[OT] - As Apple Gains PC Market Share, Jobs Talks of a Decade ofUpgrades

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Tony Harding, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Tony Harding

    Tony Harding Guest

    I had no idea Apple was up to #3 in the PC market.


    October 22, 2007
    As Apple Gains PC Market Share, Jobs Talks of a Decade of Upgrades

    SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21 — It may have dropped the word “computer” from
    its name, but Apple is certainly selling plenty of Macs.

    Driven in part by what analysts call a halo effect from the iPod and the
    iPhone, the market share of the company’s personal computers is surging.

    Two research firms that track the computer market said last week that
    Apple would move into third place in the United States behind
    Hewlett-Packard and Dell on Monday, when it reports product shipments in
    the fiscal fourth quarter as part of its earnings announcement.

    “The Macintosh has a lot of momentum now,” said Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s
    chief executive, in a telephone interview last week. “It is outpacing
    the industry.”

    On Friday, Apple will start selling the new Leopard version of its OS X
    operating system, which has a range of features that in some cases match
    those in Windows Vista and in others surpass them.

    Mr. Jobs said that Leopard would anchor a schedule of product upgrades
    that could continue for as long as a decade.

    “I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18
    months for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve put out major
    releases on the average of one a year, and it’s given us the ability to
    polish and polish and improve and improve.”

    That pace suggests that Apple will continue to move more quickly than
    Microsoft, which took almost seven years between the release of its
    Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems.

    Vista has had mixed reviews, and corporate sales have been slow so far.
    Mr. Jobs declined to comment on Microsoft’s troubles with Vista, beyond
    noting that he thought Leopard was a better value. While there are
    multiple editions of Vista with different features at different prices,
    the top being the Ultimate edition, Apple has set a single price of $129
    for Leopard.

    With Leopard, Mr. Jobs joked, “everybody gets the Ultimate edition and
    it sells for 129 bucks, and if you go on Amazon and look at the Ultimate
    edition of Vista, it sells for 250 bucks.”

    Microsoft has said that it will release an update, or service pack, for
    Vista in the first quarter of 2008. But it has also said that it intends
    to offer a service pack for Windows XP in the first half of the year.
    That, analysts said, could further delay adoption of Vista as computer
    users wait to see how XP will be improved.

    Microsoft has also hinted that its next operating system, code-named
    Windows 7, would not arrive until 2010. At Apple’s current pace, it will
    have introduced two new versions of its operating system by then.

    Apple has not been flawless in its execution. Early this year, it
    delayed the introduction of Leopard for four months. Mr. Jobs attributed
    this at the time to the company’s need to move programming development
    resources to an iPhone version of the OS X operating system.

    Several analysts said they thought that Leopard would have only an
    indirect effect on Macintosh sales.

    As for Vista, it has clearly not pushed up demand for new PCs as much as
    computer makers hoped. Last week, the research firm Gartner said PC
    shipments in the United States grew only 4.7 percent in the third
    quarter, below its projection of 6.7 percent.

    That contrasted sharply with Apple’s projected results for the quarter.
    Gartner forecast that Apple would grow more than 37 percent based on
    expected shipments of 1.3 million computers, for an 8.1 percent share of
    the domestic market.

    Apple has outpaced its rivals in the United States, particularly in the
    shift to portable computers. While this is the first year that laptops
    have made up more than 50 percent of computer sales in this country, Mr.
    Jobs said that two-thirds of Apple machines sold in the United States
    are now laptops.

    Apple has also outperformed rivals in terms of market share by revenue,
    because its machines are generally more expensive.

    According to Charles Wolf, who tracks the personal computer market in
    his industry newsletter Wolf Bytes, Apple’s share of home PC revenue in
    the United States has jumped in the last four quarters. In the second
    quarter, for example, the Macintosh captured a 15.8 percent share,
    almost double its share of the number of units sold.

    He added that Apple had a significant opportunity now in terms of
    visitors to its stores. Apple is now reporting 100 million annual
    visitors, and Mr. Wolf estimated that 60 million to 70 million of them
    were Windows users drawn by the iPod or the iPhone, who could
    potentially shift to Macs.

    Although Apple may be able to grow briskly by taking Windows customers
    from Microsoft, the two companies face a similar problem: the industry
    is maturing and there have been no obvious radical innovations to
    jump-start growth.

    Indeed, many of the new features in the Leopard operating system version
    are incremental improvements. But Mr. Jobs said he was struck by the
    success of the multitouch interface that is at the heart of the iPhone
    version of the OS X. This allows a user to touch the screen at more than
    one point to zoom in on a portion of a photo, for example.

    “People don’t understand that we’ve invented a new class of interface,”
    he said.

    He contrasted it with stylus interfaces, like the approach Microsoft
    took with its tablet computer. That interface is not so different from
    what most computers have been using since the mid-1980s.

    In contrast, Mr. Jobs said that multitouch drastically simplified the
    process of controlling a computer.

    There are no “verbs” in the iPhone interface, he said, alluding to the
    way a standard mouse or stylus system works. In those systems, users
    select an object, like a photo, and then separately select an action, or
    “verb,” to do something to it.

    The Apple development team worried constantly that the approach might
    fail during the years they were creating the iPhone, he said.

    “We all had that Garry Trudeau cartoon that poked fun at the Newton in
    the back of our minds,” he said, citing Doonesbury comic strips that
    mocked an Apple handwriting-recognition system in 1993. “This thing had
    to work.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
    Tony Harding, Oct 22, 2007
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