Mac vs. PC all over again

“I’m certainly not the first to point out the mobile market looks a lot like the PC market of 30 years ago; some financial analysts have been using this as part of an argument predicting Apple’s imminent collapse,” Avi Greengart writes for Tech.pinions. “Just as Apple lost the PC wars to a horizontal solution, Apple will lose the smartphone wars the same way. Apple apologists have responded the phone market is different: there are carrier subsidies, lock-in effects, or what have you.”

“Financial analysts aren’t dumb. The parallels are real. The phone market is turning into the PC market, only with Google taking Microsoft’s place as the OS provider. The similarities are striking. Apple redefined the market with a proprietary OS, innovative UI, and vertically integrated hardware. While it took a few years to catch up, the competition responded with a similar UI on an OS widely licensed to OEMs,” Greengart writes. “In both PCs and phones, Apple targeted a narrow high end customer and lost the market share battle, while the competition aims wider and controls significantly higher market share. Apple monetizes its software by selling high margin hardware; OEM competitors fight each other to provide low margin commodities.”

“The problem with analysts using these comparisons to predict Apple’s decline is they ignore the fact Apple won the PC wars,” Greengart writes. “During the 1980s, Apple grew both revenues and profits. After a near death experience in the 1990s – more on this later – Apple reemerged as the most profitable PC vendor. If you count iPads along with Macs, it is now the largest PC vendor by unit sales, too.

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

Related article:
Apple Macintosh owns 45% of PC market profits – April 16, 2013
Apple Mac owns 90% market share for ‘premium’ PCs costing over $1,000 – February 1, 2010

49 Comments

    1. “Google has never excelled in services. The only thing they excelled in was in ads.”

      Spoken by someone who has no idea what Google’s services – including their back end services that are not consumer facing – even are. Or someone who cannot name Google’s competitors.

      1. “The services work, but they are lackluster, uninspired, and utilitarian.”

        As compared to who? What is your reference point? Name someone who provides inspired, better services. Or better yet, let us compare Google Drive to iCloud. Google Drive: as good or better. Compare Google Maps to Apple Maps. Google Maps: as good or better. Google Voice/Hangouts to Apple’s product. Excuse me … Apple does not have such a product. Google boice search to Apple voice search: similar. Compare Google email to Apple email (whether personal or business). Apple has none. Compare Google Docs to the Apple cloud document suite that … does not exist.

        Look, I get that you guys hate Google because Google invented Android and became a competitor. But even there:
        A) 90% of Android customers would never buy an iPhone anyway.
        B) Android is BY FAR the #2 mobile OS. Disagree? OK. Fine. Name the #2 mobile OS. Abandon the “THERE SHOULD ONLY BE ONE MOBILE OS” mindset and actually evaluate the competition. Android is the #2 mobile OS. Better than Blackberry for everything but security. Better than all the failed Windows mobile OSes. Better than Tizen. Better than Firefox OS. Better than Ubuntu. And so on.

        1. Correction:
          1. Apple does have a cloud document suite. It’s called iWork. Just sign up for an iCloud account and you can access it via any web browser from any computer. I’ve never used Google Docs so I can’t say which is better.

          2. Apple provides email via iCloud. I use both but I use gmail more. Google has very good spam filters in place.

          3. Google Maps vs. Apple Maps. Google has the edge by far in terms of data. They have a 15 to 20 year head start collecting data and data collection is their forte. Apple maps has the edge in terms of aesthetics. And I much prefer the view hierarchy in MapKit vs Google’s map API. In terms of accuracy they are roughly the same. Sometimes one has mistakes that other doesn’t have (that goes both ways) but frequently they have the same mistakes. Whichever one is better depends on what you want in maps.

        2. @atlman,
          Dude, … chill!
          Most Apple fans DO NOT hate Google. They may dislike some of Google items but, HATE??? no.

          90% of Android customers bought Android cause they did not know better. I see them all the time. They are not anti-Apple, they just “got” an android thingie (BOGo) and so there. Switchers tend to move away from Android to Apple. Fact.

          Android is the #2 OS. Cool. Is it used for web access??? Not anywhere as much as iOS. But hey. It does most of what Apple does sorta kinda with a little effort. And do not forget BOGO.

