back to article Apple grabs number-three US PC market slot

Fanboys, rejoice - Apple 'aters, gnash your teeth. The Mac maker is now once again the third largest computer maker in the US. So claims market watcher Gartner, which has just posted its Q2 numbers. Dell and HP were the top two companies with market shares of 31.9 per cent and 25.3 per cent, respectively. Between them they …


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  1. Webster Phreaky
    Gates Halo


    I... AM... SO... ANGRY... RIGHT... NOW!!!!1!!!

  2. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Help us Webster!

    The sheeple are taking over! Come, espouse wisdom and save us all!

  3. Thomas

    8.5% versus 25.3%?

    I won't hold my breath waiting for them to climb to second place. Still, all competition is meant to be good for the consumer, right?

  4. KazR
    Gates Horns

    Internationally - I'm not surprised...

    ... the gear is just too expensive and that counts for a lot. Don't get me wrong, I've got a Mac and really like it, but I also have to put fuel in the car, heat the house and occasionally eat.

    In the current climate, spending £800+ on a Macbook (before anyone pipes up - I don't count the lowest spec model - who apart from apple sells a machine without a DVD burner!!??!), seems daft when you can pick up a cheap lappy for £300. And for most people - at the end of the day - it's the numbers that matter.

  5. Sooty

    pointless ranking

    <insert usual Apples Vs Oranges comment here>

    Apple makes Macintosh pc's, all the others make a different type of pc.

    To even rank them is the same list is meaningless as they are not like for like products. If you want a mac you have to buy it from apple. if you want a pc you are not going to buy it from apple.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Breaking News

    Apple are now the number one supplier of Apple machines.

    Microsoft have been confirmed as the number one provider of Windows(tm) Operating systems.

    Linux is the most popular Open source operating system.

    Everybody happy now.

  7. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    @Sooty's sweeping statement.

    "...if you want a pc you are not going to buy it from apple."

    Macs can run Windows & Linux as well as OSX. If you want a PC for Windows or Linux, you can buy it from Apple. I did.

    I'd like to see the figures for people buying Macs to install Windoze but, even if they're all running OSX, it still qualifies as a purchase of a personal computer.

  8. Ben Bufton

    I believe you Webster...

    The "1" in amongst all the "!!!!!1!!!!"'s makes me believe you are angry - like you're hammering the keys in fury.

    Hehe. Very funny.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Re: pointless ranking

    True they're different products, but most consumers are only going to buy one or t'other so comparing sales is indicative of whether people are falling under Jobs' spell.

  10. James Anderson

    Bad judgement compounds bad taste

    The thing I find most surprising is the low level of Levono sales in the US.

    Why don't the secptics like Thinkpads? They are the best made, best designed laptops you can buy.

    It cant be the price as they are prepared to pay over the odds for Apples toy computers.

    Could this be something to do with the Vista rollout. i.e. You could still buy an XP based system outsode the US during this sales period?

  11. Thomas

    @Webster Phreaky

    Don't be angry. Apple are a nasty, faceless corporation but so are Microsoft, Dell, and HP.

    Dell like to pretend they're going to bundle Linux with some of their computers for the publicity, then in practice make those machines nearly impossible to obtain. They're one of the worst for filling all their Windows machines with the sort of bloated trialware that makes many people dislike computers in general.

    HP put chips in their ink cartridges and use intellectual property law to prevent others from cloning the chips, so that you become tied into their printer consumables ecosystem. I'll wager they also have a trialware policy that isn't particularly friendly.

    In terms of gut feeling, Microsoft have Ballmer, who can wring bad publicity out of any news. They owe the EU billions of Euros in fines for their anticompetive behaviour. Internet Explorer is still the scourge of web development, and wasn't even being actively developed until Firefox came along. Whatever Vista is, trying to force it onto the market so that people actually don't have a choice has clearly been a mistake.

    Whatever you don't like about Apple is also present in its more successful competitors.

