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Can Apple Take Microsoft on the Desktop? 528

Posted by Zonk
from the put-em-up-put-em-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "RDM asks Can Apple Take Microsoft on the Desktop?, a comparison of recent sales and profits and the future outlook for Macs and PCs. It's the opinion of the article's author that Apple doesn't have to take a majority share of the desktop market to win. The key is to take the most valuable segments of the market. They show via a few quick financial numbers that even though Apple is selling fewer machines, they're making more money per machine than your Dells or your Gateways. Not being beholden to Microsoft gives them a big advantage when competing with traditional PC sellers. Once Apple is positioned, Microsoft will be forced to choose whether it wants to battle Mac OS X for control of the slick consumer desktop, or repurpose Windows as a cheaper, mass market alternative to Linux in corporate sales. If it doesn't make a choice, the company will face difficult battles on two fronts.""
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Can Apple Take Microsoft on the Desktop?

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  • Yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:33PM (#18228590)
    If Microsoft bends over the desk. (Come on, this was the expected joke - the title was phrased this way on purpose)
    • Re:Yes (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:54PM (#18228770)
      I don't know... even with a condom, I don't think the Mac would want to take PC.

      Too high a chance of getting a virus.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Stormwatch (703920)

        I don't know... even with a condom, I don't think the Mac would want to take PC. Too high a chance of getting a virus.
        No, Macs are immune to PC viruses! (as long as you don't use MS Office)
        • Re:Yes (Score:4, Funny)

          by ettlz (639203) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:27PM (#18229038) Journal
          The Mac/PC ad concept just got very interesting...
    • No (Score:4, Funny)

      by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:30PM (#18229072) Homepage
      Of course not, since 2007 if finally going to be the year of the Linux Desktop.
    • by furry_wookie (8361) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @05:44PM (#18229790)

      Well, there is the potential for Apple to take over the home market.

      According to Intel and IDC, the HOME pc market is only 10% of the total PC market... if apple has 3-4% marketshare and we know they dont sell much to the business market.... they might have at least a 1/3 or more right now of the home market.

      If they get to the 5% range, then they could start to approach even being the #1 home computer.

      • by AISI (1071774) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:16AM (#18234040) Homepage

        According to Intel and IDC, the HOME pc market is only 10% of the total PC market...

        The consumer market is 40-50 percent of the total PC market [idctracker.org].

        if apple has 3-4% marketshare and we know they dont sell much to the business market.

        You think that Apple is mostly selling to consumers? You're wrong.

        "Apple's Macs are primarily targeted at three core markets: consumer segment (25% of Apple's PC business), education (33%), and SMB with a strong focus on creative professionals." (Deutsche Bank report citing IDC figures [paisdigital.org])

        Apple is selling hundred thousands of Macs in the education sector, in this earnings call transcript [seekingalpha.com] Tim Cook mentions two large contracts totaling 50,000 units and this is not an uncommon occurrence.

        "Ten percent of the Company's net sales in 2006 were through its U.S. education channel, including sales to elementary and secondary schools, higher education institutions, and individual customers." (Annual annual report 2006 [corporate-ir.net])

        Apple is also doing well outside of the U.S., last year a Gartner analyst told Macworld: "For the first time, Apple is number one in the EMEA education market with 11.6 per cent of the market in Q3/2006 against 9.6 per cent in Q3/2005."

        they might have at least a 1/3 or more right now of the home market.

        Apple is gaining market share in the consumer segment, in Q2 2005 Apple's share increased to 5.5 percent in the U.S. and 3.1 percent worldwide (Deutsche Bank report citing IDC figures [paisdigital.org]). It must be higher by now, but nowhere near 33 percent!

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Funny)

      by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @08:24PM (#18231726)
      It'd be nice to see Microsoft bent over the desk for once. They've had customers bent over the desk for years.
  • incorrect title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:37PM (#18228630) Homepage
    RDM asks Can Apple Take Microsoft on the Desktop? ... They show via a few quick financial numbers that even though Apple is selling fewer machines, they're making more money per machine than your Dells or your Gateways.

