total of only 16.3 million units in the company’s 2013 fiscal year, the last full year to be reported,” Bott writes. “Macs similarly represent only a tiny percentage of the global PC market, with less than 6 percent of the 300 million PCs sold last year having an Apple logo on them.”

“But those numbers are deceiving. Macs are still enormously profitable, and their high average selling price makes this division a formidable cash cow. In addition, Apple’s product planners have shrewdly targeted the most important segment of the market, the only segment that’s growing and the one that is by far the most profitable,” Bott writes. “Gartner estimates that only 22 million premium ultramobiles were sold in all of 2013. That gives Apple nearly 30 percent of this fast-growing market, which Gartner forecasts to grow by roughly 50 percent this year and more than 70 percent in 2015. It’s also a profitable segment, with average selling prices of $1000 or more.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s Mac is en route to dominance – July 29, 2014
Apple’s Q314: Surging Mac defies a shrinking Windows PC market – July 24, 2014
Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers – October 23, 2012
Apple Mac owns 90% market share for ‘premium’ PCs costing over $1,000 with $499 iPad coming soon – February 1, 2010
NPD: Apple grabbed 91% share of premium computer market in June – July 23, 2009


  1. All of the people I know, long time Windows sufferers all, who are in the market for a new PC, are rightfully scared to death of Windows 8 (or whatever version they’re up to by now). I recommend to every one of them that they get a Mac. Most of them have taken my advice. A lot of them want to run Microsoft Office. When they find out that they have to buy a license to Parallels or VMWare, plus a license to Windows, plus a license to Office, it’s not to hard for me to convince them to at least try Apple’s productivity suite. I see a very bright future for Apple.

    1. I go to seminars that demonstrate scientific software, sometimes several times per year. Some of this software only runs on Windows. At the last seminar, 11 of the 16 in attendance who were sampling the software were using MacBooks, mostly Pros. Clearly, a lot of scientists and engineers who are in need of reliable large number crunching ability know the value of running Windows on a Mac.

      1. Saw a similar shot in a Microsoft developer conference, which Ballmer supposedly threw a fit (or chair) over.

        I run SolidWorks 3D CAD on a MBP and as long as Windows stays off the Internet it doesn’t crash.

    2. Its going to be a long time before Apple’s productivity suite is on par with Office. Don’t get me wrong, I despise MS as much as the next on here but Office is well above iWork in usability and friendliness. And you dont need Parallels or VMWare, you can still get Office 2011 for mac, the last version before they started messing with the UI to make it confusingly ugly

      1. Not sure I would want to recommend 4 year old software on a brand new Mac, but it’s worth noting. Thanks. As far as iWork goes, it does the job for me, and I’m a pretty heavy spreadsheet user.

    3. I develop on Windows and Mac and have two identical MacBook Pro Retinas sitting side by side to do it. With Dropbox syncing development files I can develop on Mac and instantly test on the WinMac. Plus the second Mac acts as a live backup in the unlikely case of any hardware failure.

      This is has been more productive than running Windows on an OEM PC where I always ended up with weird Windows behavior eventually after installing/uninstalling a lot of tools. Windows just runs better on a Mac.

  2. Leonovo rules the PC space and HP is back in the game… Apple will always sit around 5 to 6%. Tablets are a dying breed and yes Apple will be fine for another few cycles with their NFC large form factor phones, but then what? HealthCare industry growth will be stalled by bureaucracy and economic realities always affect the high price high margin products. There is no rhyme or reason for a Samsung driven MacBook to cost as much as it does. End of Story!

    1. HP barely sustained a profit in its earnings call yesterday. The PC business is a loser for them.

      Lenovo has made strides because they compete in the midrange and upper end.

      There are vastly more Windows 8 machines out there than you might think.

      worry about what your competitors are doing, or pretty soon they’ll be doing you.

    2. Yah, it will be a long time before Macs run the cash registers and BestBuy. Howver, iPads are already making inroads in retail. I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you, suggesting that Lenovo and HP will rule the desktop forever, or that desktop systems will dominate forever. There will always be a place for pickup trucks, but I suspect that 5-10 years from now, you will have proven to be dead wrong about which platforms are used for most day to day computing tasks. End of story!

