404 Macs Everywhere

Macs Everywhere

A little over a decade ago, I was still new in Industry Analyst circles. I was fresh out of the start-up scene to attend corporate analyst events and trade shows as an “analyst.” I noticed right away that I was frequently either the only one or one of only a few people in attendance at industry events using a Mac. Bringing a Mac to an analyst or industry event always gave me a sense of pride. I genuinely enjoyed using something that I believed was superior, but also that feeling that I was in the minority.

I used to enjoy getting the all too common question of “why do you use a Mac.” The question always seemed to be asked with a tone of inferiority or disdain implied. Then I would explain why I thought it was better and show some things it could do that Windows couldn’t. Or how I didn’t spend many hours a month troubleshooting computer issues any longer. I would explain that everything just “worked.”

I was not only in the minority at many of these analyst or media events, but I was often also the youngest person by a healthy gap. So it was always interesting that I sensed the disdain in the question was sometimes muted by my youth and perhaps perceived naivety. So I always felt compelled to include in my answer that I spent years in IT at a Fortune 500 semiconductor company. I always liked to add that I could troubleshoot Windows with the best of them, but now that I was on a Mac I didn’t have to worry about stuff like that any longer.

Since those times, things have changed. I know I live in the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley, but I see Macs everywhere. Go to San Francisco, or Palo Alto, or most major hot spots where people take their PCs out in public to work, and you will notice more than just a few Macs. In fact, Windows users are in the minority it seems in many areas I observe. I know Macs are not the majority of the PC install base but casual observations in public and many corporate spaces would suggest otherwise. I am constantly surprised as I attend meetings or briefings with startups, enterprises, and other types of organizations, how many Macs I see being used.

Even in education the percentage of Macs is rising. When I first joined Creative Strategies late in 2000, I was tasked with doing research on the Gen x and Gen Y demographics to understand their needs, wants, and desires for technology. I would use my networks to go to high schools, and college campuses, to get a pulse of the youth. Around 2005, I observed a steady and consistent increase in the number of Macs I saw being used in classroom settings at colleges in particular. It was fascinating to watch.

That being said. Macs are certainly increasing annually as a percentage of the overall PC install base. With the trends in the PC market I am seeing, I still feel there is a growth story for the Mac ahead.

  • Bruce_Mc

    The Model T car was in production for 19 years. Windows 3.1 was released 22 years ago. Both transformed their industries and transformed society. From what I have read, Ford’s inability to let go of the Model T gave other manufacturers an opportunity. GM was the eventual winner there. Will Apple be the new GM?

  • graphex

    In terms of profits in the PC market, they are the winner now. Second place is so far back you can say they have no competition.

  • http://naofumi.castle104.com/ Naofumi

    Although I’m as strong a Mac advocate as any, it was hard to recommend a Mac until Panther (10.3, 2003). I even bought my only windows laptop after being disgusted at how slow Cheetah was. Even after Panther, it took time until all websites would work on Safari. We’ve come a long way. Apple has done a fine job, but I have to credit Firefox for encouraging web developers to create standards compliant websites that Safari could view.

    Yes, I also see a lot of Macs, and it reminds me how the daunting
    task of increasing market share was accomplished.

  • http://naofumi.castle104.com/ Naofumi

    I also think that it is instructive to look at it the other way; that it took a whole decade and two blockbusters from Apple for the simpler-to-use product to finally gain visible inroads.

    The deadlock that Wintel had on PCs was *that* strong. You could also argue in hindsight that superior ease-of-use was not a very strong selling-point against Wintel. Also, having MS-Office for Mac simply prevented Macs from further losing market share.

    This is the insight that you need when you think about Chrome OS. Will the simplicity of Chrome OS win over customers? How will the MS-Office compatible suites (either offline or cloud-based) help? Is price the only leverage point?

    Chromebooks might have a chance if we give it a decade.