    So then the proper title should be "Can Apple take Dell or Gateway on the Desktop". With the release of bootcamp, Apple's competing against Dell and Gateway in the Premium consumer hardware space (which Dell/Gateway suck at anyway) so it's no wonder Apple's winning.

    The flip side of that is that as commodity beigeboxes, Dell and Gateway do great in the corporate world, which is a space Apple has yet to penetrate to any large degree, because the customer doesn't fit their product space.
    • Re:incorrect title (Score:5, Interesting)

      by misleb (129952) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:58PM (#18228826)

      The flip side of that is that as commodity beigeboxes, Dell and Gateway do great in the corporate world, which is a space Apple has yet to penetrate to any large degree, because the customer doesn't fit their product space.


      While I agree that Apple doesn't necessarily fit the generic corp desktop, I wonder if it might just be a matter of grabbing the executives who are always in the market for premium computing hardware. A decked out MacBook Pro is nothing to scoff at and it may just be a matter of getting execs to try them. It coudl cause a push for some companies to adopt cheap Macs on the desktop. Maybe if Apple can bring the price of the Mini back down. Ultimately, I think it simply comes down to breaking the Windows addiction. Paralells is great and all, but does it really make sense for companies to run BOTH OS X and Windows on each desktop? Because you know they're still going to be using some Windows/DOS app that they just can't get rid of..

      -matthew

       
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cavtroop (859432)
        You'd be able to pitch this to the high-end customer (upper execs, etc), but you'll lose them when the find out that the Mac won't work with Exchange (no, Office for Mac doesn't count, they need full-blown Outlook). Along with the other Exchange-centric plugins, suchs as Meestingplace, Blackberries, etc. MS it way too entrenched on the back end, so making the choice of MS for the desktop is a no brainer.
      • But Not Necessary (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ngarrang (1023425)
        The problem I see is that people think that all companies buy top-of-line PCs. A Decked-out MacBook Pro? I don't think so.

        I have a feeling that a lot of companies are like the one I work for. We don't have a huge I.T. budget, so we have to be creative with our computer purchases (ie, eBay). This also means we are n-1 to n-2 generations or more on hardware, and n-1 on the operating system. Though, I should note that I work at a factory where we still have production PCs running DOS. (If it ain't broke,
      • Re:incorrect title (Score:5, Informative)

        by gutnor (872759) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:56PM (#18229306)
        "It coudl cause a push for some companies to adopt cheap Macs on the desktop. Maybe if Apple can bring the price of the Mini back down."

        It is not a question of cost. Mac are quite competitive compared to equivalent machine. The problem is the range of available machine. You have a *very* limited subset of hardware you can choose from Apple, and all of them are designed either for home ( cheap one ) or for very top of the range professional ( MacBook Pro, MacPro )

        There is no average common machine. Example: The mac mini is slightly underspec for a developer ( mainly: harddisk sucks, only 2 GB memory max ) and the design is completely irrelevant: we have all plenty of lost space under the desk. My company buys beige ibm/dell boxes with the same spec as the mini and roughly the same price, but the fact that the dell/ibm come with standard disk in a standard ugly box is seen as a benefit, unlike in my livingroom.
        Off course, there is the mac pro, but it is completely overkill, both in cost and performance. ( Again, not saying it is not competitive against similar spec machine, but that's the equivalent of 'if a knife is not good enough for hunting, we also sell machine guns' )

        • by jackjansen (898733) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @06:18PM (#18230242)
          I disagree that the design is "completely irrelevant" for developers. I have three machines in my workspace: 2 macs (PPC and Intel) and one generic PC (for Linux and Windows). The two macs together make less noise than the one PC. Moreover, with two towers under my desk the room there is getting rather limited, so if the third machine hadn't been an iMac I would have had to throw one machine out.

          Having three machines may be rather rare, but even with one machine it is really nice if it has a low noise level and a small footprint. It is indeed much more of an issue at home, but in the office it's definitely relevant too.