  12. sektah

    woo-woo rah-rah *facepalm*

    Really, who gives a toss?

    It's a peculiar sort of person that takes delight or disdain in where a computer company ranks in sales. Rather than care about the quality of machines, or software, or end-user support, people get all hyped up over numbers as if they were some sort of sports score?

    FFS, I couldn't care less whether my computer of choice is enjoyed by everyone on the planet or whether I'm the sole user - what matters is whether it works for me, and works well.

  13. alistair millington
    Thumb Up


    I thought this article was on shipping laptops, so OS has nothing to do with it.

    or did I read another article????

    Knowing it is americans that has put it to number 3 isn't a shock, they all have too much money, Apple laptops are much cheaper over there and the country belive NASCAR is a religion, George bush is anything other than a complete nutter and that Fox TV would never lie. So believing a bunch of spin from the very good Apple PR is apt.

    To the rest of the world they are just well made and pretty, but the price and lack of peripherals means most go looking elsewhere.

    Still, goes to show that apple have it right in their PR deptartment, that advertising campaign taking the mickey out of M$ obviously working well. :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    "I don't count the lowest spec model - who apart from apple sells a machine without a DVD burner!!??!), seems daft when you can pick up a cheap lappy for £300. And for most people - at the end of the day - it's the numbers that matter."

    Yeah thats what they do at my works, buy cheap laptops and not so cheap laptops, they just don't last, they fall apart, hinges break, keys stop working, screens flash 'n' flicker. Meanwhile the MacBookPro just keeps on going. (tempting fate I am)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Good for consumers!

    This is very good for consumers, with Apple continuing to climb up the charts, the EU will soon have no option but to examine their uncompetetive practices and force them to follow the same rules as everyone else.

  16. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Halo

    Keyboard fixed

    Ah! That's better - my crappy Micro$oft keyboard was only typing in UPPERCASE and putting '...' after every word in my previous "post". And Shift+1 was failing intermittently. (Too much whacking off to Bill Gates photos in front of the PC, I fear.)

    All I need to do now is learn how to spell and construct meaningful sentences from my limited vocabulary and they may let me start school with the 4-year olds.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Er yeah as someone already commented -

    I'm happily running WinXP SP2 in a window on my MacOS desktop.

    I also run FreeBSD and Solaris in other windows too as it happens. MacOS isn't all its cracked up to be - there are various aspects I've quickly come to hate about it as a power Unix user - but the machine its running on (the 8 core Intel Mac Pro) is awesome.

    Therefore Apple has managed to pull my Sterling away from the PC component manufacurers (ie ASUS) who have previously bought parts from to build my 'PC's, so the ranking is actually valid.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Apple ranks as high as any in Rome!

    mine's the one hanging in the line on the left

  19. Alexis Vallance
    Jobs Halo

    Fair enough

    Apple are more of a niche manufacturer though. They'll never make number 1 because they're not a pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap company like Dell.

    Yes, they're expensive, but they have good resale value for when you want to ditch you machine and get the 2010 iMac, for example.

    Toyotas will always outsell Mercedes, because they're fundamentally different brands.

  20. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Halo

    @alistair millington

    "price and lack of peripherals"?

    Which peripherals is the Mac lacking then? I've never seen any shortage of hard-drives, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, routers, networking, CD/DVD burners, wireless stuff. In fact most peripherals, that most people buy also work on the Mac.

    And regarding price, you've clearly never read any of the regular "like-for-like" price comparisons, where Macs come out either the same price or cheaper than the equivalent Windoze PC. Recent example from a PC mag:

  21. Thomas

    @alistair millington

    Come on, be fair. George Bush currently has the lowest presidential approval rating ever recorded. Furthermore, he has a 73% disapproval rating in one recent poll, and not less than 59% disapproval in any poll. Both of the candidates for this year's election are significantly to the left of him politically and even the candidate from his own party is trying to distance himself.

