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Apple Climbs Into Third Place In U.S. PC Market 1019

Posted by timothy
from the your-only-possible-choices-are-vista-and-os-x dept.
Tibor the Hun writes "According to Gartner and IDC, Apple now has between 7.8 and 8.5% of market share. While those numbers are not astonishing, they are not insignificant, and their growth does not seem to be slowing down. Will the pearly gates of acceptance open up for them once they reach the magic 10%, and will that have a positive effect on desktop Linux adoption? Hard to tell, but it's good to see that normal people (not just us geeks) are choosing to go with a different OS, rather than staying with the headache-inducing Windows."
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Apple Climbs Into Third Place In U.S. PC Market

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:05PM (#24230921) Homepage

    Hard to tell, but it's good to see that normal people (not just us geeks) are choosing to go with a different OS, rather than staying with the headache-inducing Windows."

    And since when have Apple users been considered "normal" around here?

    Or did you really mean 'orthogonal'

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kramer2718 (598033)

      Hard to tell, but it's good to see that normal people (not just us geeks) are choosing to go with a different OS, rather than staying with the headache-inducing Windows."

      And since when have Apple users been considered "normal" around here?

      Or did you really mean 'orthogonal'

      Apple users are definitely wacky. I bought a MacBook recently because of the stability, ease of administration, nice kernel, reasonable dev environment, etc.

      Now I can't stand it. The Apple GUI is a piece of shit. They have gone to weird symbols in their GUI instead of nice buttons with labels.

      Example: I needed to add a user. I bought up the little user management app and didn't see any add user button. After a short Google, I found that to add a user, you click the small plus sign at the bottom. Maybe

      • Re:Normal People? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:32PM (#24231381) Homepage Journal

        I converted to Macs a few years ago and found the OS X interface to be the most intuitive I've ever used. The plus and minus signs at the bottom of lists seems obviously to imply add and remove.

        Windows always took me a while to learn the nuances. And then another version with a changed interface would force me to learn the changes. But with OS X I typically just ask myself how something should work and there it is, right where I'd expect it.

        So far I've found that most people's issues with learning the OS X interface is actually unlearning another interface.

      • Re:Normal People? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:33PM (#24231399)

        You didn't see the "?" button on the Accounts pane? Clicking that clearly outlines what you need to know.

        The "+" and "-" and similar buttons are used almost universally and consistently throughout Mac OS X, Apple applications and 3rd party applications.

        It isn't about being pretty but consistent and directly useful/discoverable without clutter.

      • Re:Normal People? (Score:4, Informative)

        by WilyCoder (736280) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:41PM (#24231541)

        Please give us an update in about a month or so.

        Yes, the apple GUI is different. Same with the keyboard shortcuts. Once you get used to them, you won't even notice it.

        I went through the same frustration as you, but now I get pissed when I am on windows and can't use the command key like I can on OS X....

        Give it time would be my suggestion...

      • Re:Normal People? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bockelboy (824282) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:42PM (#24231587)

        That's a pretty bad example. Congratulations, you just learned the UI widget for adding something.

        Now, in most every single Mac native application (and the good ports), you know when you are "adding X", there will always be a button with a + symbol at the bottom corner.

        Let's take Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac as an example of "you can write FORTRAN in every language". Say you want to set the default format to the old binary one instead of OpenXML.

        Word: Hit preferences. It's a System-Preferences like presentation of a matrix of icons. Hit compatibility. Nothing there. Hit "Save". Ah, "Save Word files as ... (dropdown to .doc)"

        Excel: Hit preferences. Again, a System-Preferences matrix of icons. Hit "Save". Nothing there. Hit "Compatibility" - ah, a different layout of dropdown box.

        Powerpoint: Hit preferences. It's a tabbed interface. Go to the "Save" tab and hit "Save powerpoint files as ... (dropdown to .ppt)"

        So, there are 2 layouts of preferences (tabbed versus icon matrix) and two places where this dropdown is hidden (save versus compatibility), and two different styles for the dropdown. No two apps are the same.

        But yes, you do get buttons with labels. Just not a consistent GUI...

      • Re:Normal People? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:44PM (#24231617)

        No - it means that you're used to Windows or Linux conventions, and are trying to use those conventions in an Apple environment.

