Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 7th Apr 2004 05:50 UTC
Apple By most counts, they're a hit. But they were intended to woo new users to the fold, yet Mac market share has only budged -- lower, says BusinessWeek.
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It should be pointed out that Apple can sell more computers than their PC competition, and still loose[sic] market share (or at least installed base).

Market share and installed base are fundamentally different, especially from the claims that most people make against the use of market share as a determination of success. If Apple actually sells more computers than their competition, their market share increases to be higher than their competitors, that is the very definition of market share (how many computers they sold vs. how many computers everyone else sold).

If old computers continue to be in use while market share is maintained or increases, then installed base continues to grow at a rate that can be tied to market share. On the other hand, if newly purchased computers are replacing computers that are not handed down, resold, or donated to someone that will use them, then installed base does not grow. Most of the people arguing that market share doesn't matter for Apple want people to believe that Windows users are throwing out their computers or buying new computers every couple of years. As a non-Apple user, I simply don't see that as the case. My current computer is made primarily of parts that are 2 years old, but some portions date back as many as 6 years, and I gave a computer made entirely of 4-6 year old parts to my girlfriend's father, so that he could figure out what he wanted to do with a computer before we decided what he should buy (and I'll probably use it as an upgrade platform to allow him to spend his money over time to buy the new computer rather than try to come up with a lot of money all at once or sacrifice performance for a cheaper system). The computer I work with every day is 2 years old, yet we have a test platform that is easily 5+ years old, and the monitor on my desk is also 5 years old (I managed to get them to buy a good monitor shortly after I started here and have kept them from replacing it with something worse). There are computers all over the place in the office that are older than most of the computers in these people's homes, and over time they simply get cannibalized to make the others work (so 40 or so computers that were bought 6-10 years ago at a rate of ~10 per year are now down to 20 or so computers because we had unusually high failure rates on power supplies, some of which took out other components).

Half the people I know have half-built x86 systems sitting in closets which they use to assemble full systems when they upgrade their main PC (or their second or third system) to the point at which they can sell it or give it to a friend or family member. I have 3 cases sitting in the closet myself with CPUs running from 200MHz to 1GHz, the slowest of which may be disposed of in a couple of years (though many of the parts will still be used elsewhere).

For every new PC that is purchased a substantial amount of the computers they are replacing are "handed down" to family members or freinds who don't have money to burn on computers or who simply do not see the value in spending money on a device that they'd rather not deal with.

That is at least a portion of Apple's competition (and Dell's for that matter).


None of that counts as market share, though, and it is so hard to track that kind of market that very few people even try (at best you get the studies of the installed systems for users of given applications and websites). I'm sure Apple's computers get handed down, too. On the other hand, I don't think they get cannibalized quite to the extent of x86 systems.