Sunday, September 21, 2008

Apple completes comeback in the computer market

Once upon a time, in the late eighties, the Apple Macintosh accounted for over 10 percent of the personal computer market. Back then, the Mac was the only choice for ease-of-use, window driven computing, opposed to the dull and difficult DOS system running on PCs.

This was before the Microsoft Windows revolution, which eroded Apple’s position, and resulted in a sharp drop in Apple’s market share to as little as 2 percent at some stage in the late nineties.

What has happened since then? The simple answer is Apple’s brilliance in re-inventing itself in the age of the Internet, where the significance of operating systems has dwindled in the face of the importance of connectivity.

Apart from the fact that Macintosh OS X is a better operating system than Windows XP or Vista, whereby many users are leaning towards Apple computers anyway, the more important dvelopment has been the standardization of file formats and the crucial ability of any computer to run ‘Internet applications’ such as email, search, social networking and others. This means Windows, Mac OS, Linux or even Symbian are all the same to users.

On top of the Internet revolution, Apple made some smart moves in recent years, replacing the Motorola processors which ran the Macintosh, with Intel processors, thereby providing even more compatibility with Windows standards.

Add to that the rise of laptops, and the fact Apple still produces the ‘hottest’ and best looking laptop computers, and it becomes apparent that Apple is not just the iPod/iTunes company this decade, but it’s hitting back in its core business.

Taking a look at recent figures, Apple’s share of the US laptop market jumped into double figures during Q2. According to local market watcher, NPD DisplaySearch, Apple took 10.6 per cent of the US retail laptop market between April and June 2008, up from 6.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. That puts it in fourth place in NPD's chart, behind Acer (14.4 percent), HP (21.4 percent) and Dell (21.9 percent).

European and Middle Eastern (EMEA) buyers are less keen on Apples, though, as the company doesn’t yet make it into the top five. Apple’s EMEA marketshare is less than 5.5 per cent.

But, global markets have a tendency to follow the US, and as our region gravitates towards more laptops and less desktops, Apple’s comeback will be complete even here. It’ll be another thing for Middle Eastern Mac fans to brag about!


At 5:20 AM , Blogger Hani Obaid said...

I think their failure has less to do with inability to reinvent themselves as opposed a basic flaw in their strategy.

The PC was modular so you could buy almost any part within a specific spec from dozens of different vendors and put it into 1 PC either to reduce cost or to have a very high end machine.

With Apple, not only did you lose that advantage, but they went so far as to setup their machines such that you need a special screwdriver even to open it!

Aside from graphics professionals, and people who want a computer that looks good, I wouldn't recommend buying a MAC.

At the very least, you will have a very limited choice of software, and what little choice you have will be too expensive. Even the hardware itself is much more expensive that it's PC counterpart.

Although the way PCs became modular may not be apple's fault, even though they had an excellent product, they ruined it by continuing the same strategy problem with Iphone today.

Iphone is locked, you can't just crate software for it yourself and install it, you need to get it from the apple store.

Vendors submitting software to the apple store may find it summarily rejected because it has anything that resembles an are that apple's own software covers.

You can't even make your own ring-tones for it.

Worst of all, they made it exclusive to a specific service provider.

They're lucky so far no one has come up with a product that matches all the iphone's features. When (not if) that happens, they better be more flexible.

Speaking of which,I just got a new creative Zen-XFI 32GB MP3 player, it blows Ipod out of the water.

At 7:43 PM , Blogger Zeid Nasser said...

Thanks Hani for your thoughtful comment. Your point is valid too, indeed Apple's 'closed systems' approach has been both its weakness and strength. The brand identity, and uniqueness of Apple products is maintained through this policy... but the future potential and spread of the product is not.


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