          Just saying here. Most of us do not hate Android. We might not wish it on a friend…. but Hey, I would wish Samsung and Android on my worst enemies. Anytime…. LOL

        3. the wonderful Gmail:

          Google:
          “We very openly disclose that we scan Gmail messages in our terms of service. Our automated systems analyse your content [including emails] to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”

          get that, Google reads you gmail messages and SCANS images like Photos to build a profile of you for ‘tailored advertising’ among other things. It builds a database of the content in your emails. Suffering from some illness, write that in an email ? Google knows this and keeps that data so they can target you for Pharma companies… (worse if you let out some indiscretion to a pal, Google has a record of that too … 🙂 )

          I know most email out there is not protected, that providers can scan them but few have the giant incentive to regularly and systematically to do so to build a database as Google because Google SURVIVES ON PERSONAL INFO for Ads.

          I for one don’t feel comfortable letting creepy Googly scan my private emails …

        4. Duh. Google did not invent Android. It purchased the Blackberry-like Android design and then copied Apple’s full screen metaphor and software interface AFTER that inventor shit his pants when the iPhone was introduced. Apple has a good document editing suite that’s about to get a whole lot better with iOS 8 and Mac OS 10.10, a cloud storage system that is now being updated and expanded and it has a solid email client that admittedly has been going through some growing pains recently. Who is this idiot? He doesn’t know WTF he’s talking about.

        5. A) 90% of Android customers would never buy an iPhone anyway.

          Atlman, are you always wrong in your posts? Or just 99%?

          RCB market survey from June 25, 2014: The survey was conducted among 4,000 respondents, and found that 23 percent of all respondents, and 35 percent of current or future Android buyers, would consider an iPhone if Apple sold a model with a display larger than four inches.

  1. Microsoft wanted to ‘put a PC on every desktop’.

    Steve Jobs put a computer in everyone’s pocket. Oh, it makes phone calls too.

    ‘Just as good…’ isn’t a good-enough excuse anymore.

    People are finally beginning to Think Different.

    1. Microsoft wasn’t even responsible for Microsoft winning the PC wars. Microsoft benefitted from MIS infatuation with IBM. MIS people saw themselves as investing in the great IBM, and barely noticed the Microsoft name when booting up an IBM PC. When the PC got cloned and IBM essentially gave clones their blessing, MIS bout cheaper clones believing they were buying the IBM standard. Meanwhile money just flowed into Microsoft’s pockets, with Microsoft doing little more than maintaining and upgrading DOS.

      IBM created Microsoft and Gates. World’s greatest industrial accident and it will never be repeated.

      Even Apple saw IBM is the big enemy competitor, as opposed to Microsoft.

      By the time everyone realized that a monster had been created, it was too late.

      This time things are different. MIS or IT as we are called are not driving the purchases. Consumers are. Consumers don’t buy based on job security, they buy what they like and educated, money spending consumers like iOS.

  2. Well stated.

    The important take-away for business analysists is that doing only 10% of the work (marketshare) and nevertheless walking away with 50% of the profits is THE enviable place you want to be.

    1. The entire era of Apple Bear Bullshit points exactly to the OPPOSITE of ‘Financial analysts aren’t dumb’. Instead, we learned that financial analysts in the current age are:

      1) Manipulators
      2) Lazy
      3) Rumor mongering
      4) Liars
      5) Oblivious of the technology that is the core of the companies they attempt to analyze.

      When it comes to the technology industry, financial analysts have TWO black eyes. All be a very few of such people are worse than worthless. That’s astounding. Who is hiring these people and paying them to write worthlessness?

  3. Writers and analysts need to take a wider look at technology adoption by people.

    People today routinely avoid little cheap small Fiats and Yugos (yeah out of production) whenever they have enough funds to buy a real car from Toyota, Ford or GMC.

    People now grow up knowing quality, appreciate it, and seek it now.

    Buying a cheap crap tablet for hundreds less than Apple that lasts 1-2 years is something people do when they have no free cash. Buying an iPad, people know it will run fine for 4 years or more, if taken care of, as my wife’s iPad shows.

    1. “… cheap crap tablet for hundreds less than Apple …”

      … for the young children as a portable entertainment console to watch TV and play games. Once the child starts to need IM, email, web browsing, or word processing then go iPad.

