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Monday, January 24th, 2005

macintosh market share

That Apple’s market share has dropped to a small fraction of Wintel’s is old news. But there’s a new explanation.

Paul Murphy of LinuxInsider points out that Apple’s unit sales have been increasing over the years. That seems like a conflict: if Apple is selling more machines than before, why isn’t the Mac gaining market share? Is the rest of the world buying that many more Wintel boxes?

Yes, but not for the reason you might expect: this is not about rapid adoption of Wintel by new computer users. Murphy argues, instead, that all those additional Wintel unit sales are upgrades.

Apple’s declining relative market share measured in dollars has been due more to the expense of Wintel product churn than to a fall-off of interest among Mac users. Over the longer term, Apple’s unit sales have consistently increased; what caused the decline in Apple’s annual share of market dollars has been growth in revenue to the PC sellers.

It’s Wintel’s rapid upgrade cycle that’s been getting progressively more and more out of line with norms for industrial or retail electronics products, and therefore not falling interest in the Mac, that’s behind the numbers. Think about this for a minute: If PCs remained usable as long as Macs do, industrywide total revenues (aka customer costs) would be nearly two-thirds lower.

Murphy’s editorial segues into the tale of a Wintel bigot, who in spite of repeated and obvious failures of his chosen OS continues to denigrate alternatives. It’s just another proof that the human organism is hardwired for fraud — to quote George Lakoff, “people think in terms of frames and metaphors … when the facts don’t fit the frames, the frames are kept and the facts ignored.”

posted to channel: Personal
updated: 2005-01-24 16:25:20

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