      • Re:incorrect title (Score:4, Insightful)

        by calciphus (968890) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @05:25PM (#18229564)
        I think you're right in a lot of ways. I work for a software consulting company. We go in to big corporations and write custom apps to do internal process things - like workflow management. We write everything as an online app, and the entire office codes on Linux and OSX. Nevertheless, I'd say about 99% of the machines at our customer's places (especially for running things like shipping/inventory) are desktops that were cheap 5 years ago. But they run the one app they need to (and it happens to be a Windows app) and there's no need to replace them with even a $500 machine, no matter who makes it.

        And while some exec might get a MacBookPro and just love it, the tech guy (who's made a living the last 10 years) will push back just as hard, even harder, because he doesn't know how to / is biased against supporting Macs. And who do you think they're going to listen to on a tech decision? The tech guy. Upper management makes bad suggestions on technology all the time. Tech guys rein them back in. That's their job. Otherwise the whole office would be "Grape" ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Locutus (9039)
        Let me get this straight, you expect the same execs who are currently dictating down to the masses that they must use Microsoft toothpicks, MS toilet paper, and all the other Microsoft crap but somehow they are going to want to get Apple Macs on THEIR desktops? Not sure what world you live in but it ain't gonna happen in the one I live in. These people don't read anything but the "One Microsoft Way" journal and are already telling their underlings to start planning to move to MS Windows Vista cause it's e
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mattsson (105422)
      Exactly.
      Apple does not compete directly with Microsoft and won't do until they release an OS that run on industry-standard x86-boxes instead of just Apple-proprietary x86-boxes.

      As people who run Apple often tell me when I whine about OSX not running on standard hardware; Apple is a hardware-company who makes an OS so that their customers can have something to run on their boxes, and they put a lot of effort into making it not run on non-apple hardware.
      Microsoft is a software-company that make an OS so that
    • Re:incorrect title (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:59PM (#18229328) Homepage Journal

      The flip side of that is that as commodity beigeboxes, Dell and Gateway do great in the corporate world, which is a space Apple has yet to penetrate to any large degree, because the customer doesn't fit their product space.
      It gets scant mention in the article, but a valid point is made that, as far as the corporate world is concerned Linux is increasingly looking like a good option. When you don't have to worry about the latest webcams working, and have an IT staff to manage everything Linux on the desktop is very feasible. Indeed Novell and Redhat are making inroads in this area. What this means is that Microsoft could find itself getting squeezed if Dell and Gateway start co-operating with Novell, Redhat, and/or Canonical on desktop Linux for the corporate world and MacOS X takes over the home user market. The fact that, relatively speaking, Mac and Linux play nicely with each other (compared to Windows and Mac, or Windows and Linux) only makes such a scenario more interesting. In practice, of course, MS still has quite the stranglehold on the corporate desktop. Linux is, these days, good enough to take on MS toe to toe in market, but MS started with a massive advantage and aren't about to give an inch. It will take a long time before Linux makes enough of a dent in the corporate desktop market for ny of this to really matter.
      • When you don't have to worry about the latest webcams working, and have an IT staff to manage everything Linux on the desktop is very feasible.

        You do have to worry about your Win32-only custom and vendor apps working though which your IT staff may or may not be able to do depending on how well WINE runs them.
    • Dell and Gateway do great in the corporate world, which is a space Apple has yet to penetrate to any large degree, because the customer doesn't fit their product space.

      What kind of crazy assumptions and blinders go into that conclusion? What exactly does Apple offer that does not fit the corporate customer? How does Windoze fit them better? Are you trying to tell me that fewer features for more money is what big dumb companies want? Bah! companies need to get their work done and everything else is a

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:45PM (#18228692)
    they need to fix this real fast! the mini has laptop parts, is not that easy to open and has POS gma 950.
    The Mac pro is nice but the cost is high apple could add quad-core cpus at the top end and drop the price of the low end dual-cores as well as lower the video card prices.
    The I-macs have laptop parts and don't work that well for people that have good screens. Also they force you to get a bigger screen if you want a better video, faster cpu, or bigger HD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Slorv (841945)
      >The I-macs have laptop parts

      We have about 40 of them, 17" and 20" mixed and they are more than fast enough for office use. MS Office for macs is not however...

