Apple’s Monopoly: High-End Computers

By  |  Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

Steve JobsThis is sort of amazing:  BetaNews’s Joe Wilcox has blogged about an NPD report that says that in June, 91 percent of dollars spent on computers costing over $1000 went to Apple. (I think the figure just covers sales at retail stores, not via the Web and other venues.) Windows still ships on 90 percent of computers, but it dominates in the sub-$1000 realm and on corporate machines–two areas that Apple has strategically chosen not to take seriously.

In other words, both Microsoft and Apple have operating system monopolies in the areas where they focus. (Microsoft would presumably be happy to grab more market share in $1000-and-above systems, but the pricing dynamics of the PC market make that more or less impossible.) For all the debate about Mac vs. PC, you could argue that the two platforms effectively don’t compete with each other any more than Chevrolet and Audi do.


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. tom b Says:

    The Mac has always been the choice for people who need to do work more complex/demanding than simple office functions. Bill Gates must be kicking himself that he didn’t get Windows on top of UNIX before handing over the reins to Grouchy.

  2. Glenn Friesen Says:

    Mac spent a lot of time incubating and growing their market dominance in this segment. The time it took to nurture their cult and puristism alone, IMHO, earns them this profitable trophy. I just can’t wait until the _still_ new market of computer hardware, and retail matures. We need more players in the whole industry!

  3. Barb McMillen Says:

    Didn’t have to be that way. Dell lost me with VISTA (& I’m not the only one). So glad I did not allow myself to be pursuaded. For the same money I purchased an IMAC – everything works fine, is fine, took me 24 hours and I was there.

    They could have competed. It wasn’t the money. It was the system. Now I’ll never go back. And that’s after 25 years on the PC.

  4. Steve Says:

    Don’t be fooled by the hypnotic think different theme based on the anti-Microsoft mentality, Apple is worse. Apple has surpassed Microsoft in the monopoly game with its all in one computer and operating system. Your Mac system has a drive issue, send it off to Apple or an Apple authorized repair place. The ipod and the IPhone are disposable junk yet Apple claims they are environmentally friendly. Apple OS X is a sad build on a watered down unix foundation with incredible amounts of glitches. Linux though not widely supported by hardware and software manufacturers is a much more stable and fast OS. Apple is marketing and marketing sells an image. I never cared for Apple or Microsoft in the past, it was Atari and Commodore. Both Atari and Commodore were far ahead technology wise to Apple and IBM. Today Apple and Intel are more powerful but not as advanced, aside from wireless everything old is still around. I should not complain because the terrible quality control of todays computer market is what keeps me working.

  5. ediedi Says:

    What’s more interesting in this story is the fact that only a small percentage of users choose to play in the +1000$ computer league (roughly apple’s market share, as I gather from the article). Is 1000+ to much for a home computer – maybe that is the phylosophical question.

  6. Marc Says:

    That’s what I used to kid myself when I used to buy Macs.

    Chevrolet and Audi don’t have exactly the same engines with different upholstery. A better comparison would be Volkswagen and Audi (they’re the same cars!).

    You really are just paying for the name, buying into a brand. Oh, and some extra shinyness 🙂

  7. James Katt Says:

    Mac OS X and Windows are not the same. There is no comparison. Mac OS X empowers the user. Windows empowers corporate IT.

    Windows is to Chevy as Mac is to Mercedes Benz.

    No need for antiviral software that keeps getting in your way on a Mac. It’s also so much quieter without all the adware as on PCs.

  8. pond Says:

    Just where, Harry, does MSFT ‘choose to focus’? Last I knew, MSFT manufactured no PCs. Zero. Zip. Nada. They do have a PMP, and a game console, neither of which run Windows.

    MSFT ‘focuses’ on any manufacturer who’s willing to license the OS at MSFT’s terms.

    It is rather than MSFT, HP, Dell, Acer, Asus, et al., who are focusing on the sub-1000-dollar market.

    Apple is in a different camp. Unlike MSFT, Apple does manufacture its own computers, and sets their own prices, and manages to make those prices stick a lot better than HP and company.

    Let’s not compare apples and oranges.

