Apple To Establish A Presence In The Windows Market In 2006.
by Arnold Reinhold, Principal
Apple has managed to surprise the stock market and the IT market repeatedly in the past two years – by consistently exceeding excpectations. The latest quarter’s figures are yet another example, with Apple beating analyst expectations to record revenues above $5 billion – a figure which includes about sales of 14 million iPods, many of which left the shelves over the holiday period.
The iPod phenomenon cannot persist indefinitely, but right now it is driving Apple’s stock price, with the sale of iPods, iPod accessories and songs from the iTunes online store accounting for 39 percent of Apple’s revenues (as opposed to 16 percetn a year ago). And the sales of video through the iTunes store is proving to be yet another example of Apple demonstrating that it can create new markets.
As for the sale of Mac computers themselves, sales have been growing at 19 percent, which, using IDC’s figures, is faster than the world market (15.8 percent) and much faster than the US market (10.1 percent). Apple’s market share is still less than 5 percent – although it is clearly on the rise and Apple is attracting a growing band of first-time users.
One of Apple’s great strengths has always been industrial design. Its laptops have clean lines, well thought out features and a reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Apple’s sleek iMac G5, with everything inside the flat panel display, was cited by the Wall Street Journal as the gold standard in desktop computers.
A Window on Windows
With the January 10 introduction of the higher performance MacBook Pro laptop and the iMac Core Duo desktop, Apple’s designs now offer full compatibility with the latest industry standard architectures. Not only do they utilize Intel’s new Pentium M Yonah processor chip, but they support CD and DVD read/write, USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, Gigabit Ethernet, Extensible Firmware Interface, and ExpressCard/34, which is the new incarnation of PCCard/PCMCIA.
While Apple has not announced any plan to support Windows, Steve Jobs has publicly stated that Apple will not attempt to prevent the use of Windows on the Intel Macs. It is almost inevitable that some Windows users will pick Apple-Intel machines for their style and quality, even if they have to pay a little more.
Indeed with the move to Intel, Apple may have finally exorcised the Windows-compatibility ghost. From now on, all of the software that Microsoft has been building for the growing media market will be available on Apple in some form, if you want it.
All of this has to be good for Apple and we expect Apple to establish a presence in the Windows market accordingly – this year. Given the lopsided market share that Windows enjoys, even a few percent of Windows buyers choosing the Apple option would significantly affect Apple’s sales.