This week Apple reported their financial results from their fiscal fourth quarter that ended in September. The news was very good, not only for investors, but for Mac users as well.
Apple sold 1.6 million Macs during the period, the highest number of quarterly Mac sales in the company’s history. Doing the math, that’s one Mac every 5 seconds. iPod sales reached 8.7 million for the quarter. I did the math again, and that’s more than one iPod sold every second for the last three months.
Mac computer market share also rose just above 6%, which is the highest I can recall since the “salad days” before Microsoft’s “Borg-ian” expansion. However, I’m not going to jump up and down too much about this number. Why? Because when Apple’s market share was reportedly infinitesimal, I always discounted market share as an indicator of the true number of Macs out there.
“Computer market share” numbers include some sectors of the market that Apple makes no (or very little) attempt to compete in. For example, total computer sales include businesses who buy hundreds of PCs to install in carrels so workers can get carpal-tunnel syndrome entering canceled checks into databases. Total sales also include those computers purchased to be, say, cash registers.
Apple doesn’t really compete in these markets. In the markets they aggressively compete in (creative, media, education, etc.), they do quite well. A car analogy comes to mind. What is BMW’s share of the total U.S. automobile market? It’s around 5%. The fact that BMW doesn’t compete in all facets of the market keeps its market share numbers small. BMW doesn’t make pickup trucks (but if they did they would rock) or econo-boxes (but if they did, they would be, well, really cool looking econo-boxes). They do, however, sell a lot of high-quality cars in the markets they choose to compete in.
So what does “more people buying Macs” and “Apple making tons of money” do for me when I sit down at my Mac to do cool stuff? More Macs means more third-party software developers can make cool stuff for Macs and make a profit doing it.
More Apple profits mean more Apple research and development, which means more great software and hardware. After all, SOMEONE in the industry has to innovate.
Oh, this just in. Microsoft’s new Vista operating system lets your PC go to sleep when not in use. It’s been a Mac feature for a long time.
© 2006 Peter F. Zimowski