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InfoWorld: Apple keeps its customer base segmented

updated 10:15 am EST, Mon March 29, 2004

Apple customer base

Tom Yager's most recent Ahead of the Curve column for InfoWorld tackles , which the company is able to capitalize off of. "Members of a core group feel recognized and protected, as though their preferred vendor exists to serve them alone. To those who only need PowerBooks, Apple is a notebook maker. If you make music or author DVDs, Apple is exclusively devoted to the needs of creative professionals. If you're in business, Apple puts high-density Unix servers and storage in the PC price range; they're a budding enterprise vendor. Pretty smart."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ???

    How can an article be a "Popular Daily" if it doesn't even have any comments yet?

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yes and No

    The article does make an interesting point.

    However, he misses a huge chunk of the Macintosh philosophy. No matter which artificial "segment" each Mac user falls into, he/she KNOWS that they can do ANYTHING that someone working in one of the other "sectors" can do. It's all a matter of choice and possibilities and NO real limits. All you need is the right software and the inclination to produce something new.

    As for his point about the XServe, that's a crock. Apple wanted to make inroads into the corporate server segment. They cooked up a powerful, easy to set up and administer package that's VERY aggressively priced. It takes time for the glacial movement of corporate IT departments to sit up, take note and try out a different platform. Especially the Macintosh with the baggage of years of mis and dis-information that circulates. it takes time to melt the ice. It's beginning to happen.

  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    MORE diversification

    For software, you're right- anybody can obtain a different toolset and move for example from a consumer perspective to a pro perspective, just by buying new software. But the same is not true on the hardware side of things, mainly because of the way apple designed the lineup. Apple currently puts a big fat roadblock up to a person moving from say iMac-level hardware to pro-level hardware, mainly because lower-end macs have poor upgradablity. You basically have to buy a whole new machine. In contrast on the PC side, I can buy a $500 machine and continually upgrade it until it becomes a pro-level machine. You really can't do that with the mac platform, at least not to the same extent that you can with PCs.

    I also disagree with how apple markets to it's different customer segments. Currently, apple has one theme for all- big, flashy, bold, stylish, etc. That may compell some lower-end users into buying macs, because it makes them feel like they are a big-wig (ie, macs feel like they are for rich people, who can affort the "mac style"). On the other hand, the average user who doesn't care about style and looks for the cheapest price is seriously undervalued in this scheme. Macs look like something from another planet, and so they are treated like something from another planet: something to stay away from. Or, for business, the flashiness makes macs look "unstable", rather then your average, boring, workhorse PCs. Macs can do that kind of stuff as well, but apple doesn't seem to market that fact to unknowing managers.

    If apple wants to improve, they either need to make more segments (consumer-only, prosumer who wants upgradeablity, then pro-only), or they need to broaden the variety of their existing lines so more people can find their nitch. Good, Better, and Best don't work if the Good comes at $1500+. Same thing with marketing: I don't see apple really distinctifying that macs can be used as workhorses in business, for example. On apple's website, you've basically got "pro"- High-end artists mostly, and "business"- which currently seems to only target small businesses. Where's the billing of the mac as central to a Fortune 500 business office? Where's the billing of the mac to consumer $500 PC machine buyer? You really don't see it.

  1. Mr. Bob

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I agree with z1on

    Apple needs to make more segments, as its a nitch market. For example, I can get a g5 tower, but I only want one processor. Why hasnít Apple mad a g5 tower that is smaller to only fit one processor. It a psychological issue. I canít upgrade to another processor, and if I only have one with that blank space for two, then I feel like I didnít get the good one. I can get the duel g5, but I canít afford it.

    I want a new powermac with 1 2.0 ghz g5, and one that is not as tall "like the powercube, which I know failed, but probably because it looked all bad".

    The single g5 would also make a good work station, because it can be placed in smaller places "small computers are something that people look for this day and age" but at the same time are not as retro as the iMac. Also, a lot of businesses do not like the iMac because they already have monitors, and do not see a reason to replace them.

    I would say if Apple gets a single 2.0 ghz g5 powermac out that is in a case that fits just a single g5, then Apple would see much more business.

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