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Noise Over Mac OS Market Share "Slip" 481

Posted by kdawson
from the i'll-show-you-flatline dept.
OakDragon writes, "Mac OS market share actually slipped since last September. This reverses a trend in the winter and spring months that showed some slight growth. The actual percentage loss is small: 0.02%. But it may be significant since it follows a solid growth trend. It must be disappointing to Apple and Mac fans to see what is basically a flat line in desktop market share." Mac-oriented sites are pointing out the unreliability of the metrics from Net Applications, which are based on users of the HitsLink service.
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Noise Over Mac OS Market Share "Slip"

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  • by Shuh (13578) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:20PM (#16141681) Journal
    Who's going to buy a brand new Macintosh when we are just about to go to Rev. B. chips/platforms? Maybe everyone who is not 1-point-oh-averse has already bought a Mac. And everyone else wants x86 2.0.


  • Market fluctuates. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by greenguy (162630) <estebandido@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:25PM (#16141707) Homepage Journal
    Film at 11.
  • by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:25PM (#16141714) Journal
    Of course these numbers and not at all scientfic. The change is also completely insignificant. I agree on all of that. However, I have a feeling many who will denounce these statistics would be singing thier praises if they showed a significant gain ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:27PM (#16141731)
    Mac marketshare is always between 3-5%. They're saying on the high side of that 3-5% so that's just peachy. Why is everyone so concerned about marketshare for the Mac when all the hardware is all basically commodity, and most of the really good Mac software comes from Apple anyway?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:30PM (#16141757)
    Mac-oriented sites are pointing out the unreliability of the metrics from Net Applications, which are based on users of the HitsLink service.

    Yet if it proved the opposite they wouldn't question its reliability at all, and would bring it up every chance they get.
  • by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:34PM (#16141781) Homepage Journal
    Another explanation is that the potential Macintosh customer now realizes that the Mac is little different from a Dell PC or a HP PC. The principal difference is the price.

    Well, I just priced out a new workstation comparing the top of the line MacPro and an equivalently configured Dell. I ended up buying the 3.0Ghz version of the MacPro for $1000 cheaper than an equivalent Dell.

    Once Steve "I have a big ego" Jobs switched the Macintosh from the PowerPC to the Intel processor, the Macintosh lost its mystique.

    Au contraire. Have you ever unboxed a new Mac? Have you ever really spent time with a Mac? While the OS is most of the experience, it goes beyond the OS.

    Using some simple patches/tools, you can run Windows XP on the Mac. With a little effort, you can run the x86 MacOS on a Dell PC or an HP PC.

    And with some simple tools, I can run Windows on my Mac. So?

    Since the Mac is now essentially a PC clone, why would you pay a premium for Mac hardware?

    See my above comment. It turns out that for the high end at least, the Macintosh is MUCH less expensive than a Dell or HP.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:35PM (#16141790)
    I blame those idiotic commercials with the "nerdy" pc guy and the "hip" mac guy. They cater to the lowest common demoninator of consumer, and convey no real selling points for the mac. To me they seem condescending and blatently inflammatory.

    If you want to sell your product apple, sell it on its own merits. "OMG The alternative is the SUXORZ!!" is not a good advertising methodology.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:38PM (#16141807) Journal
    Quite frankly I don't want to see OS X have some huge marketshare. I'd prefer the platform to have enough marketshare that developers can make money and Apple to make a profit, but not big enough for Virus writers and spyware authors to care (the way it is now).

    Why does OS X have to have an increasing marketshare to remain successful?
  • Re:Price much? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:42PM (#16141836)
    If you think an Antec mid-tower is "a better case" than a Mac Mini you were never in the mini's target market anyway...
  • by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:52PM (#16141913)
    why would you pay a premium for Mac hardware?

    About the same price. Oh, and Macs have no such thing as "driver installs." Peripherals work. Right Now. Instantly. No errors. No dialog boxes. No ding noises.

    And OS X is the best operating system on the planet.

  • by askegg (599634) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:54PM (#16141923)
    What is the fascination with market share?

    What's the thinking here? More market share must mean more sales and therefore more profit? Apple seems to be making plenty of money, so what does more market share gives you, or is it just a measure of how many customers you did not get?

    IMHO, the problem is you can not make a product that will please everyone. Apple has decided to make a certain kind of product - looks cool, well designed, easy to use and at a premium price.

    I guess it depends on how you classify your market. If you are talking portable mp3 players in the USA, then Apple has around 80% of the market (their figures).

