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When Apple reached parity with Windows

In 2013 there were 18.8 times more Windows PCs sold than Macs. This is a reduction in the Windows advantage from about 19.8x in 2012. This decline is mostly due to the more rapid decline in Windows PC shipments relative to the more modest decline in Mac unit shipments. Gartner estimates that about 309 million Windows PCs were shipped,[1] down from 337 million in 2012 (which was down from 344 million in 2011, the year PCs peaked.) I estimate about 16.4 million Macs were shipped in 2013 down from 17 million in 2012.

The history of PC shipments relative to Mac shipments is shown in the following graph:

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 1-13-3.09.21 PM

I chose to graph the Mac data as an area with additional areas for iOS devices layered on top.

When comparing these platforms, the contribution of the Apple mobile platform becomes striking.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to understand the role of the Mac. In years gone, the advantage of Windows was measured in multiples of Mac sales. That peak occurred in 2004 when there were 56 times more PCs sold than Macs. At that moment, when the Windows advantage peaked, the Mac sold 3.2 million units  into a market where 182 million PCs shipped. This means the Mac had 1.7% market share.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 1-13-3.09.51 PM

And yet, remarkably, even with 1.7% share, the Mac did not disappear. The figure of 3.2 million units was not great and below the peak to date[2] but it was enough to sustain Apple while it developed its next products. At the time the iPod was starting to grow rapidly and development on iPhone/iPad was already underway. The point being that there were new products. 3.2 million was a sufficient volume to preserve the company until such time when they would be ready.

Today the situation is quite different. The total number of platform products Apple sold in 2013 was about 260 million[3] The total number of users Apple has is above 550 million.[4]

Note the effect in the graph above. Even if we only consider the Mac, the Windows advantage has decreased considerably, and the platform was certainly not extinguished. The new form factor Mac Pro and the continuing improvements in the thinnest of laptops shows how Mac has not just survived but prospered as the underdog which easily captures the bulk of profits.

But the bigger story is how Apple’s mobile platform has nearly reached the sales volume of Windows. In 2013 there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices sold. Odds are that in 2014 they will be at parity.[5]

But will it last?

It’s important to understand just how the quantities involved here have a quality of their own. The quantities themselves speak of a change. It’s not convincing to suggest that what comes around goes around and a reversal of fortune can be reversed yet again when there are several zeros added to the end of the figures involved.

We have to understand that the Windows advantage itself came from the way computing was purchased in the period of its ascent. In the 1980s and 1990s computing platform decisions were made first by companies then by developers and later by individuals who took their cues from what standards were already established. As these decisions created network effects, the cycle repeated and the majority platform strengthened.

But it was the large companies who made the core decisions. In the 1980s if the Fortune 500 companies all standardized on Windows then their suppliers and customers would also standardize on it. Add governments and other institutions and 80% of the market is probably decided. There was concentration in decision making. In other words, in the 80s a platform could win by convincing 500 individuals who had the authority (as CIOs) to impose through fiat a standard on the centers of gravity of purchasing power.

Today, with mobile products there are billions of decision makers. 500 decisions mean nothing. In fact, Apple with at least 500 million loyal and wealthy users is considered to be in a precarious situation. That’s partly due to the way other platforms like BlackBerry and Symbian found themselves in crisis with tens of millions of users.[6]

The decision making process for buying computers, which began with large companies IT departments making decisions with multi-year horizons, has changed to billions of individuals making decisions with no horizons. Companies have become the laggards and individuals the early adopters of technology.

The fundamental shift is therefore in the quantity of decision makers and the quality of those decisions. Those who buy are also those who use and their decisions will be perhaps whimsical, maybe impulsive and not calculated, but fundamentally, in the aggregate, wise.

Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible. Computing decision making has moved to the furthest edge where use has been for decades. The computer has become personal not just in the sense of how it’s used but in the sense of how it’s owned.

Notes:
  1. This figure is not published publicly but can be derived from subtracting Mac shipments from the total PC shipments which are published []
  2. which was 4.5 million in 1996 []
  3. This includes my estimates for Q4. We’ll have the exact figure in a few days. []
  4. Possibly 600 million. []
  5. The prediction I made in 2012 was that “it’s safe to expect a “parity” of iOS+OS X vs. Windows within one or two years”. The data so far does not change this expectation. []
  6. and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of corporate buyers deciding to support its platform exclusively. What IT does matters for little. []
  • olivier__p

    Quite telling. But to be fair, I guess, if you add up Windows Phones WW sales, the drop at the end of the MS curve doesn’t appear that steeply, does it? Of course it must be difficult to figure out sell-thru of Windows Phones.

    • elder Signin

      Recently at a local gas station, I noticed a pump with a “blue screen of death” asking for a keyboard input to fix the issue… Microsoft seems to be shipping a lot of “computers” that are really just smart boards running gas stations and kiosks. If we back out these non computing computers— how many actual computer OS’s is microsoft actually shipping.

