I saw an interesting blog post this week regarding how Apple is immune to the innovator’s dilemma (for those unfamiliar with the term). First, I don’t think the company is immune at all, I think that OS X and MacBooks ARE the innovation relative to Windows Vista and PCs. Second, there’ve been tons of recent articles regarding the company’s climb in market share. Finally, in the interests of full disclosure, I am personally a (small) AAPL stockholder.
Consumers are turning increasingly to their peers, friends, and family for recommendations of products. I’ve personally referred four people to purchase Panasonic plasmas after buying my own (of course, they all got the newer model, but no, I’m not extremely bitter). In each case my friends actually made purchases on nothing but my recommendation. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for a word-of-mouth referral. While there’s constant debate on the “power of influencers” there’s almost no question we all like to have a friendly opinion to back up a purchase decision.
Today, when buying a new notebook, I’ll make the following two statements that I believe are true:
- Virtually all MacBook owners will recommend most MacBook models when asked
- Virtually no Vista notebook owners will recommend most models from any given manufacturer when asked
The second point is probably the more debatable one. I’m not saying there’s *no* PC worth recommending. But, even a person happy with, say a Dell, cannot make a blanket statement “all Dell notebooks are worth buying.” Further, this situation worsens, not improves, over time. A year ago I’d have recommended a Vaio hands-down. Today I cannot (despite mine working quite well now – thanks again Ed!), because I simply don’t believe that all configurations are recommendable. So I’d have to say “Get model XX, with the YY screen and the ZZ video card” and even then, still leave a lot to chance. I wouldn’t be able to personally vouch for it, the cornerstone to any recommendation.
MacBooks do not have this issue, despite the occasional glitch here and there. They are almost completely recommendable, all of the time (although I’d never personally imagine buying the SSD version of the Air, but that’s more a budget/performance issue than anything else).
Also, I think there is a bit of a “trickle-down” effect happening. When I decided to make the switch, virtually all of my peers and industry thought leaders I read, know, and respect had moved to Macs. I had lunch with a VC friend of mine today, he confirmed that well over 90% of the startups who pitch him come in with MacBooks.
I truly believe this is a “perfect storm” for the MacBook (regardless of whether or not there are new models coming):
- Vista is just a disaster (I can count on one hand the number of people I know personally who think it’s a step up from XP), and there’s no solution imminently on the horizon.
- The PC manufacturer’s are caught in an Innovator’s Dilemma moment where the thousands of configurable options on a PC are what their customers have asked for, yet don’t truly want.
- The price point of an entry level MacBook is on par with a Windows notebook.
- Finally, and possibly most importantly, the introduction of BootCamp and Parallels have enabled the “tentative” customers to make the leap, knowing they can run Windows for anything they miss (Outlook!)
It’s not about the 3, 4, 6, or 12% market share they may or may not have across all computer sales. That’s almost irrelevant to address, since desktops have so many types of uses. But notebooks are much more telling of the shifting trends. Notebooks are for both personal and professional use, they have their place in the office and the home (and everywhere in between). Notebooks afford us more choice in the computer we choose to purchase and use.
Will I be wrong on the timing? Time will tell. Is this a slam dunk? Not at all! Can the PC guys do anything to stop it? Absolutely. But all the signs on the walls I read point to a very dominant iFuture.
Updated: a point I forgot to mention was production capacity (thanks yoshi). As was stated there, it’s pretty unrealistic to think that Apple could possibly ramp production up to the capacity that would be necessary to accomplish the feat. But then again, that’s what my friend Peter calls a “high class” problem to solve…
I will go along with your thinking for the consumer market, but I can’t believe the business market is moving mac anytime soon. I feel Dell and IBM are going to own that space as long as business tools are more standardized for the PC.
I am a long time PC user in the workplace who has recently become a Mac user at work – and the transition hasn’t been painless. Not the platform – LOVE the Mac. It’s the business tools. Office 2008 has gone a long way to help that transition for sure, but I don’t see that translate as a platform for businesses with > 25 employees.
