Why does the Mac only have 5% of computer market share?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Apple!Freak, May 9, 2005.

  1. Apple!Freak macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    East Coast
    Why is it? The Mac is a better computer than a PC yet Apple still only holds fame to 5% the market share.
  2. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    It's because Bill Gates asked a better question. He asked how his operating system can run on all the desktops in the world, while Steve Jobs ask how he can make computers for the "rest of us" while charging a premium.
  3. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    Because otherwise, how would we feel superior! (Seriously, if it weren't for this reason, Steve would have taken over the world ages ago! :p (Check the Sig!)
  4. Daveway macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2004
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    It all has to do with these keyword: licensing, cheap hardware, egos, Sculley
  5. sjpetry macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2004
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
    Because most people grew up on PCs and are afraid of change.

    Suprisingly some people haven't even heard of Macs. :(
  6. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    Actually, Apple once had a huge market share. Unfortunately, they ran into issues such as:

    1) Gross mismanagement.

    2) Horrible inventory control.

    3) Terrible product matrix's at times.

    4) Incredibly buggy operating systems pre-OSX.

    5) Poor advertising.

    6) Ego, at times (such as when Jobs accused Gates of stealing the GUI concept, when Jobs really stole it from Xerox).

    7) Getting skunked by Gates. For example, Gates signed a document once saying he wouldn't use Apple technology in Windows 1.0 - note, that it didn't say they couldn't use it in future Windows releases.

    The history of Apple is an interesting read, for sure. Macworld ran a great issue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mac, and it covered a lot of this in great detail. You can get some of the information at:


    I love Apple, and have been using them since 1986. They have, unfortunately, released poor products and software in the past, have been mismanaged often, and have been out "businessed" often also.
  7. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    5% such an optimist!

    It's more like 3%. I am an optimist too! Unfortunately :(
  8. nrd macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2005
    New Jersey
    First off, market share and installed user base are not the same. Market share is the amount sold in a given time frame. The user base is all users of an item. Mac owners tend to hold onto machines longer, reducing the market share. I think the install base is still low, but closer to 6% instead of 3% (there are a lot of PC clones out there)

    Anyway, to answer your question: John Sculley and Michael Spindler are to blame.
  9. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    Macs tend to old their value well. unlike a cheap PC, so mac users don't have to upgrade their computer every few years. Also the Macs, until recently have been for tended for the media and digital stuff so the average home user didn't get it because their were no games and software geared toward them. Now that apple has ilife and more software like games etc are for home users people start to get Macs.
  10. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Further, why are people comparing Apple (a hardware company) to Microsoft (a software company)? Compare apples to apples, so to speak.

    Apple (a hardware company) vs Dell (the BIGGEST hardware company in the world).

    15% vs 3%. Apple is still in the top five manufacturers and isn't too bad off. And since Dells have problems all the time the actual user base is less for Dell ;)
  11. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    I know this way off topic, but I was speccing a couple of Dells (just to remind myself how good the iMac is) when I noticed that Dell have very quietly reduced their standard desktop warranty to 90 days, and charge $29 for their one year warranty.
  12. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2004
    way out in the sticks
    I'm glad someone said it; thank you.
  13. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Bad comparison, unless you are talking about profits. Add Dell, HP, Gateway and a thousand no name PC makers and Apple loses marketshare. Sure Apple makes a nice profit, but it weakens the Mac.
  14. FelixDerKater macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2002
  15. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    How is that a bad comparison? Apple is hardware company, and so can be compared to another hardware company!
    Dell doesn't gain anything from HP or any of the others, they are fighting each other as much as anything else! To Dell, Apple are competitors, just like Gateway, HP etc etc. If Apple start selling more computers, then they will take away from all these manufacturers, just as if Dell suddenly produces some amazing hardware that undercuts the rest.

    I totally don't understand "Apple makes a nice profit, but it weakens the Mac"? The Mac is a (group of) product(s) that apple make, just like the iPod range, Airport Base stations and alike. Do you mean that you think Apple are overpricing the Mac? Do you really feel lower prices would switch many people? If so, why aren't droves of people buying the Mac Mini?

    Apple WANT to sell more Macs: More Macs mean more software sumps!
  16. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Secret Moon base
    Well the Mac came out in 1984, and Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985. So for most of the Mac's life it has been mismanaged.

    It's only in the late 90s that Steve came back to Apple, but by then a lot of the damage was done. But he is doing a good job of turning things around.
  17. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    Not saying you're wrong but I'd love a source.
  18. nrd macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2005
    New Jersey
    I think the Mac was pretty well managed through Sculley, but Apple itself was pulled in too many directions by him. Spindler is where the real mismanagement of the Mac line occurred. Multiple models with slight differences released very near to each other caused buyer confusion, lack of enthusiasm and a sense that the machines are rehashed or rushed to market.