        It doesn't work that way. I'll be blunt: learning OSX is a pain. There's a ton of non-obvious stuff that is completely different from the Windows world (I'll just point to tabbing between firefox windows when other apps are open as one of my initial pain points), and which have to be re-learned. Remember that first time you fired up Linux? How much stumbling around did you have to do? It's the same thing for OSX. Expecting to be able to navigate all of OSX without ever looking for help anywhere is.... unrealistic.

        What I will argue though is that OSX has the smallest learning curve of any new OS. I remember playing around with Linux, and having to root through config files and command line arguments to get stuff to work. Windows was a collection of arcane commands that made no sense, but worked. Compared to that, OSX is a breeze.

      • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:57PM (#24231829)

        Example: I needed to add a user. I bought up the little user management app and didn't see any add user button. After a short Google, I found that to add a user, you click the small plus sign at the bottom.

        Don't tell me, instead of two buttons with a "plus" and "minus," you wanted one button two screens away that said "Manage User Profiles." And clicking that, you expected three radio buttons: "Add A User Profile," "Create A Personality with the PersonalityWizard(tm)," and "Advanced". You wanted the Mac to kernel panic if you selected "Add A User Profile," you wanted the PersonalityWizard(tm) to ask for your MSN password and a credit card number, but never add a user, and you wanted Advanced to open up the Wifi configuration panel.

        I kid but only a little.

  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:06PM (#24230929)

    when will a project similar to WINE come out for OSX? I have seen all sorts of apps that run on Mac and/or PC's but not linux. One would think it would almost be easier to "not emulate" the OSX software, as it is mostly unix based. If more software starts coming out for mac and PC, it might be easier to get the Mac software running under linux.

    • by bunratty (545641) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:10PM (#24230987)
      If the Windows emulator for Linux is Wine, I guess the Mac emulator for Linux would be Mace?
    • by Sonic McTails (700139) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:10PM (#24230993)
      Try using Darwine (http://darwine.sourceforge.net/), or if you wish for commercial support, use CrossOver Office for Macintosh.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by QuantumRiff (120817)

        Sorry, my post was a bit unclear. I want a project that will let me run OSX apps on a linux machine, just like with WINE, we can run Win32 apps on linux machines..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kellyb9 (954229)

      when will a project similar to WINE come out for OSX?

      When enterprising Mac users develop it.

    • GNUstep (Score:5, Informative)

      by sagefire.org (731545) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:29PM (#24231323) Homepage

      That would be GNUstep http://gnustep.org/ [gnustep.org]

      It's got a long way to go, but eventually, they intend to make .apps from OSX run natively. Remember mac OSX is really NeXTstep 5 (or something).

    • by menace3society (768451) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:40PM (#24232561)

      The reason is that Mac software works completely differently. The POSIX syscalls are the same, but almost everything in between is completely different. Not like Toyota-Ferrari, different, we're talking Schwinn-Ferrari different.

      The Win32 API that Wine implements is a C API, so a clean version can be written from scratch by anyone who knows C and takes the time to do it. Lots of potential users there.

      The Cocoa APIs of Mac OS X are written in Objective-C, a language which few people know. They are more expansive than the Win32 API, and since they are object-oriented the specification is quite a bit more complex.

      There is a Free sort-of-implementation called GNUStep, which actually conforms to the earlier OPENSTEP specification, plus their own add-ons. The GNUStep people now make tracking changes to Cocoa a priority, so there is source compatibility, and there is something called Renaissance which allows users to create use a single file for user interface design.

      However, I don't think GNUStep is binary compatible, even if it's built on top of Darwin and running on identical hardware. But if it's binary compatibility you want, the GNUStep codebase is the best place to start (just watch out for lawyers).

      An interesting note, even though the two are binary compatible, because NeXT/OPEN/GNUStep/Cocoa applications are actually directories of multiple files, it's theoretically possible to have one single build that could handle either API, on a variety of architectures.

  • by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#24230969)

    While those numbers are not astonishing

    Not astonishing? A single company, offering a proprietary product*, is outdoing nearly all of several hundred companies combined who build to a given standard! Astonishing indeed!