For the average consumer, student, small business the Mac laptop is by far the best solution.
I’m with Jim on this one. The business market will be much slower to transition, if at all. I can’t tell you how many friends of mine by Macs for home while using PCs all day at work.
With most of computer work now being done on the web (email and browsing) there is little need for a large scale OS
The most cost effective method of getting on the web will ultimately prevail. This is why it makes little sense to own a Mac when a Dell will get you there for 1/2 price.
There’s a large percent of the population whose primary criterion is pricing… When the cheapest MacBook is twice as much as the cheapest Dell or HP notebook, I doubt Apple can grab 50% of consumer marketshare. Of course, I say that having no idea what Apple’s current laptop share is.
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I have to agree with Dave Zatz here. The problem is price. I’m a PC user at home and a Mac user at work, but only for the last year. I love my Mac at work, and I would LOVE to have a Macbook, but I won’t anytime soon. A large portion of the population is like me: 1) they don’t buy a new laptop until they absolutely have to (and my Dell is still going strong); 2) and when they do they simply can’t justify the extra cost for a Macbook. I can get a new Dell with a great wide screen like I have now and all the storage and power I need for far less than I can get the equivalent Mac. The money I save is a lot of groceries and bills.
Trinity Western University now offers its staff a choice: they can lease a Windows notebook or a Mac notebook. A friend who works there decided on the Mac, even though all his computers at home are PCs.
Last time I heard, Apple’s current US laptop marketshare went over 10%. I could see Apple doubling that in the next few years. As for supply, I wouldn’t worry. Believe it or not, macbooks share many components with pc laptops. The issue is assembly and special parts, and I think Apple’s suppliers will scale well as they have done in the past.
I don’t know if the Macbook will achieve 50% marketshare, but it’s certainly gaining market (as evident in their stock price). I absolutely LOVE Mac’s and would recommend them to anyone. Time will tell.
As much as Macs seems to be more affordable now, there are many Vista-powered laptops that are less expensive than a MacBook.
Anyone who’s thinking of a long-term investment, however, would be wise to purchase a MacBook. Of course, I’m biased having switched to the Mac two years ago.
I’m a Mac fan, yet I have hard time believing that the Mac will take 50 percent of notebook market share within a year.
I don’t agree with Yoshi either, I think the manufacturing capacity isn’t really an issue. Let’s not forget that Apple is outsourcing its production to firms like Quanta, Compal, etc. “Both Compal and Quanta make up around 40 percent of the world’s laptops. They supply to major U.S. clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Apple.” (see below link) As businesses and consumers increasingly switch to notebooks, these firms are already expanding their manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand. It’s just that Macs do not account for 50 percent of demand for laptops.
while there are certainly vista-laptops out there for considerably less than the low end Macbook, those laptops are likely going to cause considerable problems later on down the road when compared to the macbook. For anything more than the most basic use, it is imperative that a laptop running Vista have at least 2gb of ram among a few other technical bits. Buy a laptop that will run well for a decent time period for the average user and you’re looking at around $1000, might as well have bought a macbook.
Nonsense. I would recommend a Vista notebook over Mac any day of the week. Let me disclose that I have bought almost every iteration of the iPod and have 2 iPhones (well, I got the second for my g/f). I stood in line for 3 hours on launch day to pick up v1 and will be in line to get the next gen iPhone.
Now, the reason I won’t recommend a Mac is because my PHONE crashes/freezes on me all the freaking time. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that I have to do a hard reboot at least once a day. Granted, it’s still the coolest damn phone on the market, and I’ll be getting the next version the day it comes out, but it’s annoying as all hell. And this goes to why I don’t think Mac will be capturing 50% of the notebook market. Their products are cool and they do the basics very well, but throw in a couple of complicated tasks (oh, I don’t know…like browse on safari and listen to music) and it goes nuts. When the ‘cool’ factor wears off, and people just want core functionality, you’ll see a different trend in sales.