  9. posixwizard Says:

    First off I want to point out that the commentor named Joe is a complete moron, just reading his post really makes we want to yell through the monitor and tell him how stupid and misinformed he is. First off being a Debian user myself I am a big fan of the unix like operating systems be it one of the bsd’s to the various Linux Distrobutions, Mac OS 10/Darwin to Solaris, etc. I very much appreciate and respect the unix philosophy and the unix tradition which has been going for four decades and only looks to be at it strongest point yet with plenty of years to come as simply nothing better has been written and it is hard to imagine anything vastly different anytime soon. For Joe to say a “waterd down flavor of unix” is just so stupid it is hard to come up with any type of serious response as the statement is void of any fact. OS 10 I believe is one of the very few operating systems still standing that are “unix compliant” the commentor sounds to me like a person who is not familiar with any form of unix and does not really understand what unix is or means. Mac OS 10 runs the Darwin kernel which is a completely free and open source project which mind you Apple contributes code to and probably has committed the most code overall. There is an open source project pure darwin which is just fantastic what those guys are doing over there I would encourage anyone to go check them out. I want to come back to this watered down unix remark by making this analogy: debian is watered down linux because it runs x. I don’t think Joe understands that linux is the kernel and there are many other pieces that contribute to our modern operating systems with the nice graphicical interfaces we enjoy today. To call a Debian system a watered down Linux system is a completely stupid statment as is saying because os 10 runs on top of Darwin that it is not unix is just shows his ignorance on the matter and fundamental misunderstanding of computer science. It looks like Joe was just being a troll and trying to stir up trouble because it is hard to imagine someone being so stupid and ignorant but having the smarts to read a site like this. For my day job I am a Cocoa programmer and to say OS 10 is a glitchy sad build again is just pure stupid and shows a person who never has used os 10. Apple started with a great foundation in Darwin and built their technologies on top to create one of the finest operating systems we have ever seen and most certainly up at the top of the list of the modern day operating systems. I can tell you it is an absolute joy to program for the mac, apple has done so much for the developers in the amount of time and code we have to write. It is really quite amazing what apple has taken the time to do and it is all free. They give it away with every copy of os 10 and also available for download from their site. That means that everyone and anyone has everything they need to start writing software for the mac. Now on to another stupid remark made by Joe about linux not supporting a lot of hardware which again is void of any fact considering the Linux kernel probably is the exact opposite in that it supports a huge variety of software probably more than both os 10 and windows [I’m pretty certain more than os10:) ] I can agree with him in the fact that the Linux kernel is such a fantastic piece of work and really something to admire especially when considering one Finnish graduate student initially wrote it and then a whole world community has come together to make it what it is today. It really shows you what can be accomplished when brilliant minds come together. I love Debian and have such respect for the developers but I still recommend most of my family and girlfriend to os 10 just because they’re not nerds like myself and I don’t want to have to support them all the time. I use a mac all day at work but Debian is my system of choice and couldn’t imagine going elsewhere. But being a rabid Debian fan I still appreciate the competition and all they have accomplished. Who knows maybe if I didn’t use a mac all day I would use them at home also but I doubt it 🙂 the mac is a wonderful platform to program on but tweakinghacking on the linux kernel is the only route to go. This guy Joe just obviously hates Apple by the way he comes off as he attacks almost every product they sell. Here is my counter to your cheap hardware comment (again I don’t think you have ever seen,picked up or used one of the apple laptops) these are some of the most well built machines if not the most well built machines currently or anytime in the past. I currently use a second gen 1.86ghz macbook air and it is beautiful machine not to mention a engineering masterpiece that is rock solid feeling. I absolutely love it. For being .76 inches to .16 inches thick it is rock solid aluminum unibody just feels so good in your hand. The machine is only 3 pounds yet has absolutely no flex when picked up with one hand. We recently bought my girlfriend a new 13 inch macbook and it is the same quality as the air. (And yes of course Debian is running on the air! Wouldn’t have it any other way. Marraige of the best hardware available with the best operating system available!) So unless you’re just bad mouthing Apple to bad mouth them there is no possible way to deny their hardware is some of the best looking and best engineered machines out currently and ever to date. Now one last comment before I go. You said that apple and intel are not as advanced as atari which is kind of a stretch if not completely false. I’m not quite sure if atari is still active but even if they are I don’t believe they are on the same level of technology and research wise as aplle or intel which just happen to be two of the biggest tech companies in the world and two of the most technologically advanced companies out there. I took from what you said about apple and ibm that maybe you could be a fan of the power pc proc and I would have to say I agree vey much. I believe the power pc chip design was better than the x86 which quite frankly is not so great and kind of has us in a microsoft style lack of innovation period as we have something that is good enough. It isn’t great nor the best thing we can engineer but it works ok. I wish apple stayed with the power pc architecture so it could thrive but I’m afraid after they left it lost all the wind behind its sails and is slowly dying away which is really quite sad. Well I hope we can agree on the chip architectures at least because I cannot agree less with all those stupid misinformed statements you made in your post. Good luck and hopefully you come out of your apple hatred phase soon and maybe you will see all the terrible things microsoft has done to the linux community over the years and maybe that might make you change your mind about your statement saying apple is worse than MS in those ways. Cheers mate!

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