    * - including hardware, OS, and a broad range of application software

    • by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:16PM (#24231097)
      To me - it really isn't all that astonishing. While I believe Mac usage has gone up pretty drastically over the last several years. They are the only one selling their product. If someone wants a Mac, they have to go to Apple to buy it. And since they've created a culture, where their product is not only percieved as more efficient and better but also as trendy, I don't really find it that suprising. Still 10% is comparitivly a drop in the bucket.
  • "Magic 10%" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#24230975)
    Why is 10% "magic"? This number is significant because that's how many fingers we have?
  • Reaching corollary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Palshife (60519) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#24230977) Homepage

    Will the pearly gates of acceptance open up for them once they reach the magic 10%, and will that have a positive effect on desktop Linux adoption?

    Wow, talk about a strange corollary. Linux desktop adoption has nothing at all to do with Mac market share. It would have been just as valid to write, "Will the pearly gates of acceptance open up for them once they reach the magic 10%, and will that lead a surge in kitten adoptions?"

    Personally, though, adopt a cat anyway.

    • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:15PM (#24231079)

      Personally, though, adopt a cat anyway.

      Whoa, there. Why would we want to adopt a pet which loathes our existence no matter how much good we do for it? I mean, come on. That's like having a really cranky girlfriend/wife without the sex! Or a teenager. Neither of which is something you want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mhall119 (1035984)

      They're not quite as disconnected as kitten adoption.

      The more people that use a non-Windows OS, the less of a monopoly Windows has on the ecosystem, and that will make application developers think about portability and compatibility, which will make more software and services available on Linux.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Why do you say that? I see Linux desktop adoption being more likely helped by the success of a non-Windows OS than not.

      People use Windows because a) they think it's the only OS and b) they have to because everyone else uses it. If Windows has a big competitor then everyone becomes aware that (a) is untrue and (b) is not only untrue, but the reasons for using the OS your friends, family and boss uses fade away because compatible software and document formats start springing up on multiple platforms.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tibor the Hun (143056)

      It may seem like somewhat of a stretch, but once you establish a beachead on the OS marketshare it's easier for businesses to adopt and support other alternatives. They won't have the excuse "Well *everyone* runs windows, so we just need to code/webdevelop for them."
      Basically the same thing that happened once Firefox reached a critical share. You can't well ignore 10% of your paying customers. Some companies may then realize that it's to their advantage to use OpenGL, for example, or release applications fo

  • headache inducing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ya really (1257084) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:10PM (#24230995)

    Any browser can induce a boatload of headaches to those who are uninformed on how to use it. Aside from Vista and all of it's obvious headaches such as drivers and legacy software not working, XP and 2k were not quite as bad.

    I think anyone will agree that even Linux can cause plenty of headaches as well if one is not careful. Sendmail was one of those battles I had a while ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:12PM (#24231019)

    If TV and the movies have taught me anything, it's that at least 90% of the computers and laptops out there are Apples. Hell, even alien civilizations use Macs on their motherships.

  • Sounds Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stevenovitch (1292358) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:13PM (#24231041)
    I really can't see how anything but goodness can come from this. Afterall, if you really want to gain ground against an evil closed-source monopoly that charges too much for it's products, it makes perfect sense to switch to another company that even more protective of its source, charges even more for its products, and even has a nasty habit of keeping its platform as proprietary as possible.

    Success!
    • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#24231223)

      Afterall, if you really want to gain ground against an evil closed-source monopoly that charges too much for it's products...

      Are you referring to Apple or Microsoft?

    • Re:Sounds Great (Score:4, Interesting)

      by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#24231229) Homepage Journal

      it makes perfect sense to switch to another company that even more protective of its source

      What, something happened to Apple Open Source [apple.com]?

      Oh no, it's all there, still tracking the latest release of OS X.

      Damn, you scared me for a second...

      (yes, I know they're only 99.44% pure and hold out a few kernel components, but "even more protective" than Microsoft? Give me a rotating plaid gold-decked break!)

    • Re:Sounds Great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:01PM (#24231917)

      Maybe you're not understanding the power of being a monopolist. It matters very little what people switch to, so long as it is not controlled by Microsoft. If there are enough players in the desktop OS market so that Microsoft cannot control the direction of the industry and use it to prevent innovation in that and related markets then we all win.

      Good or bad we don't want to replace MS's domination of the industry with Apple's, we want t make sure one company doesn't have domination so all the companies have to work for us and keep us happy to make money.