      >and don't work that well for people that have good screens.

      The iMac screens are good enough for office use. I agree the 17" is a bit small but the 20" is great. My exprience is that in an office environment you need screen real state and speed not effects or calibrated colors. If you work with graphics (in an office) and need better precision,
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:46PM (#18228700)
    So the article is saying that because Apple charges more for their computers, resulting in higher profit margins, MS is doomed? The article tries to make it sound like Apple is making more because they arent paying license fees to MS, but in reality they are charging a HUGE premium for their operating system. Compare the price differential of a mac with an equivalent hardware dell, its quite large.

    There are so many things in this article that make no sense.

    The author claims that the ipod and iphone are going to be major factors in killing the windows monopoly.

    The author actually claims that consumers are willing to pay more for laptops because of resale value. I reread that like 5 times to make sure I wasnt reading it wrong.

    This sounds like just another fanboy who wants to see Apple win and is grasping at straws for reasons why it will happen.
    • Dell is a lot faster to lower costs or put better hardware in to there systems at the same price points then apple is.
    • by arminw (717974)
      .....in reality they are charging a HUGE premium for their operating system........

      All businesses are primarily interested in making a profit. Apple just has convinced a sizable number of customers that Apple hardware is a better integrated solution worth paying a little extra for. In the end, it is the buyer that determines what anything will sell for. Apple is after those who know and are willing to pay for higher quality. For basic transportation buy a Toyota or Ford. For a little more, get a BMW or Merc
    • I can't believe the article is actually serious. It is a COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEM, not some sort of moral cause. How sad is it that people need to spout some tripe for some company they don't even work for in an effort to get more people to validate their choice somehow? What a waste of life.
    • by earnest murderer (888716) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @06:01PM (#18230030)
      I've got Karma to burn, so I'll say it...

      As someone who has used a mac daily for 20 years and liked it, I'd also like to see Apple gain significant ground. But it isn't going to happen until some changes are made. At a fundamental level Apple culture is in opposition to what the mass market and corporations need. Frankly OS X is not as polished as XP in many important area's. Certainly OS X has groovy features, but a surprising amount of really basic stuff is problematic. Today alone I bumped up against window management inconsistency, finder cock-ups, and plain old reproducible bugs. I'm not talking matters of taste, I'm specifically talking about fuck-ups. Windows certainly has it's share of bugs, but here is a key difference...

      Microsoft documents problems, workarounds and limitations in their "knowledge base". It's not perfect, it doesn't get everything right but it's a sight better than posting manuals on the support web site and calling the job done. Refusing to talk about failure does not make you a success any more than wearing a merkin cures syphilis. Apple would have you believe that they are the panacea while ignoring buggy/broken features between major releases. As if to say "Our software is perfect until we charge you for a perfecter version".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Aladrin (926209)

        I don't use OSX at work myself (I use Kubuntu) but most other employees do, including the owners. The biggest problem we have is that OSX will randomly corrupt the preferences file. Deleting it fixes the problem, but loses information like stored logins. This is a problem, as the CSRs don't actually have the passwords to the stuff.

        All-in-all, I'd say we have about as many problems with OSX as we did with Windows. The only reason we switched is that one of the managers used it and talked the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fishboy (81833)

        At a fundamental level Apple culture is in opposition to what the mass market and corporations need. Frankly OS X is not as polished as XP in many important area's. Certainly OS X has groovy features, but a surprising amount of really basic stuff is problematic. Today alone I bumped up against window management inconsistency, finder cock-ups, and plain old reproducible bugs. I'm not talking matters of taste, I'm specifically talking about fuck-ups. Windows certainly has it's share of bugs, but here is a key

  • On the Other hand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:46PM (#18228702) Journal
    We have these PC vs Mac Spoof videos [lauriemcguinness.com]

    all have some humor, and some have a point.

    nicely done.
    • They are probably paid for, but given an unprofessional look to give that grass-root look.