  4. Apple did not win the PC war, rather the iPod and iPhone have kept the Mac alive. The Mac would have died long ago without the new product categories that allowed Apple to circumvent the Windows monopoly. Everything eventually becomes commodiitized and only innovation can allow a company to stay above the fray.

    1. “Mac would have died long ago ”
      LOL,you don’t know what you are talking about.

      As analysts like Asymco have calculated from financial reports Macs (not counting iPad) take 45% of the profits of the PC market
      Macs makes more money than Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus COMBINED.

      Macs make 7 times more profit than all the PCs sold by Lenovo (the largest PC vendor in the world).
      i.e if Mac existed alone as a business it would worth 7 Lenovo PC business.

      Apple does this by taking the premium segment of the market.

      So “Apple did not win the PC war” ?

      —–
      btw if you count everything..
      Lenovo makes PCs, phones , tablets so does Apple so if you count them all:

      Lenovo’s profits last quarter was 214 million.
      Apple was 7700 million.
      Apple made 36 Lenovos.

      ——
      don’t believe me do an internet search yourself.

  5. Yawn. The premise of this is “there can be only one winner” which is just Apple fanboy nonsense. “Winning” isn’t being #1 in profits. (And by the way. For a LONG TIME, Apple WAS NOT #1 in profits.
    A) Apple’s rise in PC profits coincided with Mac OS X
    B) The competitions’ profits DECLINED for reasons that had VERY LITTLE to do with Apple PCs).

    Instead, “winning” is making profits and staying in business. That is how we determine “winners” and “losers” in every other sector, from candy bars to motorcars. And as a matter of fact, it was how APPLE defined success before the iPhone (and iPod), during the TWO DECADES when multiple PC makers had larger profits.

    But now that Apple is #1, their fanboys are redefining success and failure. Well let me tell you what success is:

    The LG G3 is that company’s first smartphone to reach the 10 million sales mark.

    http://phandroid.com/2014/08/27/lg-g3-10-million-units/

    (And no, it is not an iPhone clone like the Xiaomi Mi or the Samsung Galaxy). Their $400 million profits have doubled quarter over quarter, far exceeding estimates. That is winning.

    Huawei? Before they were primarily known for making very cheap radios and TVs. Now they are making smartphones and tablets – good ones – and they had record profits in 2013. Their 2014 profits? On track to doubling their record 2013 year. 2015 looks even better because their phones and tablets are catching on in North America, and they are also expanding into set top boxes (to go with their TVs) and wearables. That is winning.

    Losing? Is being Nokia, who decided not to adopt Android and now no longer makes phones. It is being Windows, who is losing billions failing to compete with both Apple in hardware AND Google in services.

    That is reality fellas.

    1. Apple takes 60% of the world phone profits, i.e more than all the android, BB, Win and dumb phones COMBINED.

      Macs take 45% of the world’s PC profits.

      you say Xiaomi “Their $400 million profits have doubled quarter over quarter, far exceeding estimates. That is winning.”

      I say: Apple made 7700 million last quarter.
      Eh.. I think 7700 million is bit bigger than 400 million…

      I call THAT winning…
      🙂

    2. Why do you say “fanboys” instead of fans? Why do you feel the need to put Apple fans down? Is it that perplexing to understand why some people think Apple is a fabulous company that makes insanely great products? Is it that hard to give Apple credit for the incredible contributions it has made over the years? (And continues to do so?) Is it that hard to say: “Hey, nice job.” ?

    3. “But now that Apple is #1, their fanboys are redefining success and failure. Well let me tell you what success is:

      The LG G3 is that company’s first smartphone to reach the 10 million sales mark.”

      Oh, WHOW! I’m impressed. NOT! LG’S been in the cellular phone business how long, and they’ve just now topped 10 million on a model? Apple did that with their FIRST phone! That’s winning.

  6. What many don’t realize is that Apple isn’t going for market share as their primary goal. They focus on user experience first and foremost. If they happen to get market share, it’s only a side effect of their tremendous investment in a great experience. Competitors put market share at a higher level of importance, skimping on user experience in many places. That perfectly explains the Googles and Microsofts of the world.

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