In the past week, there have been a slew of articles discussing the huge growth in Apple’s share of the overall computer market. One article discussed how nearly 8% of computers now in use are Apples, which is a nearly 32% jump in a year and another article here. Apple’s notebook sales jumped 61% in a year. Another article discussed how 14% of all new computers sold are Apple (cant find the link).
To add to this growth, a number of articles have discussed the iPhone halo effect (similar to the iPod halo effect). The big difference this time around — the iPhone does much more and is a more important part of people’s live than any iPod ever was. If you use and iPhone and love it, buying a Mac running on similar software makes sense. Check out some discussions/articles, here, and here. Apple has seen a dramatic rise in sales of Macs but the interest in the iPhone far dwarfs that of Macs. Add the halo effect plus an unprecedented level of interest in the iPhone and you have huge potential Mac growth.
Of course none of this would be possible without the help of Microsoft. Vista’s growth is huge but it started from zeo and is in the range of 250% growth year or year. However, that growth happens because people are not nearly as willing to switch to a new computer OS as they are to make the move from a regular cell phone to a smartphone. A computer is already an integral part of people’s lives and they are rightfully scared of making any big changes (especially when most folks fear computers and any minor computer change). Making the move to a smartphone is less frightening than moving to a new computer system.
Vista, as anyone who has tried it knows, is not the revolution that Microsoft promised. It is, at best, adequate. Whenever I turn on parallels or bootcamp, I cringe in fear of something freezing. Components still do not work and drivers are not out. Vista forced me to return to Apple after a near 10 year separation and anecdotal evidence shows that it is making many people do the same.
However, to return to the title of this post, Dell, HP and the other PC manufacturers are scared. Apple sales are growing and, with the iPhone effect + Vista, they are likely to continue to grow for the foreseeable future (Windows 7.0 might change this but it is too far away to discuss here).
Why are they scared? Apple has one thing that those PC manufacturers do not and that they can never reproduce — Apple’s OS Leopard. Dell, HP and the others can build the best computers in the world but Apple will not allow them to run Leopard on those machines. Those machines are stuck with Vista (or XP). As the iPhone, Leopard & Vista have shown, people are drawn to stable software on quality hardware. Apple has both of these things while Dell and the others only have one. Apple’s growth can continue unabated while Dell and the other PC guys will decline and they do nothing to stop it. With an enterprise based iPhone coming down the pipe, a less virus prone & crash prone OS, and with consumers snapping up Apple’s for their homes, company’s are going to start to make the switch (as they already have). When this switch begins to happen in full, Apple will begin to hit at the jugular of PC/Vista sales.
The PC manufacturers are tied to a now sinking (or at least leaking) ship of Vista. If I were them, I would be scared…