Considering Apple’s claim that the iPhone runs OSX, then keep me away from that damn operating system, because if it crashes as often as my phone, then I think I would go insane.
On a related note, two of my friends with Macbooks had their hard drives fail on them. Apple covered the repair, but they still both lost the data they didn’t back up. This is clearly a hardware issue, but get enough people upset because of hardware issues, and it will snowball into a major issue.
/PC vs Mac rant
1. There is no way that large organizations are going to pay the premium for hardware that is on par with mid range non-apple laptops
2. Mark Evans: computers are not ‘a long term investment’ – they are a commodity that becomes worth zero within a few years.
3. CIO’s will laugh at anyone that suggest spending 2x the cost of an Lenovo or Dell machine that has the same processor, video card etc. and that runs an OS that although great, is unproven in a heterogeneous environment where there is currently tight linkage at OS level between custom in house applications and the server infrastructure.
Most people making these predictions really have no idea what the infrastructure of most large organizations is comprised of.
Sounds like fun. My 15″ Compaq laptop was $570. Which MacBook is comparable?
Actually, I worked at a place that sold Apple products, and I’m actually expecting the market share of Apple’s notebooks to start dropping.
My reason is, over the next 2 years, the initial buyers will start needing a new computer. However one forgets:
– Apple’s very first model of MacBook Pro (which was only out for 6 weeks), nearly all of them failed within 2 weeks. Those that unfortunately didn’t, spent their lives being serviced.
– The second model was terrible too. Hot, loud, and many issues. In fact, it was only recently Apple got their MacBook pro’s to a decent state.
And yes, “I’ll never buy another apple product again” was a common phrase.
– The macbook’s also had dozens of reliability faults.
– The macbook Air’s only rich folk buy. The reality is, people seem more impressed with the EEEPC then the Macbook Air.
– Yet, what I have noticed, is that people are oblivious to OSX bugs, or failures in their hardware for Apple. And thats the only thing keeping apple alive really. Its the vibe from the people.
So I think we’ll see a drop in the period that the initial buyers are actually re-buying other computers. However, after that, there may be a gain again.
– Also.. I should add, Apple equipment has severe reliability problems (constantly). Out of all the equipment I purchased of Apple’s (a lot). Half of them were faulty in some way. (Like even the 23″ displays, many people don’t realise, but they wont work with certain video cards because apple didn’t test properly, and they don’t support the resolution needed).
Of course, this is speculation, but sooner or later, the cow dung will hit the fan, and that generally happens when more businesses start using OSX. In fact, that’s one reason I quit, business people are a lot more realistic then your normal crowd, and they cant accept half their equipment failing first year. As I left, there were actually quite a few angry business customers, and they were increasing (over issues with OSX, apple was taking forever to fix)
I’ve seen it first hand – one by one, my colleagues at work have been converting from windows to macs. They used to me niche products, but increasingly they seem to be becoming the norm.
There are so many awesome laptops out there. If only OS X was open to run on other hardware.
Today, if you buy Asus, Lenovo etc. laptop, you are either stuck with slow Vista or if you are brave, you may run whatever distro of Linux or Unix. Given that Linux appeals to so few (on a grand scale) due to lack of some critical business/commercial software support, the verdict becomes Vista. No wonder people are jumping ship to mac, which has decent software options and a great operating system. I only wish for more freedom to choose hardware.
It is a shame that manufacturers like Asus, Lenovo and others have to suffer because Microsoft cannot build a modern, lightweight, and affordable operating system.
What, did you need some website traffic JT? Has it REALLY been that long since we opened up the last MAC/PC debate (common, you KNOW that is what this is) I think this will be a top posting in the past three months. Didn’t little Geek get enough from the SM play for his college fund? 🙂 Just razzing you man.