      Just wondering.

      • charly

        Those type of computers are a big market but the office/consumer market is huge. It is also a market that will be eaten up by Android but seeing how much OS2 and Unixware is still used i would guess that that will take an awful long time

      • Kizedek

        The point is, that even the office/consumer market is wanting to use devices for which the OEM’s which make them do not want to pay MS full price, or even a tax, for an OS.

        This is why MS has to “compete” with its own OEM’s — to live the lifestyle it became accustomed to, when getting software profits was like printing money.

        So, Android is to take a sizable chunk of some sorts of computing devices? Will OEMs continue to suck up to MS and pay the Windows tax on every device they ship that doesn’t carry Windows installed — as they had to during MS’ hey-day?

        Another point is, that the office/consumer market you are pretending is some kind of salvation for MS is choosing its own devices and beginning to work on its own terms. Times, they are a-changing. And whatever those office workers and consumers choose, the profits are going to Apple.

        MS’ position is getting more and more precarious by the day. It has no real plan — it was taken by surprise. It certainly has no ten-year plan like Apple. So it goes into hardware (like RIMM, still believing the keyboard is where it is at despite the reality around them), and then say they might further retreat to Services, like IBM. Well, I guess hell does freeze over.

      • drewski

        Agreed. Working for a company with close to 250,000 employees, we have now gone BYOD or company supplied Chromebooks, with a few PCs and Macs thrown in for those who really need them (eg. Macs for graphic and video work, Macs or PC’s for those that need the power that Office still provides over Google Docs). The overwhelming choice for those opting for BYOD are MacBook Airs and Pros with only a couple of people going for Ultrabooks from other OEMs.
        For phones, which are also BYOD, I have only seen two non-iPhones in use and I meet with hundreds of different people each month.
        Yes, it’s anecdotal, but if this is happening in such a big company founded almost 100 years ago, it is certainly happening at an even faster rate in SMEs which make up by far a larger proportion of the workforce.
        One last thing: by far the largest proportion of our Help Desk enquiries is for Office products, even after standardising on Google Docs…

      • charly

        Intel or arm Chromebook?

        If it is an Intel Chromebook than it is not surprising that the BYOD crew have Apples

      • drewski

        Good point. Intel Atoms…

      • charly

        So they use their Airs to put up air.

      • marcoselmalo

        I know that’s some sort of insult, but what’s it supposed to mean?

      • charly

        They only pay money for PC’s that ship with Windows. The anti trust trails put an end to the tax.

        ps. Were are i pretending that Microsoft isn’t in deep trouble?

      • Kizedek

        “ps. Were are i pretending that Microsoft isn’t in deep trouble?”

        Admittedly, I was partly guessing at what point you were trying to make, as you were somewhat ambiguous:

        “Those type of computers [petrol pumps and kiosks, presumably] are a big market but the office/consumer market is huge. [emphasis mine]”

        Since the context was all the devices and machines that ship with some form of Windows (the implication being that the marketshare of Windows is possibly inflated and overstated), then presumably your “but” indicated that were MS to lose the embedded device market to Google’s Android, then at least MS still has the/its “office/consumer” market to fall back on.

      • charly

        No, MS sells much more computers than Apple because of the home/office market. “kiosk” market is big but small compared to to the total pc market and not a reason why windows pc have a much larger market share than Mac OSX.

        Historical Apple has burned Corporate IT departments (repeatedly)

      • Kizedek

        “Historical Apple has burned Corporate IT departments (repeatedly)”

        Then it’s lucky that “Corporate IT Departments” are the thing that’s changing, hence the article.

      • JKL

        When you know the past you may understand the future, apple has never been in a position to burn IT departments, here is a clue. Windows won the GUI war in 1981.

      • tlwest

        I would disagree. Many IT departments had to (and some still have to) support Macs for specific groups (graphic design, video, etc.). The vitriol in IT against Apple for its adamant consumer-focused approach was eye-opening.
        There was much cheering by IT departments (at the same time as howling by the users) when a wave of corporate de-Macification occurred a decade or so ago.

        The question was whether Apple could have satisfied IT department needs (or at least made IT feel that they weren’t being ignored) without sacrificing what made Mac’s successful. Given limited resources, I suspect the answer is no, but I really don’t know. Certainly there were times when it seemed Apple was almost deliberately trying to alienate corporate IT (followed by initiatives to to make up, followed by the initiatives getting cancelled later).

    • Sacto_Joe

      My guess is that Windows smartphones and tablets are a rounding error….

  • vincent_rice

    And cue the French contrarian…

  • Space Gorilla

    This article will certainly make the anti-Apple crowd go nuts.

  • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

    The underlaying change allowing all this was on the software side.
    Corporate wanted standard to allow software deployment. What changed is browser software.
    Corporate specific software can and is realized on the server side and run on browsers on the client side, so being effectively system independent.
    Without this change standard would matter as it did in the ’80/’90.
    Also end users can find the software they need on multiple platforms, so they can choose freely.

    The app revolution is something new, the iOS devices have powerful custom and new software made for them only, developers have to support two platforms with custom code, without the beauty of server side software and having to realise more curated user experiences and interfaces.
    It seems a step back from server side software, but developers will follow the money as always.

    • marcoselmalo

      Is this completely true? Many apps are front ends for server side services, databases, processing, etc. it just doesn’t happen via a browser.

      • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

        Apple is changing that too. When everything was windows, you didn’t have to deal with multiple platforms and using a browser with actives or native code or java was only a matter of preference.
        Now that corporate users want the device they choose and companies have to deal with windows, os x, ipads, iphones and android phones all together, client side software have to be interoperable and html5 is the answer.
        Moving corporate software to ipad is costly but is happening because as Horace says there is no going back.

      • Kizedek

        “Moving corporate software to ipad is costly but is happening because as Horace says there is no going back.”

        Software would have to “move” at some point. You can only sustain Windows and DOS legacy software for so long. For crying out loud, companies were staying on a decade-old version of Windows because some of the changes MS made were too much in terms of UI, but not enough to bother in terms of platform — because there was no real advantage.

        But you can’t underestimate something else: new uses and applications. It’s not just “moving” old corporate software: in many cases, it’s keeping the centralized, legacy software (for which re-buying Windows doesn’t prove to bring any benefit), and it is adding NEW tasks that complement and input into those systems — hence, Sales Teams with SalesForce on iPad, Point-of-Sales, Inventory, Scientific data gathering and collecting to be analyzed later on the legacy software…. etc.

        …new applications and tools that create and input data and content (as I said). 80% of the workers can do 80% of the computing tasks on the device of their choice — and not only is there little impact on the corporation (so much for the costs you worry about), but there is greater productivity and innovation to boot!

      • charly

        Moving software is costly and is the reason why mainframes still exist. There is also the Nothing is as lasting as the temporary, which is especially true.

      • Kizedek

        Which is why I focused on new tasks and applications in my comment. But those mainframes? They would be Windows mainframes? I don’t really know, but I suspect not (I just Googled “Mainframe OS”, and all the results were about an IBM OS)

      • charly

        My point exactly

      • marcoselmalo

        Fun fact: a lot of ATMs use OS/2. Still.

      • Shawn Dehkhodaei

        I’d rather have OS/2 than Windows. The new “Windows-based” ATMs are slow and crash all the time …..

      • marcoselmalo

        The Santander ATM at the nearby store runs windows and is often down. Luckily, there is a branch office with two ATMs a short-ish walk away (20 – 30 minutes), and one is usually working if the other isn’t.

      • marcoselmalo

        Tell me about it, bro! It can be a bit frustrating!

    • http://twitter.com/LunaticSX Lun Esex

      “It seems a step back from server side software…”

      Server side software is still a step back from native software in terms of overall user experience and responsiveness[1], especially over a cellular connection. Also, most successful casual games on the web have predominantly been heavy on client-side code in Adobe Flash, so it can be argued whether software development in that category is closer to server-side or native client.

      Software deployed via HTML5/JavaScript/etc. will continue to get better, but mobile devices are still in an era equivalent to mid-1980′s desktop computers. At that time, all the most responsive software was written in assembly language. For mobile devices the “assembly language” is native software development in Objective-C and Java. We haven’t quite reached the point where the next order of “higher-level languages” (HTML5/JavaScript/etc.) have a low enough penalty on mobile hardware for those languages’ advantages to outweigh their disadvantages. (Though we’ve so far had three major attempts to jump start this: Web apps on iPhone OS 1.0, Palm’s webOS, and now Firefox OS.)

      [1] eg. compare a native application running on a 1-1.5 Ghz mobile processor with 512 MB of RAM vs a similar application in a web browser on a PC with equivalent 1-1.5 Ghz/512 MB RAM desktop parts.

      • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

        I agree.
        Speaking about corporate software you have many advanced tools and standard server side.
        Client side you have to go native to achieve all the benefit you describe. The step back is that you are constrained in few development environments, few languages and you have little interoperability between platforms.
        You cannot do it in another way, you have to go native, but developers tools for native code have a lot way to go.
        I don’t thinks client side software on mobile devices will evolve towards html5, it will remain native, but developer tools will have to evolve to let developer use more languages and will have to be more multiplatform, since this time there will not be an unique winner and the actual work to develop for multiple platforms and devices is a pain that needs a solution.