      The funniest of them is the FreeBSD dude who is irritated because people mix him up with the Linux dude, neither of which look like an Apple noob.

      Astroturfing - but fun
  • MS Office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rueger (210566) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:55PM (#18228786) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Apple is competing against Microsoft's offerings, but it's not a retail software battle. Apple is using its integrated software to eat up the prime portions of the PC hardware market.

    Nonsense. If they are chasing the corporate market, the key is MS Office, not one OS or the other. The minute that Office for the Mac starts to slip significantly behind in compatibility with the Windows version there will be few corporations that will chose Macs over PCs.

    Regardless of what the fanboys believe there's nothing in the Mac's "integrated software" that's a make or break Corporate feature.

    (ps - comment written on a G4 Powerbook)
  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:56PM (#18228790)
    First of all, Apple is in the entertainment business as well, so the profits need to be spread over more than just computers; although they do make more per machine than most PC manufacturers.

    But even if Vista stumbles - as the author points out - users stay with an existing MS OS rather than dump MS altogether as Apple owners did when the ][ line dies (I was one to the bitter end) or when Apple failed to keep pace. What Apple has to overcome (as does Linux) is the huge installed base and apps that run on it. The switch to x86 architecture made it even tougher to move to the Mac given the lack of native binary apps for it; such as Photoshop whose CS2 is a bit slow on the newer Macs (CS3 is nice but not yet out).
    iPhone - that looks to be a questionable product; given Apple has apparently hobbled it from the get go.

    And this is my perspective as a Mac (and Windows) user.
  • by Bluesman (104513)
    This article contains the most ridiculous apples and oranges comparisons and circular logic I've read in a while.

    The first mistake is comparing the net income of Apple to Dell and HP as evidence that Apple only needs to sell a small percentage of computers to "win." I guess for some definition of winning that doesn't include percentage of computers sold, this could be true.

    The article then compares Apple's net profit to HP and Dell's, (both of which are lower than Apple's) as evidence that Apple is the dom
  • People are switching (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ernst_mulder (166761) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:00PM (#18228844) Homepage
    For the past 12 years or so I work for a company providing IT support for Macs. For 11 and a half years the Mac world of our customer base this: Mac users bought more Macs and in some unfortunate cases switched to PC's (mostly because of corporate decisions high up in the company's hierarchy).

    Lately something strange is happening.

    Firstly for the first time in these 12 years I have to help customers switch over from PC's to Macs.

    Secondly I've had PC customers buy Macs for their looks and running Windows XP natively as if they were PC's.

    The first is happening mostly with small companies and home users, the latter also in bigger companies.

    So, Apple in the latter case does seem to gain on the desktop but not necessarily taking on Microsoft.

    Very strange.
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:07PM (#18228892)
    I think Apple's in a good position for the next generation of end-user computing. Once all the "fat client" applications migrate fully online, it won't matter what the user interface on the desktop is like. As long as a web browser is there, it shouldn't matter. Right now, they have a lot of work to do. There's a whole generation of software developers who are used to the Windows platform, and the majority of businesses use Windows as their core desktop computing environment.

    Once people sit down and poke around with a Mac, they're usually happy with it. The interface isn't as much of a stretch from Windows, and the OS is designed to keep the user unaware of what's going on under the hood.

    Desktop PCs are going away, and eventually full laptops might follow. The only things that remain to be solved are: (1) Web applications need a user interface that's as fast as a desktop one, and (2) Either people have to give up their privacy and let third parties hold all their data, or local storage needs to be merged with these connected apps.