    If you mean "laptop computers" then the field is wide open to every man and his dog that can bolt a machine together - including the el cheapo models who compete on price alone. This is akin to putting Mercedes, Audi and Lexus in the "car market" and wondering why their share is so low (hint: you are including Hyundai and others). This is not the same market. Who are the premium computer manufacturers? IBM might be there, Dell isn't.

    As long as Apple continues to focus on making their products this way they will have a following and will generate profits - to hell with market share.
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:06PM (#16142017)
    Dell's computers aren't cheaper than Apples for the same thing, but Dell sells cheaper computers. They just aren't comparable to any of Apple's.
  • by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:13PM (#16142050) Homepage Journal
    But why would a nerd buy a Dell or HP when you can build a clone for half the price?

    Ummmmm, perhaps because I am not a nerd? Geek perhaps, yes. But not a nerd. Furthermore, it is not my job to build computers. Rather it is my job to do other things like generate and analyze data, teach, write grants and papers. I would much rather spend my time doing these things than building boxes, installing drivers, dealing with conflicts and such. I want my computers to work when I pull them out of the box. I want my computers to simply work when plugging in a peripheral without launching a wizard that says "I see you are trying to add new hardware". I want my computers to not constantly notify me in the middle of a presentation that my anti-virus software is out of date or than the computer suddenly discovered a new wireless network. (I've seen people who, for kicks when someone is making a presentation with a Windows laptop at a big conference, start creating new wireless networks).

    When your time reaches a certain value/minute, you start to look for ways to optimize your life and for me at least, the Macintosh allows me to get work done without getting in the way.

  • by devjj (956776) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:15PM (#16142063)
    And the Mac-haters would be complaining about how the statistical methods are flawed. In the end, it's all the same.
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee@@@ringofsaturn...com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:25PM (#16142141) Homepage
    "the Macintosh lost its mystique"

    I don't give a crap about mystique. It works better.

    "why would you pay a premium for Mac hardware"

    Because it's very well designed, and comes with a state-of-the-art OS. Any other dumb questions?
  • by ursabear (818651) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:31PM (#16142184) Homepage Journal
    As to TFA, I have a question... There are lots of Slashdotters that can probably answer this for me pretty well: Isn't .02% statistically negligible, WRT a market trend report?

    Mod me OT on this one, It's fine with me.

    I'm always amazed at the vitriol that spews forth on this subject. Although, frankly, post threads like those in response to this article are always interesting to read (and sometimes funny).
    IMVHO, use what machine and OS you like, like what machine and OS you use (if you have a choice). It isn't the chip, the windowing system, the kernel, or the manufacturer... it's what it does for you personally. I like Solaris, Fedora, Mac OS (any, really), XP, 2000, Irix, HP/UX... well, just about any of them. The hardware is always a relative benchmark to me. If I like it, and it works great without kicking me in the pants every time I try to use it, then I use it. I enjoy my little Blade 100 as much as my VAIO as much as my iMac G5. Like what you use, and use what you like.
  • Re:Price much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:51PM (#16142334)
    Your point #3 highlights why Apple is not growing.

    Apple is making money hand over first, so their strategy of not paying too much attention to marketshare doesn't seem to be a bad one.

    They're not tagetting a rational market. More people would rather have a beige box than a tiny little cute espresso sipping elite box.

    IYou're right in a way, in that what lots of people do want to buy is a cheap beige box running Windows. Sure, Apple would sell such a machine, but why would anybody buy it from them, instead of buying it from Dell?

    As for the warranty, I've read the anti-apple websites.

    The anti-Apple websites are unreliable, by virtue if their very subject matter. They exist because Apple is held to ridiculously high standards. Take Dell's 240x series of monitors for example. Websites universally laud the 2405 and 2407 for being the best monitors in their class. Yet, Dell is on their 7th revision of the basic 240x design, and its taken that many revisions to sort out the inverter whine, the lopsided stands, the backlight bleeding, the banding on gradients, the fuzzy text, etc. Everybody just accepts it as a fact of life that when you order one of these things, you will have to take Dell up on their "15-day no-questions return" at least once. Yet, everyone denounces Apple for far less serious problems with the MacBook, even though the problems aren't nearly as widespread.

    If you look at actual studies of customer satisfaction, say those conducted by consumer reports, Apple is at the very top of the heap.

    The only reason I compared against the Mini is because it's the only thing Apple offers that is close to what I needed.

