updated 12:40 pm EST, Mon October 30, 2006
Macs rebounding in schools
Apple's shipments of Mac laptops increased 49 percent over the same time last year as revealed by the company's fourth quarter financial results, which showed a 'blowout Mac quarter' and a 32 percent increase in U.S. PC market share. That increase was driven by MacBook sales and Apple's successful back-to-school promotions, challenging Dell's overwhelming dominance on college campuses. Experts tracking both student purchasing and institutional trends say Apple is quickly expanding its presence at colleges and universities, according to Inside Higher Ed. Eric Weil -- managing partner of Student Monitor, a national group that tracks the consumer habits of college students -- believes that the rise of iTunes as well as the iPod digital media player, combined with Apple's ability to position itself as an especially 'hip' brand, and an overall increase in notebook purchases contribute to the trend.
"If we look at ownership and purchase intent, among those students who plan to buy a new notebook, naturally number 1 is Dell, but number 2 is Apple. Which is huge. If we went back five years ago, IBM's ThinkPad owned that spot. And now the average student doesn't know what a ThinkPad is," Weil said.
A student monitor survey of 1,200 full-time four-year undergraduate students conducted at 100 campuses in the spring of 2006 found Apple as the number 2 preference among 19 percent of college students. The study found that Dell is still the clear leader among those students with laptops, but that Apple holds 21 percent of the market with no close second-place competitor.
Apple is also adopting more preferred provider agreements with colleges. The Cupertino-based company's preferred provider agreements with four-year public research institutions increased to 66.7 percent over the same time last year, and Apple's private research university agreements bounded to 60 percent from 50 percent over the same time period. Public and private four-year college gains were less substantial, however, rising roughly 2 percent and 3 percent respectively. Kenneth C. Green -- founding director of the Campus Computing Project -- believes the difference in price between comparable Macs and PCs may have fallen, increasing college students' desire for Apple systems.
Written, edited and compiled by Jeff Valvano