      • http://twitter.com/LunaticSX Lun Esex

        A few years ago I had an idea for something Apple could do to make combined iOS & web services development easier. Similar to how NeXT/Apple’s WebObjects evolved, Apple could evolve Xcode so that it could be used to write code in Objective-C targeting a standardized web server runtime. iOS and Mac apps and their server components could then be written as tightly coupled projects in Xcode. Apple could offer hosting on iCloud servers for the web components for third party apps (currently frequently hosted on Amazon Web Services). The web runtime could otherwise be hosted on an OS X, Linux, or Microsoft server, or maybe even on Amazon Web Services. :)

        This is actually the opposite of how you believe developer tools should evolve, but it’s not Apple’s nature to strive to be multiplatform. Their primary goal is to have the best possible user experience under OS X and iOS on Apple hardware. Something like I described above would be to specifically address this, by making it easier for iOS and Mac app developers using Objective-C to not have to learn and use different languages and platforms to host the server-side code that their apps integrate with.

        Of course, Apple’s not known for its web services successes, so the practicality of implementation of something like the above, and how interested developers would be in adopting it considering Apple’s current web services track record, is a whole other story.

      • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

        Interesting idea.
        Of course Apple will remain focused to create tools to enhance their platform, but the market is open for metatools that enable multi platform coding.
        I have doubts that the android mess could be unified in a simple tool, except for google, but if there is a tool able to simplify the current work of coding for iOS, wait success, recode for a bunch of android device, wait success, recode for more android devices, wait success, wait money from microsoft, recode for windows phone … can be simplified, it will be a success.

      • charly

        Which company is at its core a coding tool maker? I expect this to be Microsoft’s re-entery into the mobile market.

    • Kizedek

      The recognition that it is more important that your data and content be standard, or accessible to multiple platforms and applications is the more important form of standardization.

      My data and content is what’s important to me. Not a specific tool. I can now access my data and content, and deal with it in some fashion, on any platform. For example, I can use a native (non-web) DropBox app on any platform and use all sorts of creation or editing apps to act on that data, content or files that contain them. The code base of the App does not have to be the same.

      Apple always (mostly) recognized this. It committed itself to making or enabling superior, easier to use tools… that could deal with the same data and file formats as other platforms.

      If MS recognized this, it was to actively hinder it. Their excuse was “standardization”. But they really held our data and files hostage!

      Perhaps MS recognized that, on a level playing field, Apple tools (both hardware and software optimized together) would be the more usable, interoperable and profitable, if not the most popular.

      Now, many end users are finally recognizing this, too.

      • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

        Of course data is important, but corporate software is expensive.
        It is code written ad hoc for corporate use and maintaining compatibility means saving a lot of money.
        Now compatibility of software is achieved at architectural level and is not leaved to o.s. developer anymore.

      • Kizedek

        Sure, there are specific apps that specific industries and companies need, and these took time and money to develop. As you say, that can be done on many levels and architectural platforms, including Unix, Linux, NT, iOS, java, whatever.

        That was, and always will be, the case. Therefore, I don’t think the “browser” caused the shift that Horace is illustrating. In fact, your contention about corporate software is diluted, if the “browser” is the answer.

        No, I think people finally woke up and realized they didn’t have to pay what they were paying to MS for MS “Corporate” software. Hundreds per copy of Office, hundreds per person to connect to networks and exchange servers…

        There is no such thing as an “Apple Tax”. There may be a hardware “premium”, but there never even was a software “premium”. No, MS taxed corporations, pure and simple; and now corporations and governments and institutions are dumping its boxes in the harbour.

        Now MS wants to get into the hardware action, only to find out it really doesn’t have the chops it thinks it has, and that its real legacy is leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

      • charly

        Apple is not known for cheap. Their “hardware” premium is stiff

      • Kizedek

        I think we can use the air quotes around hardware for MS. To more and more people, though, Apple actually is known for value (certainly in terms of time and effort and maintenance), quality and low TCO.

      • charly

        Really believable that Apple has a lower TCO when the cheapest Apple laptop is $900 and windows is $300

      • Kizedek

        Do you know what TCO means?

      • charly

        Total cost of operations also as a misspelled form of the word lying. Apple uses the Toyota way to keep it low (not offering a lot of options) which doesn’t work that well in enterprise

        Cisco is a relative young company (Became only big because of internet) and probably alway preferred using *nix. Not surprising that they can run on a cheap *nix as they likely don’t have much legacy windows & dos software from the

        80′s and early 90′s. That is not true of most companies. I’m not certain but Dell, HP etc. probably compete with them in the enterprise market so buying from them feels weird. Add the local support Apple has in Southern California and it is not surprising that Cisco buys Apple pc’s

      • charly

        I should replace the battery in my keyboard

        Total cost of operations also known as a misspelled form of the word lying.