  • Vista: Unix's MVP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtobyr (846578) <toby@@@richards...net> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:17PM (#24231133) Homepage
    Has anyone else noticed that after Vista came out, Microsoft seems to have been losing ground? Netbooks/UMPC's are selling with OEM Linux like hot cakes, and Apple is steadily gaining market share. I also bet that the disappointment with SP1 made it even worse for ol' Billy. Even if Windows 7 is all that and a bag of chips, it'll be too late because Joe the Layman will have seen that Linux really is ready for prime time.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:20PM (#24231181) Journal

    I REALLY hope that increased Marketshare will motivate games being ported to OS X. I fear it will have to be at least 20% for that to happen though.

  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#24231221)

    Geeks and enthusiasts wearing Wordpress t-shirts, using laptops covered in Data Portability, Microformats and RSS stickers lined up enthusiastically on Friday to purchase a device that is completely proprietary, controlled and wrapped in DRM. The irony was lost on some as they ran home, docked their new devices into a proprietary media player and downloaded closed source applications wrapped in DRM.

    I am referring to the new iPhone - and the new Apple iPhone SDK that allows developers to build 'native' applications. The announcement was greeted with a web-wide standing ovation, especially from the developer community. The same community who demand all from Microsoft, feel gifted and special when Apple give them an inch of rope. When Microsoft introduced DRM into Media Player it was bad bad bad - and it wasn't even mandatory, it simply allowed content owners a way to distribute and sell content from anywhere.

    Apple has wrapped the iPhone SDK in enough licensing, security controls and right management that it would make the Microsoft Active Desktop team blush. The phone and platform that is certain to soon take second spot behind Symbian in the smart phone market is also the most restricted and closed. Applications can only be installed from a single source, iTunes, and open source applications and distribution is near impossible. How do you install an iPhone application without iTunes? Where are the community advocates arguing for a standard interface, openess and free code?

    What is more worrying is what the next move could be. Now that there is an AppStore with applications in iTunes, why wouldn't Apple move next to distribute all applications through iTunes - both desktop and mobile? There is no reason for them not to - the response to AppStore has been so enthusiastic that it is almost assured that you will start seeing desktop apps distributed in the same way. As soon as users are ground into looking at everything through iTunes, distribution of software in the traditional manner would be near impossible. Apple would become the gatekeeper, and both developers and users will enthusiastically pay the toll in exchange for pretty devices with pretty applications.

    Apple has a very strong following in the open source community, and I can no longer understand it nor justify my own support (I am writing this on a Macbook). They built OS X on FreeBSD (a project I have enthusiastically supported, contributed to and been a user of for 10 years or more), they built Safari on KHTML, and are now using libraries such as SproutCore in MobileMe. They have taken open source and everything it built and leveraged it to get to market faster - yet they have now, with iTunes and the new SDK, built a layer on top of it that excludes others. For Apple, open source is great when it furthers their own goals, but not when using it with Apple software where it may further the goals of others.

    The solution is simple. If you truly believe in open standards, open source and the good that it has created, then don't accept it. The spirit of open source was about building on the work of others in a transparent fashion, as the gains further the common good of all. Despite not taking over the desktop market, the philosophy and its resultants have destroyed the old enterprise market and many others. Open source and standards keep Microsoft and other big companies on their toes, the movement as a whole and the philosophy is very real. The solution isn't to adopt new licenses to try and prevent this, as it results in the mess that is GPL v 3.

    It should be very possible to attach a simple BSD license to code, and if a large company utilizes the effort from others in a way that is unacceptable - the market should be able to sort that out, we simply wont buy it. The community needs to do more than just wear their support for openess and standards on their sleeves (and on their laptops). The problem with Apple is that the blind demand is driven by a distorted reality, so those same developers who poured thousands of hours into the BSD kernel now turn around and purchase an iPhone running that code, but it is now tied up in DRM, licenses and restrictions placed there by others.

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@nosPAm.jmaug.com> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:24PM (#24231241)
    Hard to tell, but it's good to see that normal people (not just us geeks) are choosing to go with a different OS

    Most of the Mac owners I know are normal people. Either students that got an imac laptop from their school, older people who wanted an easy to use computer, or an artist (musician, photographer, graphic designer, etc.) who wanted a powerful machine that wouldn't get infected with a ton of spyware and viruses in a week.