    Also, I think you might want to take a reality check on "lack of peripherals". Have you ever heard of a little thing called USB? I'm unaware of a single USB peripheral that can be made to work on a PC but not on a Mac.

  22. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @Internationally - I'm not surprised...

    A Mac Mini is good enough for most people and is £399. It has firewire, USB for external storage.

    I used one as a main machine for months and even played HD video files on it.

  23. Trygve Henriksen
    Jobs Halo

    @Thomas, USB-devices...

    I'll tell you which USB devices which doesn't work on a Mac...

    A lot of 'cheap' laserprinters which are GDI-based.

    (Low-end HP, lots of Conica-Minolta such as my PagePro 1300W bought before I did the sensible thing and switched to Mac, and many others)

    Creative Zen MP3-players...

    (They're 'compatible' with non-copyprotected .AAC becasue there's a Windooze program supplied on the CD which can convert them to .mp3)

    Not that us Mac fans buy Zen players, anyway...

    (All right, it was on sale... I had the cash, and hadn't bought a gadget for nearly 2 weeks... )

    Built-in copy-protection on CDs... The Mac just ignores this.

    (All right, it's only the RIAA who thinks this is a problem :-)

    In the beginning...

    was the ADB, and the user saw that it was good...

    BTW: My 'first' Mac was a 12" iBook, and it has later been complemented with a Mac Mini(Intel based) and a G4 PowerMac(Sawtooth).

    First, as in first I bought to use, and not counting the lot in my collection...

  24. nacnud
    Jobs Horns

    @ Giles Jones

    Mac minis are £500, the lower spec one doesn't have a DVD burner :(

  25. alphaxion


    I've encountered TV tuners that won't run on OSX because they demand directx. Though, that's cause they're crappy tv tuners :)

    And for those who seem to believe "mac's aren't PC's".. yes they are as PC isn't a specific brand/model it's a "personal computer", which can be anything that performs the function of a PC.

  26. Gilbo

    @ Webster Phreaky

    Are you suggesting that every known graphics card, sound card, TV card, physics card, RAID card and SCSI card works in a Mac too?

    Are you telling me that your average Mac owner who walks into a computer shop doesn't have to worry in the slightest about whether the products will work properly with OSX?

    Come on, mate. We're talking lack of choice, not lack of availability, and you know it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @ pointless ranking

    Why does everyone in the IT industry get so wound up by the difference between a Mac and PC?

    I am about to buy a new computer for my home. I need it to surf the web, check mails, write letters (and use spreadsheets, do the odd presentations), watch the occasional film and store my photos and music and that's about it.

    I've owned Dell, Toshiba, Compaq and HP computers. I am fed up of computers that take ages to fire up, crash and generally take shed loads of maintenance to just keep running. So I'm plumping for a Mac. I'm reckoning that the "TCO" will be significantly better. If not, I'll buy something else next time around.

    Ergo, these are not apples and pears. if Apple make computers that mean that buyers get what they want, they'll grow their business.

  28. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    @phreaky and thomas

    Sorry I meant.. built in stuff as in drives, expansion slots that kind of thing. Yes things plug in by USB which is very useful if you don't use a laptop as a mobile PC.

    As the you tube advert from lenovo pointed out very cleverly, having to plug everything into it via USB isn't ideal for some users when other lappys out there have them in built or slotting in via the pc cards. The one I used recently had very little with it internally and I was forced to carry another bag with it to get things I would have thought useful. So in a like for like between Apple "everything needs USB" to a Lenovo, "everything on board". I would go for the lenovo and I don't think it is a rare leap to think others think the same. Practical more than pretty. And that is what is keeping them at sixth place, not jumping up in europe's market %.

    Price for price they are comparable to upper levels of laptop (quick check on google) I can't find ones in the 300 - 500 quid margin which is where most people are looking nowadays thanks to asus et al. Mac mini being the exception but that isn't really a laptop.

    I have found prices from 550 - 1500 and most average around 700 - 800. So I still don't see them being a cheaper alternative and won't therefore fight the market share % of other suppliers who are shifting the cheaper and still comprable kit.