    3. “…but then what?” Clowns like you have been regurgitating this same bullshit about Apple for decades. After the iMac. After the iPod. After the iPhone. After the iPad. And each iteration of these respective products. It’s always a downhill slide right over the horizon until Apple shows us “then what” and you disappear. “Then what” isn’t symptomatic of Apple lacking innovation, it simply means you’re a dullard with a lack of imagination in regard to the future.

    4. Lenovo?

      lenovo is a hotdog stand compared to apple

      Last quarter Lenovo made: 214 Million profit
      Apple made: 7700 million (7.7 billion)

      do you want to be apple or the ‘Ruling’ Lenovo?


      “There is no rhyme or reason for a Samsung driven MacBook to cost as much as it does”

      First MacBooks aren’t assembled by Samsung. Second Macs cost the way they do due to superior components, design, software. Samsung switched out their own more expensive Exynos chips in their S4 last year and replaced them with cheaper Qualcomm Snapdragon chips . So even samsung cannot afford their own high end stuff! And they shove cheaper stuff to their fans! (after giving 8 core Exynos to reviewers they did a bait and switch on users and replaced them with 4 core Snapdragons in millions of phones… ! lol. BTW top of the line samsung phones have – 32 bit – processors made by Qualcomm, an OS by Google stolen from Apple and body designs stolen from Apple. What did Samsung invent? Samsung is just a packager. Apple masterminds the processors, the OS and the designs)

      (read my long post below for more info)

    1. Windows 8 sucks. I now use Windows 7. When Microsoft begins charging for updates/patches in a few months I will be purchasing my first Mac and leaving Microsoft completely.

    2. Those who are allowed to pick their own computers, usually get as far away as they possibly can get, from Windows 8 and it’s mutant brothers and sisters.

      The best way is to buy a Mac.

    3. Then there are those of us who have to use Windows, and suffer thru every minute of it.

      Bill Gates should still be tried in the World Court for the crimes against Humanity that are Windows.

  3. Apple take the majority of the profit. That’s the only statistic that counts on the end.
    Also apple capture the web consumption market withe the iPad. Combined the market share is impressive.

  4. The same old story that has been told for decades in the Apple versus Wintel PC wars and is now being repeated in the iOS versus Android wars: “Apple is getting the customers that actually matter.” Please. Lenovo, HP, Acer, Dell, Asus, Samsung etc. are all making money selling Windows PCs and now Chromebooks. Most of those same players plus HTC, LG, Sony (who was also a profitable PC maker for a long time) and Xiaomi are making money selling Android phones and tablets (and soon Android-based PCs will cease being a novelty item). Also, a lot of the PC makers also make hardware used for enterprise servers. As Apple failed to succeed in the enterprise server market, such servers are either IBM mainframe type systems (which is facing a steep decline) or they run server versions of Windows or Linux. After giving their PC business to Lenovo 10 years ago, IBM is going to give their x86 server business to Lenovo next year, meaning that most enterprise PCs AND enterprise servers are going to be on Lenovo hardware, whether the software is Windows desktop, Windows server, Linux server or ChromeOS. So you tell me that Lenovo’s segment of the hardware market doesn’t matter. They’ll make a ton more money selling hardware to enterprises than Apple will pushing iPads with IBM big data apps.

    Honestly, there is more than 1 way to skin a cat, so there is more than one way to make money. You can either be Mercedes and BMW and sell a few expensive cars, or you can be Ford and Toyota and sell a lot of reasonably-priced cars. Just as it would be idiotic of Mercedes and BMW drivers to trash Ford and Toyota for making BILLIONS while selling affordable cars, knocking Microsoft, Google, Lenovo etc. for selling cheaper but still very capable devices is absurd.

    If Apple was all there was, there would be a lot fewer people using and creating technology because of the high cost of entry, and not just in America but ESPECIALLY in the developing world where an Apple device actually costs a large chunk of a person’s entire annual salary. Just as if BMW and Ferrari were the only auto manufacturers, there would be a lot more people relying on bicycles and public transportation. The result: there would be a lot fewer people able to afford Macs and iPads in the first place.