      • N8nnc

        TCO = Total Cost of Ownership
        Total expense to acquire, run, maintain, and dispose equipment. Sometimes includes opportunity cost inflicted by ownership.

      • Kizedek

        There is some lying going on, for sure. The sad thing is that the lie is in how iT departments and “Corporate” computing should cost a company what it costs them in time, money, resources and personnel, precisely because MS has made such a hash of computing and made it necessary. It’s like a protection racket. “Solutions” not only looking for a problem, but creating the problem they are supposed to address!

        That is why people say that MS has held computing back for 20 years! IT doesn’t have to be like that — as we can see from Apple.

        MS is good at business! They are not so good at computing and IT. MS “does” Corporate because it wanted to be IBM, then it wanted to be Apple. Now people are finally admitting that the emperor is going around in his starkers.

      • Kizedek

        edit: moved to correct place in reply to charly

      • http://info-tran.com/ Info Dave

        There was an article recently that talked about Cisco supporting tens of thousands of Macs, and finding that to be true.

      • Tatil_S

        The ubiquity of Sharepoint says IT have not yet grasped the importance of keeping data accessible through multiple tools from multiple vendors. They still figure they can always export the data to be compatible with another tool if they decide on another vendor later or keep some licenses to the old tool just for the few employees who need to access the old data. In other words, use a proprietary tool now and worry about the tax later.

      • Kizedek

        I’m saying they are being continually taxed (or raped as it were) — for example, those annual fees for every seat that attaches to Sharepoint, etc. There have been numerous studies on the tens of thousands that MS costs corporations per user, per year. (That’s part of your TCO, charly — another part being how it doesn’t work half the time).

        I think what many really worry about is that they have gone too far down the road to change direction now. They have invested SOOO much in MS “solutions” that they don’t dare admit it was misguided. It’s just too late.

        So, they stick their heads in the sand instead. They take their bonuses, and they ride it out till they retire; they just hope for the best. The mantra has exchanged IBM for MS — “No-one ever got fired for choosing MS”

        So, there is little wonder about Horace’s observation that the actual lifetime’s of most companies is actually far less than one human life-span.

      • charly

        And Apple does not use lock in? You must be kidding. At least Microsoft tries to do enterprise

      • drx1

        Most of iTunes is high bit rate DRM free music … No lock in there, though the vids are a bit pesky at times, iTMS is miles better an UltraViolet.

      • Kizedek

        No, neither Apple nor Apple users expect Apple to be the sole provider of hardware and software to a company. Apple gear plays well with others. Apple aims for its products to be useable and of value to those end-users who actually choose their tool, rather than get something foisted on them by middle management out of expedience or some misguided and misinformed policy.

        When you buy a Mac, you are free to install MS Office, even Windows. However, many soon find they can do without them. Macs do fine (arguably better than PCs) on Windows, Linux or Unix networks. Macs do fine in a mixed environment. Where’s the lock-in?

        Apple consistently implements and uses standard formats for export (such as mp4 for video). Apple’s own browser (and Firefox or Chrome) implement web standards better than IE (yet much corporate software is locked to the archaic vagaries of IE and MS’ corruption of javascript and internet standards).

        Last I checked, I could pretty much open and edit (improve) any Word, PowerPoint or Excel file on my Mac. In fact, I have colleagues asking me to open Office docs and basic CSV files, etc., and convert and export them to a format they can open and use with their particular version of Windows and Office.

        Last I checked, PDF was integrated into Macs at system level, and display and printing is predictable and bears some resemblance to each other (truly, WYSIWYG); and my Mac knows which apps it can use to open a file, even if the file had lost its suffix; and I can connect to most networks without a hitch, while Windows users are struggling through a myriad of obfuscated preference panels…

        Those who manage both Macs and Windows PCs, enjoy the relief of less Windows boxes to manage (and may use the Mac to manage all the PCs); those who use both, enjoy the freedom and productivity the Mac brings; those who buy both, enjoy the savings over the life of the products…

      • drx1

        Share point is another name for a ‘fancy’ file server – that is also more expensive Han most other types of fire servers, while also being slower…

        Yes MS has a tax, though most are blinded buy the $500 junk PCs.

  • DesDizzy

    Interesting read as always. A couple of quibbles;

    “In fact, Apple with at least 500 million loyal and wealthy users is considered to be in a precarious situation” by whom?

    “Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible” Do you mean the re-emergence of centralised decision making is impossible i.e. the “IBM” standard or do you mean that it is impossible for MSF to re-emerge with superior products and be once again dominant?

    • Space Gorilla

      Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think it’s obvious the article is making a point of how ridiculous it is to consider Apple to be in a precarious position. But sadly, many analysts/pundits/etc do think Apple is in a precarious position. Wait a day or so and I bet there’s a bunch of comments on this very article that take that position.