    None of the Mac owners I know (besides myself) are very tech savvy, they just know that their iPod works great, their PC is always infected with "viruses" (usually some spyware they installed cause it promised free smileys), and their friend's Mac never has any problems. Personally I didn't buy a Mac just for a different OS. If I want to toy around in something other than Windows, I just go install Linux on whatever old computers are lying around the house. I bought the Mac specifically for Aperture, and Final Cut Pro since I do a lot of photography and video work. I know there exists open source software or expensive Windows software to do that stuff, it's just none of it is as powerful or easy to use as the Mac versions. I don't need Mac OS to have a stable computer, I just like the software that exists for the Mac.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:24PM (#24231251)

    I use linux/*nix all day long at work, and I have a mac at home, yet there's very few things that I use on OSX that are *nix related. Maybe running 'top' is about it, and that's a rarity. I picked OSX because of the applications and how they are all integrated in with each other, pure and simple. My laptop at work is a company provided XP system and while not having the polish/eye candy that OSX has, it gets the job done.

    When linux distros have the same ease of use, smooth upgrades and most importantly application integration (with each other AND the OS), then I can see people like myself thinking about saving a few bucks and going with Linux instead.

    I assume that when I buy a dishwasher, the interface is intuitive and it just works, why should we treat computers any differently?

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#24231265) Homepage Journal

    These figures just count units shipped in the US, they exclude mini-notebooks and handhelds and don't take into account profitability or unit costs.

    If you go by market capitalisation, Apple isn't behind Dell and HP, it's ahead of both, but behind IBM who don't even get a look-in in the units shipped list.

  • Confirmed: (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman (158191) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#24231267) Homepage Journal

    2008 will be the year of OS X on the desktop! :-)

  • by tsstahl (812393) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#24231533)
    "...and will that have a positive effect on desktop Linux adoption?"

    Until Linux wireless is brain dead easy, the answer is NO.
  • by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:53PM (#24231779) Homepage Journal
    I find it suspicious that Mac adoption has exploded shortly after the release of Bootcamp. I'd like to know what fraction of this 8.5% of Mac users is dual booting to Windows.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I figure the Mac revolution would have happened when OSX was released, or maybe when the iPod was launched. Why should the surge happen today?
  • by Weasel Boy (13855) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:18PM (#24232207) Journal

    "Will the pearly gates of acceptance open up for them once they reach the magic 10%, and will that have a positive effect on desktop Linux adoption?"

    Absolutely not.

    Some of you may recall that, back in the late 1980s, the Mac's market share was about 18%. For a period of time lasting into the mid-1990s, Apple was the #1 maker of PCs (IBM, Compaq and Dell rounded out the top 4; HP, Packard Bell, Gateway and a few others fought over the scraps).

    If you take into consideration the fact that Macs lasted longer than PCs in those days and Mac users tended to buy more software (claims supported by numerous published Gartner studies), you could make a fair argument that Macs represented as much as perhaps a third of the total installed base and of the potential software market.

    This was not seen as sufficient. Throughout the entire mid-80s through late-90s, the PC press maintained a steady drum-beat of, "Apple doesn't have enough market share to survive." Of course Apple's not going to make it if the press keeps telling everyone they can't! Combine this with some of Apple's strategic management blunders, and you have a perfect recipe for also-ran status.

    Not that any of this is necessary to ensure Windows' continued market dominance. Most businesses are going to use what other businesses in their industry use. Most people are going to buy for home use what they are comfortable with at work. Windows' prevalence is its own best selling feature. This is why Microsoft enjoys a "natural monopoly", and why it will take a bigger disruptive market force than anything we've seen so far in the past 20+ years to change it.

  • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:33PM (#24235411)

    "normal people (not just us geeks) are choosing to go with a different OS, rather than staying with the headache-inducing Windows."

    What's really interesting is the demographics of the people who buy Apple computers. You think it would be young people. Not now Apple costomers tend to be much older and much better educated then the average PC buyer. Turns out if you are a 40+ year old professional with a graduate level education you are a prime demographic for Apple's Mac. These people tend to NOT be geeks of "on the fringe" Certainly these people are as full on mainstream as it gets. (and there have the money to buy what they like.)

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