    1. LOL

      in the phone space: iPhone takes 60% of the world’s phone profits

      in the PC space: Macs take 40-50% of the world’s PC profits

      i.e in Phones iPhone make more than all the Android, Win, BB and Dumbphones COMBINED.
      in Macs it makes near equal all the PC companies in the world.
      i.e it makes as much as Acer, Lenovo , Sony, Dell, HP etc COMBINED

      (by by the way Dell got sold, IBM stopped making PCs, Balmer got fired, Compaq gone, Gateway gone, HP debating whether to stop making PCs at all, Motorola losing money, HTC losing money… meanwhile Apple hums along)


      Last quarter Lenovo made: 214 Million profit
      Apple made: 7700 million (7.7 billion)
      i.e Apple made 37 Lenovos!
      (You said “Lenovo rules the PC ” WELL SAID because PCs are a dud!)

      do you want to be apple or the ‘Ruling’ Lenovo?

      AND the reason why apple is so profitable is NOT because it doesn’t give MAX for money (over and over again studies show Apple products give best return of investment), it is superior business skill.

      To give you an example to sell it’s shit, Samsung spends FOUR times Apple in advertising. It has to rely on money losing gimmicks like Buy Get One Free. it makes DOZENS of models of phones : so more production costs with slew of different parts, more packaging costs (they are packaged different), more inventory and warehousing , AND they have ALSO A GIANT UNSOLD AND RETURN RATE PROBLEM. The most (wrongly) lambasted iPhone the antenna gate iPhone 4 had a return rate of about 1%, the samsung smart watch according to analysts exceed 30%. The ‘flop’ iPhone 5C OUTSOLD the Galaxy s4 and the Galaxy S5.
 (A Samsung consumer is paying for all Samsung’s massive ad, production, returns, warehousing costs! That’s why the top Galaxy phones are made of Plastic so Samsung can save money… )

      And Because they don’t make money they canNOT innovate!
      The biggest breakthroughs in PCs last year was the Mac Pro (where the Lenovo innovations?) and the biggest in mobile was iPhone’s fingerprint sensor and 64 bit chip. (one year later Samsung’s fingerprint sensor doesn’t work and NO android phone is currently 64 bit, no 64 bit OS either… )

      Apple rules the money, Apple rules innovation.

      1. to clarify the above reply was a ‘cut and paste’ and doesn’t address directly all the issues brought up by atlman.

        Atlman and his ilk have been trolling here for weeks (lenovo rules, Samsung king etc) that I’m just giving them the standard reply. 🙂

  5. “Macs similarly represent only a tiny percentage of the global PC market, with less than 6 percent of the 300 million PCs sold last year having an Apple logo on them.”

    The growth potential of this market is where great wealth building could be achieved for AAPL investors. It will take a new CEO to realize this. In the meantime, let’s just have a good time with gadgets and try not to think about the $100 share price being celebrated as some kind of achievement deserving celebration. It’s not. When decision makers (board members) at Cupertino realize this, if ever they do, there is no limit to the value of our shares.

    1. Mission, Jay, mission. Apple’s mission is not to satisfy the needs of business. If there truly were that much money to be made, there would either be new entrants into the market or the existing suppliers would be doing better. Apple “sits at the crossroads between liberal arts and technology.” That is their mission. The individual consumer will pay for that, business will not. This has NOTHING to do with who sits in the CEO chair nor with who sits on the board. I think you actually know that but hate Tim Cook so much you look for reason de jour to say he’s doing a poor job and needs to go.

        1. Actually, he never responds, so I don’t think I’m feeding him. What I am doing is providing a counterpoint so that new MDN readers don’t come across his postings and think there’s anything to what he says. I do think he reads the responses because over time his reasons why he feels Tim Cook is evil spawn have changed.

  6. How did Apple took over the only segment of the PC market that still matters?

    While others were courting Enterprise and IT managers assuming the consumer sheep would follow, Apple made products that the more informed consumer would crave. IT was dragged along kicking and screaming.

    1. PC makers with Windows assumed they would sell crap hardware forever!

      Henry Ford learned the same hard lesson by keeping the Model T in production LONG after its competitors introduced more modern, easily driven and reliable vehicles. The Model A was arguably obsolete after WW1, yet it survived until 1927.

      Consumers get smart in a hurry when worthwhile innovations arrive.

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