      On your second question, I think the simple version of the statement is that the end user now makes the purchase decision, and that cannot be reversed. Now there’s no intermediary to ‘hide’ behind. I think Microsoft, or any company, can do well, they just have to make good products that meet an actual end user need. I’m not hopeful that Microsoft can do this, but you never know.

    • vatdoro

      “In fact, Apple with at least 500 million loyal and wealthy users is considered to be in a precarious situation” by whom?

      Wall Street. The average p/e ratio for the S&P 500 is 19.44. Apple’s p/e ratio is 13.63. This indicates that wall street believes the average Fortune 500 company has a (much) brighter future than Apple. This strange discrepancy is an ongoing theme on Horace’s blog. http://www.asymco.com/2013/11/06/how-many-years-does-apple-have/

      “Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible”

      I thought it was obvious he meant the re-emergence of centralized decision makers is impossible. (The genie is out of the bottle.)

      It is not impossible for MSFT to come out with superior products, just highly unlikely.

      (You mentioned “MSF to re-emerge with superior products”. Using the word ‘re-emerge’ implies that MSFT had superior products to Apple in the past, which is highly debatable.)

      • drx1

        It is interesting to watch MS attempt a turn around in consumer space. The reason that MS is often criticized is for their low standards. Apple always wants to design the whole widget – or as much as possible, which is why the iPod, iPhone and iPad are so successful.

        In Microsoft’s attempt to ‘beat’ Apple, they know they have o take a similar approach. He possible issue here, even if hey do succeed, is that many of their OEMS vendors would see MS as a competitor and hey could lose some of their scale – or all of it.

        MS current builds laptops and tablets that compete with all or most of its OEMS partners… directly in those growth areas. I wounded if Android will fork to a traditional type of computer OS and we have a full on 3 way race … Darwin (iOS/ OS X), NT (Windows x86, Arm, etc) and Android/ Android desktop…Chrome.

      • charly

        Who wants to compete with Apple as it is Android that is winning.

        ps. 5 way race Darwin, NT, Android/Chrome, traditional Linux and FirefoxOS/FirefoxPC (Firefox version of ChromeOS)

      • DesDizzy

        Vatdoro – Having worked in financial services risk management both on the Buyside (Fund/Asset Management) and the Sellside (Investment Banking/Broking) for over 25 years, I think you ascribe too much rationality to the stock markets.

        There is no “rational” reason that Amazon & Google should have basketball P/E’s and Apple a P/E that is the same as MSF/Intel, unless you believe in the tooth fairy!

  • mshipe

    Interestingly, centralized decision making in the education sector regarding tablets may provide Apple with some of the guaranteed revenue that Microsoft has enjoyed.

    http://t.electronista.com/electronista/#!/entry/cook-apple-execs-expected-to-visit-turkey-in-feb-to,52b997bf025312186ca846f4

    • charly

      Not if i look at their prices. Kids start their educational use on one of those “My-First-Tablet” $100 Android tablets bought by their parents so schools

      will follow that.

      • Fran_Kostella

        Schools don’t buy computing equipment that way. The purchases are long term processes and require lots of sign-offs and planning and validating the software choices. Some arbitrary inexpensive Android-tablet-of-the-month doesn’t fit that model. What I’ve been seeing lately suggests that Apple will continue to produce the iPad2 exactly for this reason, to give schools a specific device that will be around for a long period of time so that they can plan for it. That’s the only thing I’ve seen that explains the relatively low powered iPad2 remaining in the catalog at this point.

      • charly

        I’m not saying that schools will buy Chinese not complete junk with a my little pony engraved on the backside. But parents will do that so their kids will know the Android way. So what do you think the computer equipment commission decides on which tablet to buy if they have the choose between a Samsung pen tablet or the twice as expensive iPad?

      • Kizedek

        I guess it depends on whether they just want the kids to watch Youtube, or actually need some decent educational software they can lock down and rely on (those Apple “controls” begin to look like a good idea).

      • Mnbob1

        “parents will do that so their kids will know the Android way” What does that mean? I think parents don’t really care about the “Android Way”. If they are making a purchasing decision based on showing their child Android as if it were some sort of cult then they are going about it all wrong. Tablet for education should be based on the quality of the apps that are available. If the child has special needs then the choice is even more important based on appropriate apps, accessibility settings in the operating system, and availability of adaptive devices and strong cases. There are reasons why educational institutions have so far mostly chosen the iPad over a Samsung pen tablet or most other Android tablets. Apple works very closely with the education market and provides tools to help them manage their devices. IOS is better suited for education because it’s delivered clean without bloatware and advertising filled popups. Google is the only one that delivers a product with clean Android. Samsung is one of the worst offenders.

