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"Apple will always be a niche player"

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Tue August 22, 2006

Apple "a niche player"

A niche market will mark the extent of Apple's clout with regard to big business, according to senior research analyst Carmi Levy of Info-Tech. "The reality is, long term, Apple will always be a niche player," Levy said. "Even with the switch to Intel, Apple is not threatening the hegemony of the Intel-based Windows PC." Levy also believes Apple's traditional enterprise niches -- including graphics, advertising, and creative departments -- have weakened in recent years, according to a report from Computer World Canada.

Windows alternatives to Apple have gained maturity as IT managers have continued to push for greater standardization. The analyst believes Apple can secure its niches in the corporate market with Boot Camp, allowing IT departments to more easily support Mac systems which were falling victim to standardization efforts.

Despite easier support from IT departments, Levy thinks enterprises won't simply swap their PCs out for Macs en masse. The analyst admits Apple will likely see market share gains as small and medium-sized businesses adopt Macs in favor of PCs due to less support resources and increased sensitivity to security issues, however.

"Small to medium-sized businesses might be more predisposed to looking at Apple architecture on the desktop and being a little more comfortable moving lock, stock and barrel over to it," said Levy.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. dashiel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    so...

    ...who cares? i'd love to be a niche player as successful as apple has been. i happen to think this guy is wrong; the intel switch is going to increase market share. the traditional apple strongholds are gaining in my experience. sure 6-7 years ago there was an exodus of graphic artists to the NT platform, but that's not true anymore.

  1. trevc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    unfortunately correct...

    ... in some ways. But a 10-15% marketshare would be 'amazing!' and open the doors substantially to new products, etc.

    I know a company of 80 people that just switched because all they need is email, word, filemaker and a browser and already are seeing less I.T. support labour (Maybe because it's all new equipment).

    Maybe other companys may go too? They certainly have options with BOot Camp, etc.

  1. e:leaf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Market share means squat

    She is correct, but, for some reason, people (analysts in particular) don't get that market share != sustainability, profitability, or quality of product.

    Mercedes only has roughly 2-3% of the global car market, yet analysts aren't constantly singing of their doom, and the company is highly profitable and certainly not about to go out of business. Market share means exactly squat. Running a company profitably is everything, and so long as Apple can continue to keep the kind of money they have in the bank, they will be just fine.

    I'm really tired of the market share discussion and people who knock Apple/ the Mac because of our market share In reality it means absolutely nothing.

  1. Kazrog

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Hmm

    I think when you consider the fact that Microsoft is in the position of having an OS that's so inundated with severe problems, that Apple will become less and less of a niche player.

    Microsoft has proven that they are unable to fix the problems in Windows, and they're unwilling to go with a new OS, so they're destined to lose the OS market to Apple, Linux, and possibly other OS vendors.

  1. howdesign

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    what would it take?

    This question comes up quite often. While I don't think Apple is crying about this fact, the question I have is if it's even possible to reverse the trend. The corporate world is just too simple-minded to go Mac and Apple doesn't work hard enough to get some of the specialty business software on board. Bootcamp isn't mature yet either to really make corporations change their minds.

    Microsoft would really have to s**** up to cause mass defection.

  1. beeble

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    market share is important

    It's important because you have to have enough users to justify the investment in software development. This is why there are so few Mac games. There isn't enough people in the Mac world who play enough games to justify the expense of developing for the platform compared to the PC or consoles. So Mac users get a handful of games (usually the best ones though).

    Market share tells software and hardware companies that there is someone they can sell a product to. It also increases mind share exponentially in the corporate space. The more than a decade, Apple hasn't gotten more than two seconds of positive thought from most IT managers. But that's starting to change. They're seeing Apple's number going up. They're seeing more and more Mac's everywhere. That tells them that Apple might be something they need to look into. Just look at the number of IT job ads that say Mac experience is either required or a bonus. It's increased dramatically. That one piece of information alone puts serious doubt on this analysts opinion.

    And that's what it is, opinion. It isn't an observation or an interpretation of data. It's an opinion because it flies in the face of the data that's currently available and simply makes excuses for it with nothing to back those excuses up. The difference between analysts and myself is that no one will pay me to be full of c***!

  1. kw99

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    contradiction

    > The analyst admits Apple will likely see market share gains as small and medium-sized businesses adopt Macs in favor of PCs...

    So small and medium-sized businesses is considered a business "niche"? Most businesses in the U.S. fall into that category. And the total number of potential computer users probably out-numbers the number of users in "big" businesses. So if that's Apple "niche" in business, add that to it's other "niche" areas such as media content creation, consumer electronic, education, and science... and be happy. Long live the "niche players" of the world.

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    which market?

    There is really no one single PC market. If you count the massive corporate desktops, which is what makes Apple's marketshare so small, then yes, Apple has a few percentage points. But that market share does not translate to money on the SW end for anyeone except MS and maybe a few otehr big corporate SW houses. THere are lots of PC markets, not just one: home, SOHO, SMB, Corporate, Creative, games, etc (some overlap of course but probably less than you think). To really justify SW development, or not, you have to see in which market you really are playing in. The mass of corporate desktops running Windows means nothing to someone writing photo sharing SW, for example.

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    mark. share vs installed

    Also, market share is a snap shot of what is being sold this month/quarter. That has little direct meaning except on how the installed base is effected. Just because I have owned my computer more than a quarter doesn't mean I don't count anymore as a SW consumer. The installed base, maybe as defined as the number of new computers in the last year or two might be a better metric. People who bought their computer a year ago still buy new SW.

  1. brlittle

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Next up on tonight's news

    BMW, Maybach doomed to remain niche players in automotive market

    McIntosh seen remaining niche manufacturer in audio gear

    Give me a break. Most manufacturers would kill to have a "niche" as big as Apple's. There's no point in breathlessly reporting that no one will ever be as big as Microsoft.

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