Mac Attack

John Kirk / September 17th, 2012

At the Apple Special Event held on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, Tim Cook announced these facts regarding Apple’s Mac Computers:

1) Mac notebooks rank #1 in market share in the U.S. for the last 3 months.
2) Mac notebooks had 27% market share in July.
3) The Mac has outgrown the PC for 6 straight years.
4) The difference in the rate of growth between the Mac and the PC for the last quarter was significant – 15% to 2%

Four observations:

First, I think we can somewhat discount points 3 and 4, above. The Mac is growing from a smaller base, so it’s mathematically easier for its percentage growth to be greater than that of the PC.

Second, Apple is cherry picking their most favorable numbers here since this is only in the U.S. and it’s only notebooks. Still 27% notebook market share in the U.S. is significant. Notebooks are where the action is in PCs today and the U.S. is an important market. With 27% sales, the Mac should no longer be deemed a “niche” product.

Third, there isn’t a Mac sold for less than $999. Apple’s critics are always harping on the fact that Macs are too expensive but consumers obviously don’t think that is much of an issue.

Fourth and finally, if Mac notebook market share is #1 in the U.S. for the past 3 months, where does that leave, Dell, HP, Asus, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo, Acer, etc? As noted before, the Mac is sold for $999 and up. It’s always maintained high margins while most other computer manufacturers have been involved in a profit destroying “race to the bottom”. If the Mac, which dominates in margins, is starting to take market share too, there will simply be no profits left for the other PC manufacturers. They’re surviving on crumbs already.

The PC industry is losing unit sales to the iPad from below and having their profits skimmed by the Mac from above. Based on the facts that we currently have, that trend is only going to accelerate. What are the PC manufacturers to do?

Ultrabooks have not been the answer…yet. So I can only assume that PC manufacturers are putting most of their faith in the various Windows 8 tablet form factors. That’s an awful lot of “eggs” in just one basket. Will customers “shell” out the big bucks for the new PC form factors? Or will the the “yolk” be on the PC manufacturers?

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • pawhite524

    All good points. Excuse me while I rinse-those puns were like sucking on a lemon!

    Not to worry, I’ll keep reading your articles. Anyone who makes as much sense as you do on a remarkably regular basis deserves a loyal audience.

    • FalKirk

      Thank you for your kind words, pawhite524. My analysis isn’t always egg-zactly correct or even all it’s “cracked” up to be, but so long as I have intelligent readers like you to keep me in line, I’ll hang in there ’till the chickens come home to roost and try hard not to cluck things up.

      • pawhite524

        Soooo, tell me if I’m reading between the (your) lines correctly: “Stock up on that lemon juice rinse, we’re in for some eggs-citing times!”

        Agreed! ;^)

      • Rich

        Nice fry, John.

  • steve_wildstrom

    Another suspect point on those Mac market share numbers: Apple doesn’t say so, but those numbers appear to be retail only. So they not only exclude a large number of commercial Windows notebooks sold to enterprise customers through direct channels, but the average selling price of those commercial laptops is significant higher than the average price at retail,

    • FalKirk

      Good point, Steve.

    • Douglas

      Good point but it also highlights Microsoft’s (and pc manufacturers) dilemma – they are losing the consumer market. PC’s and Microsoft will remain relevant in the corporate sector for some time to come but they are quickly losing the hearts and minds of the average consumer.

  • Rich

    As long as we’re making egg references maybe the PC manufacturers will get “beaten” in this market.

  • benbajarin

    I am enjoying the play on John’s pun in this comment thread! It is egg-sistential.

    • FalKirk

      Ha! You are much punnier than I anticipated! To quote one of my hero’s, Adrian Monk, I’m literally LOL-ing out loud!

  • Anonymouse

    No mac les than $999 ? The Mac mini is $599.

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