    I'd love to use Macs at work, but our industry uses custom Windows applications that won't be ported in the near future. Getting people to develop for MacOS would be a big step toward business acceptance. Virtualization is great, but it needs to be simple. MacOS did this by placing "Classic" (Mac OS 9) apps in a seamless virtual environment. Users didn't even need to think about it, and that was important. There were _a lot_ of classic apps that needed to be emulated. It would be cool to do that for Windows apps, but I doubt it's ever going to happen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by avalys (221114)
      "Once all the "fat client" applications migrate fully online, it won't matter what the user interface on the desktop is like"

      And when is this going to happen? The web is a terrible platform for application development. HTML is a joke, Javascript is a joke, Ajax is a joke. Every time I am forced to dabble in web development, I am amazed that people keep talking about web-based operating systems, where the browser is the only software you need to run locally.

      Developing an application for the web means you
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VGPowerlord (621254)

      Once all the "fat client" applications migrate fully online

      You know, this sounds just like what they were saying 10 years or so ago.

      You'll notice that it hasn't yet happened. Google would love for you to think it has, but as long as things remain broken in Safari and Opera, we aren't there yet. That's not even beginning to address the features that Google Documents is missing that we take for granted in a modern word processor.
  • If M$ continues the trend of insane prices and extortion, Apple might get the opportunity to do a little extorting of its own. I think the real question which we're beating around the bush on here is this: How long is it going to take for an open OS with a real chance of taking out either of these closed and unfriendly giants to emerge? I love Linux, but I don't see it catching on many of the average windows-trained users anytime soon :/

    As chance would have it, this morning I came up with a suitable neol

  • They show via a few quick financial numbers that even though Apple is selling fewer machines, they're making more money per machine than your Dells or your Gateways.

    Which is why my first computer was a ZX81. The first computer I did real stuff with was a Commodore and my first "really real" computer was a PC XT. I could afford them.

     
  • The article presents a lot of false binary thinking and extrapolation of trends that are unlikely to continue. Yes, Apple's sales growth recently has been tremendous, but it doesn't follow that Apple going from barely distinguishable from white noise to at least a respectable presence in the U.S. consumer market means that Apple is about to take over the world. Apple's biggest problem in terms of marketshare is the lack of an xMac [arstechnica.com], or mainstream tower; without one, they're artificially limiting the potentia
    • by arminw (717974)
      .....all Microsoft has to do to kill Apple is stop producing Office for OS X.......

      Why would MS want to do that? Their Mac Business is a nice little money machine. Apple may eventually get up to 20% or so of market, still no threat to MS. Also a not insignificant number of Mac users are installing Windows on their Apples, paying MS handsomely with full retail prices.
  • Sorry for this offtopic post.

    I'm buying a MacBook soon as my new development machine. Everything about it looks great, but I have a few unanswered questions. I've googled around a bit, but I need a developer perspective if possible.

    1. The Mac Terminal app doesn't cut it. What's the best terminal app that compares to KDE's Konsole (tabs, colours, all that stuff)? I found something called iTerm - any good?

    2. What's the Mac equivalent of /etc/init.d? Can I start/stop services like, say, snmpd, via ssh?

    3. What
  • ... that Microsoft is "beleaguered"?
  • Apple isn't making more money because they don't need to be "beholden" to Microsoft. The reality is that operating system licenses don't cost the Dells of this world that much. They are a thing that goes on every PC and hundreds of millions sold each year means it doesn't cost a great deal per unit for Dell.

    What Apple has the advantage of is that they do not need to compete trying to make a system which does exactly the same as their competitor's boxes with exactly the same hardware and resources. They have
  • Once OS X becomes untied from specific hardware, we might actually see this happen.

    But will it? Until then, I doubt it.

    Home users and corporations alike like to custom tailor hardware for their needs, along with a large open market that pushes down hardware costs.
  • Software developers are the key and have always been. Office applications and Games being the chief draw to a particular type of computer for the standard home user.