    It makes absolutely no sense to compare two products that have entirely different purposes. If Apple doesn't sell the product you want, then complain about that. Don't rig up a comparison that's fundementally flawed.
  • Re:Price much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:58PM (#16142383)
    You're not seeing the flaw in your reasoning. Does it make sense for me to bitch that the Ford Focus is much slower and more expensive than my Kawasaki motorbike? Does it make sense for me to ask, "well, what car from Ford compares to the bike?" Does it make sense for me to bitch about Ford not making motorbikes? Of course not!

    As for what people want: if Apple could make money selling such boxes, they would be. If Steve Jobs is anything, he's good at making money. The simple fact is that even if they did, nobody would buy it. Your friends don't want an Apple machine. By your own words, they want a custom, functional box. So why would they buy from Apple? They wouldn't, they'd buy from Dell or build it themselves. So what purpose does it serve Apple to target a market that doesn't want their products?
  • Amused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grand V'izer (560719) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:27PM (#16142563)
    This kind of topic always gets so many responses ... its just crazy! And once again, the "report" that kicked it all off has no information on the methodology used.

    *Yawn* As long as Apple stays in business and I can upgrade my machines every 5 years or so, I'm a happy camper. Nobody is forcing the unaquafied masses to buy Macs, so they should all just settle down and reinstall their systems or something.
  • by misleb (129952) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:27PM (#16142565)
    Maybe it is elitism, but quite frankly, I don't care. It is true when any "niche" product or genre or whatever gains mass appeal, the people who are really "into" it inevitably get pushed out and the lowest common denomonator gets lower.

    To me it is the same thing as having a bunch of strangers show up at a small get-together of friends. Sure, you could turn it into a big party and have lots of fun, but it'll never be that initimate get-together it once was. Is it wrong to prefer to keep a small party small? I don't think so.

    Then again, who am I to be a Mac elitist, anyway? I've only been using them full time for like a year. Maybe I'm one of the "unwashed masses" lowering the bar. I'm not exactly the stereotypical Mac user.

    -matthew
  • by Rew190 (138940) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:39PM (#16142652)
    Disclaimer: I am a very happy owner of a Mac Pro.

    I'd prefer the platform to have enough marketshare that developers can make money and Apple to make a profit, but not big enough for Virus writers and spyware authors to care (the way it is now).

    I honestly have never understood this idea that Macs would suddenly get more interest from Virus writers if they had market share.

    If you were a cracker and you saw these pompous Apple commercials, saw the Apple trolls that say that Apple can do no wrong, and saw all this news coverage about POTENTIAL viruses for OS X that turn out to be garbage, would this not be an obviously huge target to shoot for if you were going for notoriety?

    No. I have no doubt you'd get some more interest if there were more market share, but basically Apple has been giving crackers the raspberry for years now. I highly doubt they're just idly ignoring a target that would likely get them huge press and shut Apple up about being Virus-free. That's way more interesting than an XP exploit, which we've seen hundreds of.

    Why does OS X have to have an increasing marketshare to remain successful?

    Because it's a publically traded company?
  • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:02PM (#16142790) Homepage
    I just went and speced out a hefty Mac and a Dell. Had to go with the super duper video since it was the only model both offered.

    Dual 3.0Ghz Xeon
    4GB Memory (4x 1GB sticks on both, ECC on both)
    4X 500GB SATA drives
    512MB NVidia Quadro
    DVD +/- everything drive
    No monitor on either system

    Apple: $7,449 firm
    Dell: $5,575 before the infamous Dell discounting starts


    You messed up something on Dell's page. I just configured it and got $6,960. I think you forgot to include the graphics card on the Dell - you do realize that you chose a graphics card that costs ~$1500 for this comparison?
  • by Psychotext (262644) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:16PM (#16142864)
    I can see your argument, but the simple fact is that most of the exploits out there on the web were written to generate money, not kudos. Ignoring if mac really is more secure or not (btw, you might want to look at how many vulnerabilities they recently patched), the simple fact is that at some point it's going to end up on some mafia-esque hacker's radar and that's when the stream of viruses and vulnerabilities will appear.

    Same thing with firefox. Initially it wasn't worth bothering with, and everyone said it was super secure. Then the flood of vulnerabilites started getting patched, and they're still being found. Turns out that software is insecure... pretty much all of it.

    *Disclaimer: I run firefox, I develop on Windows and Mac boxes.
  • Re:Price much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @12:03AM (#16143631)
    More people would rather have a beige box than a tiny little cute espresso sipping elite box.