      • charly

        Parents don’t care about the OS but they want a cheap and safe environment for their young kids without to much trouble. Those Android kids tablets promises that. Ipad doesn’t

        Apple has a few years headstart and the right contacts and image but that can be easily overcome by being consistently much cheaper

      • Fran_Kostella

        I can’t agree. Schools don’t do BYOD and they have to answer to the public for their choices. If the devices don’t support the software the educators plan to use and the devices are not 100% replaceable with the exact same device for the years of the program then the purchase is not going to get approved in most school systems. There is a reason that the iPad2 is still for sale, long after one would expect it to be put to pasture. The issues are not primarily price, you need the software, and long term device support and management capability, all things that Apple has put in place. Will some schools ignore this and buy cheap tablets? Yes, and you can search for the stories now about those disasters. You need the software and support to complete in that market and once you have that you can compete on price.

      • Fran_Kostella

        HP might be a good candidate for education and thought it would enter this market: http://bgr.com/2013/11/22/hp-tablet-school-disaster/.

        The Samsung solution seems to be screen sharing server: Samsung School http://www.samsung.com/global/business/mobile/samsungschool/release/ but I have not heard of anyone using it.

        Dell seems like another candidate for this market, but I’ve only seen articles about them selling Win8 tablets to schools.

        I’m not certain who else is trying to compete here, you need to do software, hardware, support and sales and understand the needs of educators. Maybe Microsoft will try?

      • charly

        Who said anything about BYOD? Parents buy for home use their own game/education tablets. If you than choose a much more expensive and different environment in school you have to explain why you do that.

        ps. What stories? About schools buying cheap tablets or crap tablets because until recently you could only buy crap tablets for low prices. That has changed

      • Fran_Kostella

        No, schools don’t seem to do that. I know of a local school that bought 1st generation Chromebooks long before the general population even really knew about them, let alone bought them at home. The school didn’t have to explain it to parents as it fit the board’s criteria for software, support and management. My wife was on the board then, and she had no parents complain or call the decision into question. The only complaints were from the kids who all disliked them!

        Maybe what you suggest happens, but I’ve just never heard of it, nor does it match what I see happening. I’d be interested to know more about this so please share some links to reports about schools being taken to task for not buying tablets like they have at home. As I mentioned, this is an interesting market and I’d love to know if it is about to flip over to inexpensive Android tablets.

        For “stories” I should have said “news reports” to be more specific, sorry.

      • charly

        Inexpensive for ipad, expensive for Android. We are also still in the pilot phase for tablet use in school. The software and schoolbook cycle hasn’t had time to follow up on it

      • tenderloin

        I work in K-12 curriculum and I’m finding a lot more BYOD school districts.

      • Fran_Kostella

        Really? That’s interesting. Are they for browsing/PDF reading, or can kids bring devices that work with education software? I know of local schools that allow the kid to bring tablets, but only for taking notes and email/web/PDFs. That is, the devices are not part of a curriculum but are for replacing paper.

      • tenderloin

        A nice example would be Franklin SD in Wisconsin. a – they allow students to bring in tablets and such for research and interacting with online resources. b – they also use a lot of Web 2.0 services (they are big on GDocs and Hangouts) as educators and their IT supports recognizes the benefit of supporting a wide range of devices.

        I didn’t mean to imply that this was anything but a minority but school district IT is definitely feeling the pressure to liberalize their device and web service policies.

      • Frank

        Cheap can often be the most expensive alternative.

        I just sold an almost four year old iPad for half what I paid for it new to someone who was “upgrading” from a Galaxy Note 2 that nobody wants to buy.

        I and then my wife got three and a half years of use from that iPad for about $300.00.

        Sure beats buying a “cheap” alternative.

      • Brewer

        If the parents think that, there is probably no hope for their kids.

      • Fran_Kostella

        If they find the iPad has better educational software and can be serviced, managed and replaced over the expected lifetime of the program’s regime, which iPad2s do currently seem to do, they will buy iPads. If some other vendor comes along with the same features and support ad reliability at a better price they would likely choose that. School purchasing and IT are different than what you or I or a small business might do and right now Apple seems to understand how to sell to that. If the Android tablet market for educational software expands then it will probably change. If the school just wants cheap video players then they would go for the least expensive option, a no-brand Android tablet. I’m not advocating anything, just reporting what I see from here, and the iPad educational market is tempting, but I don’t have a app plan that I think will succeed.

      • marcoselmalo

        “iPad educational market is tempting, but I don’t have a app plan that I think will succeed.”

        Intelligent and forthright. The most successful apps (in general) seem to come from developers creating something that they want to use, that solves some problem or fills some gap or need.

        With educational computing, you have two sets of users: the students and the teachers. You really have to put yourself into the mindset of both groups. If I was a student, what would I want? Why would best facilitate my education while being engaging or absorbing, holding my interest? If I was a teacher, what would best facilitate my job of teaching the material, creating lesson plans?