    Open office is a big threat to Microsoft, and Open Office keeps getting better and better. Why do you suppose Microsoft is so behind the scenes Anti ODF? Because the way to an OS's heart is through its Office package. Microsoft office was the only game in town, but now it looks like there is a big push towards ODF .. which will make Open

  • Apple needs to double Mac market share in order for the platform to gain enough respect to be seen as a viable alternative platform by the masses. One way this could be accomplished is through the creation of an enterprise targeted subsidiary. If the Mac had around 10% marketshare, it would become very difficult for third parties to ignore the market. It would also be hard for M$ to eliminate or underfund the Mac BU without being called to the carpet again for monopolistic practices.
  • The argument seems to be that one of the most significant trends in computing that I have seen in my lifetime, the decoupling of hardware and software buys, and the increasing "modularity" of computer hardware and software, will be reversible.

    I don't believe it. Customers, consumers or corporate, would have to be pretty stupid to return to a situation in which they will lose every time. It is a great deal more convenient, and financially wiser, to be able to pick and choose what you need. Suppliers may no

  • by dudeX (78272) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @05:02PM (#18229350)
    and while I saw a lot of people in the store checking out the wares, one thing that I noticed was that on the line for the cash register was that most people had iPod related products and accessories. And as I was walking around the store looking at the prices, it made me realize that Apple has way too much of a premium for their products, except for their high end stuff which can actually be a good deal.

    What Apple needs is a desktop system that is in between the Mac Mini and Mac Pro. The so called xMac would be something I can see a lot of corporations adopting if they needed something that offers more flexibility than the Mac Mini, and as well as regular end users who wish to use beefier graphic cards to play their favorite games. The same goes for their laptop lines, they need Mac Books with larger screens without the speed range of the Mac Book Pro. And if they price it right, even with a small premium, many people will buy these middle of the road systems.

    This year I am going to switch to a Mac Pro system cause, frankly I am tired of Windows and its potential security problems like IE exploits and Vista's attempt to lock you into Microsoft further, and Linux feels too kludgy on the desktop for me to bother with. Plus I always have the option of running Windows when I feel like it with Parallels/BootCamp.

    There is one advantage to Apple products that PCs don't have. Because you pay a premium for their products, they depreciate a lot slower. You will find on eBay and other marketplaces that old Powerbooks and G5s still sell for about 60-80% of the original price. Some stores like PowerMax let you trade in old systems as well.

  • The article compares Apple's revenue and profits to Dell/HPs, and concludes that Apple is getting the high end computer market.

    While this may be true, this is not a good comparison. You cannot compare Apple's profits to HPs in this way. HP does not have Apple's iPod profits, nor does Apple have HP's consulting and ink jet businesses
  • Apple would be in serious trouble if Microsoft gave even less support to Office on the Mac, and both of them know that.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @05:14PM (#18229456)

    If Apple really wants to gain marketshare, they need to do two things:

    1. Make iWork a competent and interoperable competitor to MS Office, or throw their weight behind OOo. Either way, ODF needs to be supported on Macs, if only to push MS into a corner.
    2. Cozy up to game developers and make the Mac a viable gaming platform.

    Otherwise, Apple will continue to be stuck with their current demographic, which is largely based on creative-type users and a halo effect from them and the iPod. Mac sales will jump again in the next few months all due to Adobe finally releasing CS3.

    "Being cool" will only get Apple so far. They have to play the game and get the work done, and allow their users to do the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom (822)

      Make iWork a competent and interoperable competitor to MS Office,

      For crying out loud, no! please no!.

      iWork is great the way it is. I don't want another overblown, feature-creeping, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink gargantuan application suite when all I need to do is write a letter or make a few slides.

      There's a place for multiple sulutions on the market. I have NeoOffice for when I need all the crap, and the more I use iWork the more I realize that I don't, most of the time.

  • by TopSpin (753) * on Sunday March 04, 2007 @05:14PM (#18229458) Journal
    License OS X to all comers. If Microsoft can get $399 for it's bloatware, Apple can get it too, and I'd pay it, as would a lot of you, even sans support. I can imagine by 2010 more than half the geek desktops on Earth running it as primary. At that point all the doors open.