    They make good kit but this was an article on market share, and middle management (uncluding me) want as little to transport as possible and for bulk orders you want cheaper and more reliable pieces of kit against expensive and pretty. Even if apple are good manufacturers. Which having had to repair a few I disagree with as well.

    Slightly off topic. George bush, I meant the fact they voted him in to start with and then again to keep him in. His decline is just the latter stages of his second term. It should have been in the beginning stages of his first term. :)

  29. jai

    @ webster phreaky - re: @alistair millington

    alright, own up, what have you done with the real Webster?

    those sound like suspiciously pro-mac comments and to be honest, it unnerves me when comments like that have Webster's name attached to them. it's a sign of the End Times, i'm sure, the Lamb opens the 7th Seal, the Four ride forth and silence covers the land... and Webster begins to proclaim the excellent qualities of Apple :)

  30. Jeff


    I find it funny that you consider Mac people 'fanboys' when it's the PC types that carry screwdrivers in their back pockets and are always tearing their computers apart, benchmarking this and that...

    Not Mac people. No sir, they buy a computer and actually use it. Can't put a hundred different video cards in it... and that affect the average computer user how?

  31. TeeCee Gold badge


    Not just that one, the "Keyboard fixed" one as well. Both using the St Jobs icon and there's even a dollar sign in the word "microsoft". WTF?

    Other news: The Pope's actually Xenu in drag, Bears get constipated around trees and Gordon Brown's announced a Tax rebate.

    Nah. I reckon someone's kidnapped Webster, wrapped him up in firewire cables and forced him to disclose his El Reg access details by threatening to sign him up for an 18 month iCandybar contract.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Richard Scratcher

    I think you missed the point.

  33. Anonymous Coward


    @ Alistair - If you think all Americans "have too much money", you are sadly mistaken. While you may fallaciously infer that we consider Nascar a religion, many of us are led to believe that you limeys think "football" (whichever of the varieties, we may not quite be sure of) is also some form of religion. The near-warlike results following some of those competitions that have been reported in the world press would tend to substantiate such a supposition. As far as Mr. Bush is concerned, don't you fellows have enough to worry about with your own gub'mint's increasing fascism? Yes, our "public servants" are continuing in their attempts to disassemble the U.S. Constitution; although the erosion of "Common Law" by your own political parasites proceeds apace, as well.

    @ AC concerned with TCO - If those are indeed the main uses for a 'puter in your home, one need feed neither Microsoft nor Apple. Break out of the apples/oranges paradigm entirely and consider, say, nectarines/kumquats. There are various mature FOSS alternatives that will more than adequately meet your needs using inexpensive commodity hardware. Despite the FUD, they'll recognize and utilize almost all of your peripherals. I use both "windows-only" USB printers and MP3 players on a linux box. In the same manner as the Mac users above have pointed out, if I simply "can't do without" some windows "feature", I can run that junkware in a virtual machine with an insignificant degree of performance penalty. While it may well skirt the edge of legality, it is also possible to run whatever feline variation of Apple's operating environment you wish, again on commodity hardware. I know several people that are perfectly happy with their hackintoshes.

    @ Webster - have you forgotten your meds again?

    OK, flame on... mine's the one with the Nomex lining, just like those Nascar driver outfits.

  34. Thomas

    @Trygve Henriksen, alphaxion, alistair millington

    I was unaware that GDI printers (or XPF printers as they are sure to be soon enough) still existed, what with the support costs of fixing the drivers every time a new version of Windows comes along and changes its architecture a little. I guess I'm being naive, most of those printers probably aren't designed to last more than a couple of years — at least for support purposes, anyway. Obviously I have to concede that cheap printers that are designed to be Windows-centric don't work on Macs.

    Re: Creative Zens, since you can use iTunes to convert non-protected AAC to MP3 (or could, several versions ago, I haven't tried lately), doesn't this just count as using different software to access the same peripherals, which is pretty much what you'd expect when you switch OS?

