Apple’s Growing Market Share

Geoffrey wrote in a comment on yesterday’s article: “I’m not a Microsoft fanboy by any means, but I don’t see them disappearing or losing significant maketshare.”

I agree that Microsoft isn’t going to disappear, but I think it will begin losing PC market share faster as the tide that’s seen Apple’s growing share among individuals moves to companies. The corporate preference for PCs has long been the argument in favor of Microsoft’s continued dominance.

As the owner of a small company myself, I can tell you that the cost argument doesn’t hold up anymore when viewed in terms of return on investment (ROI). Now more than one year into our wholesale change from PCs to Macs, we’ve gone from wasting 15% of our time chasing down missing drivers and other daily Windows hassles to a year without one single problem. Not one! I didn’t know that was possible in the world of computing prior to switching to Macs.

I can count on one hand the times we’ve restarted the machines, and all of those were shutting them down for travel. The machines are no slower today than when we bought them, unlike our PCs which began establishing their obsolescence almost the day we took them out of their boxes. I’ve heard from people who’ve used Macs much longer than I that the machines are fine five and even 10 years after buying them. I’m one year into my own testing of that. So far, so good.

Now that the Internet has erased the compatibility issue, I think more companies will look into ROI on their capital equipment purchases and conclude that switching to Macs is a smarter way to go. It not only makes for a better work environment, which in itself is worth a lot, but it might also cost less in hard dollar terms. Apple could help that trend by providing more aggressive pricing for bulk corporate purchases, but I don’t know if they’re planning to do that.

Anyway, the hard-dollar difference isn’t that great anymore, judging by my experience. The last notebook PC I bought cost me $2,200. My MacBook Pro cost me $2,800 a year ago, and it sports far better hardware behind far more elegant software. The PC notebook’s self-destruction was mostly finished after two years, a record fast degradation in my experience and the straw that broke the PC camel’s back for me and sent me to the Mac racehorse. One year into my Mac experience, Apple has me for life.

Is $600 too much more to pay for that much more computer? I don’t think so. A few years more and it won’t be more expensive at all when broken into dollars per year. That last self-immolating PC notebook of mine cost me $1,100 per year. If my Mac gives me at least three years it will have cost me just $933 per year. If it gives me five years, it will have cost me just $560 per year. Meanwhile, as the dollar difference fades, the improvement in user experience has been like upgrading from a bicycle to a Benz.

The ROI argument in favor of Apple seems compelling to companies. As they migrate more of their custom applications online, it seems that more companies will join individuals in realizing that there’s no longer a need to suffer through PC headaches, no longer a cost barrier, and lots of productivity waiting to be unlocked. That should boost Apple’s market share inside corporations.

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