    I am not buying Apple's (or anyone else's) proprietary stack. Reread that last sentence until it registers. It applies even if the platform is only proprietary in the legal sense, as is mostly the case with Apple's hardware. The full stack chip to terminal business model declined sometime in the mid 80s and it is not coming back. It persists in some boutique niches, where Apple lives today, and that is as far as it will ever get.

    No one vendor can scale well enough to satisfy the entire world of computing. AMD exists to make x86 scale to the market. Nvidia and ATI carry on because the market wants options. There has always been a plethora of storage vendors and that isn't going to change, because that is what the market insists on. The market has no trouble finding room for multiple competitive, successful game console vendors. The epiphany required to regress all of this back to the days of the One True Vendor is fantasy.

    There has never been a better time for a rebel to chuck a sledgehammer through the screen. Vista sucks and few of us really want it. Less than a quarter of Apple's revenue comes from desktop/laptop hardware (linky [blogspot.com]). Why not risk some of that hardware revenue and take 50% of Microsoft's OS market?

  • by Macka (9388) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @06:51PM (#18230696)

    Apple have the potential to take on Microsoft in the consumer space. In many ways they have an advantage here in that Apple customers (currently) don't have to worry about security problems like viruses. That may change in the future but right now it's not an issue. There's very little your average Apple consumer can't do on OS X that they explicitly need a Windows PC for.

    Leopard server (when it ships) offers a lot more to the SMB crowd that Tiger currently doesn't, and Apple will be able to leverage some of this new strength to gain further traction into the SMB space.

    Where Apple stands no chance at all is in the Enterprise. The majority of Enterprise desktops have too much invested in MS workstations, plus Apple is not producing products targeting the Enterprise that would allow them to mass deploy OS X on the desktop with any advantage over MS Windows. Quite the opposite in fact. I'll give you an example. I was at a VMware presentation/seminar very recently and one products I saw demoed was HP's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure [hp.com]. This allows you to have Active Directory controlled logins, a set of application servers and a suite of VMware servers virtualising the desktop OS with HP thin clients at the front end. The thin client selects a virtual desktop OS to connect to based on load balanced availability, which is then personalised at login time with the (served) apps and data that match the users profile. It's pretty impressive stuff.

    I'm not under any kind of NDA so I can quote a specific usage case given (in production today) as Prudential, who in the UK have moved their call center ops to somewhere in India. Only the thin client exists in the Indian call centers, all the virtual desktops, data and applications are in datacentres in the UK. Access to data and applications is centrally controlled on a per account basis and can be updated and (forcibly) refreshed at any time.

    The benefits to the Pru are obvious. The security of their data (SAN storage) virtual operating system instances, user accounts and app servers remain in their protected UK datacentres. And the thin remote client architecture means that implementing a remote desktop pretty much any where in the world is cheap, quick and flexible. If in future they want to move their call center ops to somewhere else in india, or eastern europe, or China or even back to the UK, they have the flexibility to do this cheaply, without disrupting their datacentres at all.

    Is this possible with Apple desktops? No! Hell, you can't even do it with any of the Linux desktop solutions. The only technology in Unix history that could have matched this solution was Project Athena from MIT, and that was officially retired 16 years ago in 1991 !!

    My point is that current *ix desktops (including Apple) are all about glitz and glamor and capturing the hearts and minds of the consumer, and the small footprint of academia. In the mean time, MS and its partners are listening to the Enterprise and building innovative solutions like virtualising desktops for remote, cheap, flexible access.

  • by dick johnson (660154) on Monday March 05, 2007 @01:23PM (#18239202)
    Either most posters here have missed the point of the article, or didn't bother to read it.

    He's not saying Apple will win larger market share than Microsoft.

    He's saying that Apple could capture the most valuable part of it, those willing to pay a high-end premium for their machines.

    The premise of the article is that Dell and other pc makers would be left selling very, very low-profit computers. (which from a business stand-point, is not a good business to be in)

    This has nothing to do with game computers or those willing to build their own boxes.

    It's a business story.

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