    Re: TV tuners, that's really into the realm of the difference between a lack of peripherals and not being able to use every single peripheral that exists. There are plenty of TV tuners for the Mac (though my tip is: buy Elgato, I have a Miglia and the software it uses is absolutely horrid), so it's not that they don't exist.

    @alistair millington: the MacBook Pros have ExpressCard slots, and the Mac Pro has empty IDE bays and PCI Express slots aplenty.

    But I think your point about cost of entry is really what keeps Apple away from the top slot. Regardless of whatever you believe about the cost effectiveness of the machines they sell and/or the false economies of £300 laptops, Apple unarguably don't even compete in the low-price sector.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    more compatible then what?

    I have an "IBM" PC - at least that is how it was sold -it might be a 'Lenovo' one though but I am not sure - it sais "IBM" on the nice black box. I was quite pleased that it came with Windows XP professional as my other "noname" PC has Vista on it and I am not convinced of its superiority. My "IBM" PC seems to be much quicker. I did think for a while (until I opened the box) that it would be compatible with "a lot of stuff". So I thought I would get myself a new graphic card to be able to play newer games (on board graphic just did not do an impressive job on the gaming experience). It turns out that the PC has an AGP port - not exactly the most common solution anymore so the "great choice" was a bit limited straight away (not to mention the price difference). Yet another interesting issue was that the card needed to be "half hight" - this requirement completely killed any hope for getting a "modern" graphic card. Thought about getting my self a bigger hard disk - well my PC happens to have an IDE hard disk. There is no space for a second hard disk anyway. One could ofcourse just switch the original hard disk with a new one - but it turns out that I did not receive a copy of my paid for licenced operating system with my computer and thus could not - simply do a fresh install of my legal version of XP on a new and empty hard disk. I can ofcourse make an installation CD or copy a duplicate on a new hard disk by using a temporary USB solution but it is a workaround to a problem which should not be there in the first place. Then we have the sound card surely it is easy to get one to work on a "bog standard" PC? To make life easy one could just get a mainstream card from Creative? It turns out that since the soundcard also has to be PCI and half height the number of choices available is rather small - and then it has to have a half hight back plate - this turned out to be a problem to solve also for the graphic card that I eventually managed to get. Now considering all the choices I seem to have according to some of the messages above - since I have a relatively new "IBM" PC - surely this would be "compatible"? - it is quite interesting to note that because of the impossibility to source a decent graphic card there is no way that I can actually play (m)any recent games on it. So yes there are a lot of accesories available for Windows PCs - but this does not actually mean that all of these accesories can be used in all Windows PCs... Not even if those computers are relatively new.

  36. Anthony Prime

    Apple's strength is also it's weakness...

    Ok, so it's a little Zen for a friday afternoon, but I think Asus prove the point pretty well.

    Jobs doesn't chase market share at any price - if he did, now Apple are on Intel there no reason why there couldn't be a £300 Apple Laptop - after all we all share the same parts bucket these days.

    Unfortunately for generic X86 system builders there are a hundred competitors trying to eat their lunch and capitalism being capitalism that leads to huge cost competition, which in turn means lots of boxes that just about run Vista - and of course the fact that it runs like a dog is Microsoft's fault, not the fault of the end user buying a bargin 8086 and installing Vista ultimate on it. Well no, because that'd make me dumb for buying an underpowered box and then complaining. ;-)

    So Jobs will never see Apple take conquer the desktop, but I don't think he wants that - far better to sit with a decent stable market share, an OS that isn't quite popular enough to be worth targetting to exploit and all his hardware running it comfortably. I can see nothing but downside for Apple if they elected to start to sell to the meek and the poor. The Mac desktop business is Apple's cash cow in much the same way the Windows and Office are Microsofts, it just happens to be a *much* less critical one to them as the have other profitable businesses.