    Those curious should check out Apple Insider 2.0. It's a pretty interesting history of the company.
  19. mcadam macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2004
    Because apple is also a software company. And one making the second most succesfull OS in the world even. Camparing mac vs microsoft = OS X vs Windows = apple and apples.

  20. snkTab macrumors 6502a


    Nov 13, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Because computers that can run Windows OSes are cheaper.
    Because Windows made it easy for developers to program on their platform, thus more software.
    Because Apple does their own marketing.... (what marketing), while 500,000 companies try to sell you computers that will run Windows.

    But really it has to do at this point with Brand Management. Armani suits are way better than the crap I have from JC Pennys but you don't see Armani on everyone now do you.
  21. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    I think something similar was said but I'm saying this anyways.

    How about if you compare Apple to a single PC company? Like Apple vs. HP. Apple vs. Dell. Apple vs. Sony.

    Sure they all run Windows, but Sony doesn't have 95% of the market. It's the combination of all PC companies that make that possible. Someone said here (not this thread, but a while back in another thread) that Apple and Sony have similar market share.
  22. Apple!Freak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    East Coast
  23. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    Sorry for the novel, I just love this topic...

    There are many reasons why the Mac has only 5% or 3% or 3.6% market share. I think Sculley and Spindler are to blame for losing a large chunk of the EDU market, losing focus and turning Apple into a niche player.

    But, I think, at the end of the day, it comes down to two decisions that came very early on--and neither decision was made by Apple. I think Apple lost even before the Mac was released. They lost way back in 1981 when IBM built a PC and Microsoft supplied the OS and retained the licensing rights.
    When IBM decided to make a microcomputer--which many IBMers thought were toys--they decided to use off the shelf parts in order to meet a very aggressive deadline. This meant that anyone could go out and buy the same componets and build a similar computer. IBM selected an Intel processor--Steve Wozniak used a Motorola processor in his Apple I and II because it was cheap. Maybe if IBM selected the same processor things would have been different?

    Then IBM went shopping for an OS. A very young and very bright Bill Gates sold them an OS that he didn't even have. He went out and bought one for a price similar to what the colonists paid for the island of Manhattan. Gates made the single biggest move in the PC history by retaining the rights to license his OS to anyone he wanted. How did Gates realize he should do this? Was it dumb luck? Did he have the vision to see and equate software to creative works like music and movies? Gates was always into selling his works. He wrote a very abrasive letter to computer hobbyists in the early days telling them that they should not steal his software. In those days people didn't view it as stealing--they all thought they were sharing, learning from each other. Gates never thought like that. If he wrote (or acquired) software he viewed it as a product and he felt that products were bought and sold. He never wanted to change the world, he wanted to be paid.

    These two facts--IBM's use of off the shelf hardware and Gates ability to license the OS, is what guaranteed the IBM PC would be cloned. With clones comes economies of scale and large installed base. With that comes market share.

    When Gates saw the first Mac he was floored. He told Steve Jobs to license the OS. He wanted to partner with Jobs on it. As much as Jobs was responsible for brining the business side to what Steve Wozniak was doing, Jobs totally missed the boat on licensing. I'm not sure we'll ever know why. Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

    You also have to really look at Jobs and Gates as people. Gates was raised in a well-off family. I don't think Gates is that much of a computer guy. He is more business man, more lawyer. He is extremely bright and he just happened to be growing up when computers were being introduced in private schools like his. If Gates grew up 10 years earlier or 10 years later I don't even think he would be in the computer industry. As much as he tries to show he is a visionary he is not. Heck, he wrote a book "The Road Ahead" and really didn't even see things coming 2-4 years down the road. Gates is/was the prep school kid looking to make money.

    Jobs also sort of stumbled into the industry by growing up in what became Silicon Valley. The stories say that all the enginneers used to have gadgets and machines in their garages and Jobs would come by and learn. But Jobs isn't a great computer scientist or an engineer. The people working on the Mac would be going nuts because he'd be asking for the impossible--and he didn't know what was possible because he couldn't code. But Jobs "gets it" more than Gates ever will. Jobs can see the final product. He has learned good design thru the years (often by asking others what they like or by selecting well respected designers/architects/artists). And he always had a good sense of ascetics. And as much as Jobs wanted to sell and be rich and successful he also always wanted to change the world. He wanted to add value. He wanted to help people with great machines and great tools. Jobs is the hippy looking to change the world.

    When looking at Apple through the years I've often wondered how they could be excellent at things that seem very complex (computer engineering, software design and development) yet be so dense with things that seem simple (marketing, operations/supply chain, licensing).
  24. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

    Apr 29, 2004
    London, UK
    Could be the same reason that 95% of the world is relegious?
  25. Cooknn macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2003
    Fort Myers, FL
    How about OS X vs. Windows XP? I wonder what those numbers look like...

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