    No, more people want something that just works (and often in our consumer driven society something that looks 'cool' too). They don't want to munge around with drivers or kernel compiling. This is why linux and do it yourself PCs remain a niche market. These same people are also willing to pay more for something that just works. This doesn't make them stupid or lazy, it just means they think their time is better spent using their computer to do what they want to, instead of looking up kernel config options so their video card can play some game.

    That is the segment that the Mac targets which is for most part currently on windows. I think what you'll find though is that the switch campaign has been pretty successful and the people who do go mac don't often go back.
  • by dfghjk (711126) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @12:07AM (#16143647)
    Didn't you just compare them? Doesn't that make them comparable? They are just computers with largely identical parts inside.
  • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:06AM (#16143892)
    I honestly have never understood this idea that Macs would suddenly get more interest from Virus writers if they had market share.

    There are a few important reasons for this (which may or may not all apply)

    1. Return on Investment: Where is the benefit in gaining access to a machine only one out of every 100 people (roughly) uses and which is even more uncommon in business environments ?

    2. Infection rates: Any "virus" infection is going to spread far, far more slowly on Macs than PCs. Heck, there's a pretty good chance it wouldn't even hit critical mass, because of Macs' relative scarcity, and never make it outside the initial infection zone.

    3. Containment: Mac users are a much smaller and tighter-knit community and subsequently communication lines between them are relatively good. Put simply, its more likely someone will publically make note of any virus outbreaks and more likely other Mac users will find out about them.

    To put it simply:
    By targeting Windows, a cracker will - at a minimum, all else being equal - capture about two orders of magnitude more machines, will have access to machines much more likely to be "interesting" and will benefit from vastly higher propagation rate than they will targeting Macs.

    Just consider it like a biological virus... Which one will spread faster, cause more damage and have a higher profile, the virus that only infects one in every 100 people or the virus that infects ~95 in every 100 people ?

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:51AM (#16145931)

    As to TFA, I have a question... There are lots of Slashdotters that can probably answer this for me pretty well: Isn't .02% statistically negligible, WRT a market trend report?

    That information is not available. You see, the source data was not presented, only the results without and details of the methodology. This is PR, not science and is designed to influence people who pay attention to PR, instead of look at scientific data. The fact that you know what statistically significant means, is indication that you are not in the target market. The PR firm that puts out these studies just looks for a way to use statistics to support the position of whomever pays them. They don't release their data and make really obviously misleading statements because they know most people will never notice anything more than a headline that says, "OS X Failing in the Market." This is the same company that produced a bunch of stats showing how iPod sales are declining and the bubble has burst and used the normal retail sales cycle that happens every year as justification. Gee sales are lower than they were just before last christmas and just like in almost every other retail sales market on the planet? We'd better write a bunch of articles immediately so people know and lets forget to mention that this trend effects anything other than iPods.

    I'm always amazed at the vitriol that spews forth on this subject. Although, frankly, post threads like those in response to this article are always interesting to read (and sometimes funny).

    There are numerous causes for this. Mac users are a minority, and deviating from the norm in any way is socially a big taboo. As a result, Mac users feel the need to compensate by ardently defending their decisions. Likewise, pointing anything inferior about a product a Mac, Windows, or Linux user is using is a direct attack on their ego. You're telling them emotionally, that they were wrong. Especially for large financial investments, like a computer, people tend to irrationally defend whatever decision they made, because they feel threatened. Finally, many new Mac users find suddenly that a lot of the problems they were having have suddenly disappeared when they get a Mac. As a result, they tend to be astonished that Macs are not more popular and very vocal about praising them, sometimes to excess. All this leads to a culture clash, where people get very loud and often irrationally defensive.

    IMVHO, use what machine and OS you like, like what machine and OS you use (if you have a choice). It isn't the chip, the windowing system, the kernel, or the manufacturer... it's what it does for you personally.

    Any rational person who uses multiple OS's regularly quickly sees that each has things they do better than others. The problem is most people have only really used one, so they argue from a position of ignorance, simply to defend a choice they don't really have a lot of information about. People also have trouble empathizing with others, especially via weak mediums like blogs, so they operate under the assumption that everyone has the same needs and wants as they do. Add to this an unhealthy dose of misinformation from PR campaigns and astroturf and a few trolls and rabble rousers who just enjoy causing trouble and you get the loud, angry mess that is a OS flame war.

    The only thing to do is sit back, enjoy the funny parts, and occasionally try to answer factual questions to help those who truly want real info.

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