    On that basis the fact that their market share is rising must indicate something interesting - I'm just not quite sure if it's that punters will buy OS X if they have the money to spend on Windows kit of the same value or that all the FUD around Vista is encouraging people to make an active decision to break the bank and go Mac.

    No Icon, cos as far as I can see Evil Bill or Evil Steve would do just as well...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Just goes to show...

    ...what happens when you add the ability to do something useful with the kit by supporting Windows.

  38. Philip
    Thumb Up

    Same old nonsense...

    The ElReg Winbois and Linuxtards are out to play again I see. And the thing that really gets them steaming is the fact that as well as being a superb machine running a superb OS designed for people that *actually do stuff* - for those that need it - they also run Windows quicker than most Windows machines... Phreaky!

  39. Ben Bufton

    Webster's gone freaky!

    So I make one little comment about the "!!!!!!!1!!!!!!" and Webster makes one of the most balanced and considered posts I've ever read on the Reg - pro Mac??!

    I'm not sleeping tonight... I'm going to sit with the duvet, huddled in a corner, rocking whilst clutching a shotgun saying "Webster has changed... he'll be coming for me now" over and over again...


  40. Shad



    Apple does not sell PCs. They sell Macs.

    A PC is an IBM clone running some version of Windows.

    The correct term is "desktop computer".

  41. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    @jai & TeeCee & Ben Burton

    Im with all of you. I kept reading all the posts to see if the last one was Webster admitting its all a joke. I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasnt April and I also thought maybe it was the second coming.

    Its not.

    Right now my sphincter is so tight from fear of whats next I dont know what to do. I think im going to go on a 4 month bender and hope that the madness has calmed down when I get back. And if ElReg is in flames when I get back Ill know I need to find a bridge to jump off of.

    *hold me I'm scared*

    /PH cause shes wondering about Websters sanity as well

  42. Jeffrey Nonken
    Thumb Up

    @Pointless ranting

    "if you want a pc you are not going to buy it from apple."

    Eh? I can do anything on my MacBook that I can do on a non-Apple PC, including boot into Windows.

    Oh, and I can run OS X too, if I want.

    As far as I can tell, I actually DID buy a PC from Apple.

  43. WT

    re: rare leap

    "I don't think it is a rare leap to think others think the same."

    That's what many people think and that's where those people are wrong. Some people will have the same (or more likely similar) preferences as you, some people won't, they have different preferences. That's why there are different manufacturers with different products so that (hopefullly) everybody will be able to find a product that matches their own preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all product.

    Any attempt to convince the world that your own preferences are the only ones worth having and that everybody else has to think the same way is totally childish.

    Likewise it is childish to tell anyone that this or that product is not worth to be sold because if a product significantly fails to meet people's preferences then it will eventually be withdrawn from the market anyway. Products that do sell quite obviously meet enough people's preferences significantly enough to sell and so they do have a raison d'etre. What you personally think of those products is totally irrelevant.

    This is a typical case of Murphy's Law "You have taken yourself too seriously", in other words, your opinion on any given product matters not, the market is the only thing that matters.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: desktop computer

    "The correct term is "desktop computer"."

    er, does that also include notebooks/laptops? I seem to remember some stats which stated that Apple's strength in the market now is in large part a result of the popularity of their notebook computers. I'd be surprised if anybody counted those as "desktops computers" though.

  45. Jeffrey Nonken


    Now that's interesting. Back in the bad old days (yes, I'm old enough to remember them) "PC" stood simply for "Personal Computer". IBM in all their arrogance naturally stole the name and called their product the "PC". The "IBM PC" to be sure, but IBM was the brand.

    Then people started making copies, and those were called "PC clones".

    In those days PCs ran DOS, for the most part. There were some exceptions (I've seen them running Concurrent CP/M, for example, and then there was Xenix) but DOS is what they shipped with and DOS is what your average user ran.