Ah, don’t think it will be 50% for many of the reasons listed here. Macbooks lowest price point is still 2x the PP for a reasonable PC (notebook even) with vista for most people. If the majority of the country is worried about gas going up a 1$, they don’t have any extra five benjamins to throw at a sexy notebook.
Now, where do you think that MARKET SHARE is going to grow the MOST in the next couple years, I would say in this semi-premium segment. It is becoming a bigger “statement” “fashion accessory” than ever before. It’s COOL to be a geek now (okay, I was also cute in high school!) but today everyone wants to be seen as hip, current, tech savvy, sharing photos, doing video conferencing, checking email (ala important) etc. That segment has $ and they will spend it here. So, without QUESTION the mac products are going to be the dominant products for that sector and I think macbooks, pros and even yes the AIR will sell very well in it.
I had a macbook, loved it, recommended it (hmmm, I had a macbook and then JEREMY had a mac book “-) )but I had to sell it since the glossy screen gave me bells palsy! To date my LT of choice is still the Thinkpads (currently loving my X61 tablet) and I RECOMMEND it, and even the VISTA that comes on it.
I still think XP is a better operating system, but more for the fact that we fully baked everything in it in the past seven years and it worked. Not too much eye candy, and once configured well it was solid. SERVER CLASS solid. Vista needs some tweaking and baking, but for the most part I am pretty happy with it now. AND, for the tablet user the handwriting recognition is really something to see. I cannot believe they did so well at it.
Comments on a couple comments. The killer feature today, especially for startups, software developers and even VC’s is that the mac offers such built in rock solid performance and virtualization. The ability to run native windows apps on the mac in a virtual environment means easier testing, never having to maintain two systems, can see how things run on multiple platforms, browsers, etc. So, even though the pc might be cheaper out of the gates, having essentially TWO platforms in ONE (or more if you include the fact that it runs on UNIX platforms basis) is going to be cheaper and easier in the overall. Same is true for the VC community. (don’t forget the HIP comments above) but the ability to have all platforms and robustness in one package is best. I would put a bit more weight here on the fashion accessory than the later though 🙂
Note about corporate adoption. I DO think this is going to be a drag on getting to your 50% market share, but mac products are making very large inroads into corporations and faster today than I would have thought. This is largely due to better networking technologies, built in exchange support and notes support (really, does ANYONE really still use LN?) the ability to run on a virtual environment, better understanding of proper security impact and virus/spyware succeptability and IMHO the large success of the iphone (soon with even better exchange support etc.) In the companies that I consult with, I see macs on about 10+% of the desktops, across manufacturing, software, professional services, legal, mobile application providers.
And yes, I TOO use an MBP for all the above reasons. Once the NEW MBP comes out (and please dear eight and a half pound baby infant whatever one likes to call him don’t let them put a damb GLOSSY screen on it!) I’ll move to that new machine and pretty much make it my daily driver. Carried around in my smart of course, listening to my iphone!
TB audi 5000 🙂
I do wish that I could get a Mac to work in a business environment. I am doing consulting work and kind of a semi-technical person who can not risk something not working in the field. So here I sit with a clunker of a laptop limping along – knowing that there is a bright shinny Mac that beckons.
So before I can make the decision that I would like to make, these business tools MUST funtion proplerly and be stable Citrix, MS Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.), MS Project, MS Visio. Yep I know now your gonna say well they do with Boot Camp. In my mind why would any sane person plunk down $2K for the MAC and then another $400 for another opeating system?
I wish it were easier and more integrated – but.
OK – Christmas idea a MAC buisness platform full integrated to business needs!!! Until then I’ve gotta hobble along with my PC be it HP, Dell or IBM … pretty bad ain’t it!!!
Whoa, what happened with these posts? I posted YESTERDAY the 15th, and there were only 6 posts. But, now on the 16th, there are 13 MORE posts in BETWEEN when the first post was posted and when I posted? Was there some authentication lag?
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Nope. Not true. Until Mac offers a 500 dollar laptop, it’s not going to happen
Way to chime in there sparky!