    Now you're telling us that you're redefining "PC" as not only an IBM clone (which term is I believe WAY out of date) but that it specifically has to be running Windows. So what do you call the hardware that was, seconds ago, running Windows XP and is now running Linux? If I boot from a Knoppix disc is it no longer a PC, and if not, what is it?

    And if I boot my MacBook into Windows, which BTW I have done and will probably do again (Steam doesn't run very well under OS X, though Quake III does really well), does that magically transform it into a PC? Or does the Apple logo on the case prevent it from becoming a PC, even though it runs Windows better and faster than any other computer in my house? (Being that there are at least 9 non-Apple computers here currently.) What magic is it that causes the Apple logo to prevent a perfectly working Windows system (yes, that's bait for snide remarks :) from being a PC, when the only criterion for any other system is that it run Windows? (I'm assuming that if it runs Windows natively that it's effectively an IBM clone, for the purposes of this argument.)

    I am so glad we have you here to decide these things for us. I can't wait to be enlightened by your answer.

    P.S. No, really. I think you've just dug yourself into a hole with this one and pulled the hole in after you. Good luck digging back out.

    P.P.S. BTW, Knoppix happens to work spectacularly on this machine, if anybody cares. :)

    P.P.P.S. If you start making noise about the Apple not being an IBM clone, I'm going to want to hear an effective definition of IBM clone. Seriously.

  46. WT

    HP ink cartridges

    "HP put chips in their ink cartridges and use intellectual property law to prevent others from cloning the chips, so that you become tied into their printer consumables ecosystem."

    Ah, but what you failed to mention is that HP uses the money they make on their printing business to subsidise their PC business. Their profit margin on PCs was and may still be only about 1%, thus if you buy an HP PC for say 500 USD, they only earn 5 USD on that. This figure is taken from a financial report around the time Fiorina left HP, so the profit margins may have improved slightly under Hurd since then, but the fundamentals won't have changed: HP subsidises their PC business with revenue from their printing business.

    In other words, if we all stop buying those overpriced printer cartridges from HP, then HP PCs would be significantly more expensive or HP might even stop selling PCs altogether. Those companies have to make profit somewhere.

    BTW, this is reflected in the valuations of HP as a whole and its printing business. Strange as it may seem at first, HP's printing business is valued higher than the whole of HP and many HP shareholders are on record to prefer a split of the two. If that ever happens, the HP core (without the printing business) may entirely abandon the PC business and focus on servers and consulting.

    Note, that Apple used to carry loss-leader products (like HP still does) in the 1990s and it almost bankrupted them. When Jobs returned to Apple, a strict no-loss-leaders policy was introduced and this is part of the reason for Apple's revival. No product in Apple's portfolio is subsidised by revenue from any other product, if any given Apple product isn't profitable, they kill it, the G4 Cube is an example of that. During the last 5 years or so, there have been many quarters where Apple was the only profitable of the big computer vendors. So, from a business perspective, they seem to be doing something right.

    Same with IBM, they used to subsidise PC notebooks and desktops with revenue from their PC server business. Not anymore. They sold the unprofitable PC notebook and desktop business to Lenovo so they won't have to subsidise those products anymore. IBM has become more profitable in the process. Maybe Lenovo can make it work at the same price points, maybe they can't, only time will tell, either way, it's no longer IBM's problem. Again, they too seem to be doing something right.

    Morale: For the long term sustainability of a company's business, ranking high in profitability is far more important than ranking high in sales. Most folks seem to foolishly disregard this fact.

  47. jbelkin

    66% share of $1k USD marketshare

    Apple's market is least affected by an economic slowdown - 66% marketshare for $1k USD computers ... in other words, Windows Pc's have fallen from 98% to 34% in the $1k category in 7 years ...

  48. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    To err is to be Shad



    '..Apple does not sell PCs. They sell Macs. A PC is an IBM clone running some version of Windows. The correct term is "desktop computer"..'

    Shirley you're not serious!

    The abbreviation PC stands for "personal computer", nothing more, nothing less. The original IBM PC, which many (misguided) people cling to as the definition of a PC, did not run Windows. IBM may have coined the term PC, when others were using the term "home computer", but there's nothing in that name to limit a computer's architecture or OS.

    Does a computer really have to be on a desktop to fit your classification? Mine's at the side of the desk. It's a sort of "Floortop-deskside PC". I don't know how high up the charts Apple is for that category.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    @ Jeffrey Nonken

    "... making noise about the Apple not being an IBM clone ..."

    Macs are no IBM clones because Apple switched from using IBM chips to using Intel chips :-D

    Of course one could also argue that Macs are now IBM *clones* because they switched from IBM chips to Intel chips :-D

  50. Alex McKenna


    Some cheek - a WINDOWS person I assume - calling Mac types "sheeple".

    If anything we've always been the ones who've resisted the obedient mentality of the herd.

    But it looks like the Microsoft sheepdogs have finally lost control of their woolly victims...

    What's that? Did I hear you say BAAH!?

  51. Jeffrey Nonken


    We could spend all night defining "IBM clone" without getting anywhere. For this particular argument I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, because I knew what he was trying to say and didn't feel like splitting hairs on that particular subject. As I said, "IBM clone" is a somewhat outdated term. He means, approximately, a modern personal computer based on the original IBM PC and compatible with the Windows operating system.

    The point of my P.P.P.S. was a warning: If he wants to try to use that particular term to disqualify the current Apple product line without disqualifying a lot of other PC products, he'd better be ready to defend his definition.

  52. Ty
    Jobs Halo

    * windoze numbskulls

    Talk all you want monkeys - it will not stop the Apple tsunami.

    I am so going to enjoy your sorry asses being spanked so bad by Apple for the next decade. I just can't wait to see your ignorant mouths slam shut one by one.

  53. WT

    In an ideal world ...

    there would be a number of desktop operating systems and none of them would have more than 50% market share. Because of this, the operating systems would need to be designed to support accepted standards so that they are interoperable.

    We can only hope that what we are seeing is a longer term move in the market that will get us somewhat closer to this ideal world.

    Hopefully, SUN will get their act together and manage to make their OpenSolaris more popular, too. Hopefully, BSD and Linux on the desktop will also become more widespread. Hopefully, OSX will continue to become more popular. Hopefully, all those together will eat into Windows market share to a point that could be described as an acceptable balance.

    The only worry about Apple's market share growing, would be that they simply swap places with Microsoft. I don't personally think that there is a serious chance of that happening, but if all those who demand that Apple make their OS a universal software only product like Windows, if Apple was to listen to those folks, then there would actually the danger of that, the danger that Apple will simply become the new Microsoft. Their quality would likely deteriorate and their development would be driven by whatever continues to dominate the market. But Microsoft would not necessarily become the new Apple then. And even if they did, we as users of desktop computers (Winows, OSX or otherwise) would not gain anything if that happened.

    So, with regards to whether Apple should sell vanilla OSX for all PCs, not just their own brand, I am inclined to say "Be careful what you wish for because you might get your wish granted", I say "Let sleeping dogs lie!".

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BIOS is what makes PCs inferior

    Yes, Apple is now using the same kind of hardware components used by other PC vendors, however, Apple doesn't use BIOS, they use proper firmware. A large number of quality issues with PCs stem from that crappy firmware they call BIOS. Once other vendors will be using EFI (or some other proper firmware) that's when you can really start considering the hardware as being of similar or equal quality. For as long as they use BIOS, their hardware will remain inferior.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Apple premium

    You can get USB TV cards that are Mac-compatible, but you'll have to spend more than what you'd pay for the equivalent hardware without Mac support. For example, those Elgato devices? Mostly rebranded Hauppauge hardware with Mac OSX software and a fairly hefty premium attached. Hauppauge themselves offer hardware with and without Mac support - the stuff with it has a pretty white casing and a higher price tag. I use the Windows version - Linux doesn't care either way.

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