        (Possibly you would need separate apps that tied together.)

        I had a friend that taught 4th grade history/social studies using some version of Sid Meier’s Civilization, by the way. This was back in the 90s, iirc.

      • JohnDoey

        There is no “Android way.” The Android way is the iOS way, stripped down.

        Schools want apps, not hardware. If there were some way to run apps without hardware, they would do it. They will buy iPads because that is the closest thing to running any app you want on the most-meager hardware.

      • charly

        Does the ipad still receive security updates or should it be banned from the web.

        The school tablets is a market that will be owned by the Chinese brand names (ZTE, Lenovo etc). Not the Samsung’s & Sony’s

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        So businesses bought Atari 800s because that is what millions of people bought their kids?

        Nope.

      • charly

        Business doesn’t hire 8 year old? Cartridge based computers were also not useful for business

      • JohnDoey

        A $100 Android tablet is also not useful for education, except in very, very limited applications. There is no music production software, no video production software, no art tools, too little storage, much too little battery life, and way too many viruses. That is why $100 Android tablets spend most of their lives in drawers.

        A cynic could say why teach kids video production? They won’t all be movie directors. Because their college applications will almost certainly be video-based, not typewriter-based. So kids who can’t shoot 30 minutes of footage and edit it down to a concise 3 minute documentary will be the equivalent of illiterate only a few years from now.

        And education not only wants a lot of cheap systems, they want those systems to be useful in all fields/subjects, they want those systems to be extremely reliable and easy to use and maintain, and they want to use them for years before replacing them.

        The math in eduction is not $299 iPad tablets versus $100 Android tablets — it’s $299 iPad tablets with $5 apps and extremely low cost of ownership versus $400 PC’s with $50 apps and extremely high cost of ownership.

        You might as well say that schools will replace all their PC’s with TV’s. A $100 Android tablet is a TV at best.

        I mean, schools can buy stone tablets for $25 each, but that won’t replace an iPad either.

      • charly

        $100 Android tablets is still crap but nice tablets with pen can be had for less than $200. Without a pen you can’t have drawing or handwriting apps. Something which to my mind seems more important than video apps.

        ps. More college applications will be handwritten than video-ed in 20 years time. But video does have the advantage that screening for our kind of people is easier than with a written

        text.

  • Sacto_Joe

    Another way to look at this is that desktop has basically peaked but computer devices overall arre still growing. To show this one would create a stacked chart rather than a overlain chart.

  • Jeffrey Nathan

    I like this article however one key sentence is unclear: “In fact, Apple with at least 500 million loyal and wealthy users is considered to be in a precarious situation” Does this mean that you think that Apple is in a less or more precarious situation? I think I know the answer, however, it feels like you haven’t quite made this point clear. You do make this point later, which is why I think I know your answer: “Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible.”

    • Mnbob1

      The author did make this point clear. The fortunes of Blackberry and Nokia in going from market leaders to negligible market share prove that customers are finicky and will jump ship no matter how loyal if promises of innovation are not delivered on time and fail to meet expectations.

      • FalKirk

        “The fortunes of Blackberry and Nokia in going from market leaders to negligible market share prove that customers are finicky…” – Mnbob1

        I respectfully disagree. It was Blackberry and Nokia that abandoned their customers by leaving them without products that were competitive. There was nothing random or “finicky” about what happened to Blackberry or Nokia. They got smoked by vastly superior competition.

      • charly

        It is hard for a computer company to stay competitive if they are in the top end of the market as silicon based products have a habit to crash in price.

      • FalKirk

        Respectfully, I can’t see the pertinance of your remark.

      • charly

        It is bloody hard to compete with a good enough $50 smart phone if your cost $600. That is pertinence of my remark

      • FalKirk

        “It is bloody hard to compete with a good enough $50 smart phone if your cost $600″ – charley

        And yet, that is exactly what Apple is doing. Costs are a floor for price, but value, not cost is the ceiling.

      • charly

        Apple isn’t doing that. Apple was competing with smart phones $200 cheaper but the market has changed so that even cheap smart phones are good enough and subsidies are going away

      • TheEternalEmperor

        No they are not. Every market with subsidies still has them.

      • charly

        But subsidies are getting less attractive indicating that they will become much less important for the smartphone market

      • JohnDoey

        Apple is not competing with smartphones, they are competing with PC’s. Samsung Galaxy and other smartphones are replacing phones, but iPhones are replacing PC’s, and extending the use cases for PC class computing.

        You can see this by how the products are marketed:

        • smartphones are/were marketed to replace a dumb phone

        • the original 2007 iPhone (with no App Store) was pitched as a way to replace a smartphone and an iPod

        • the 2008–present iPhone with App Store is pitched as a way to replace a smartphone, an iPod, and a PC (“post-PC”) — with each new generation of apps and hardware further fulfilling the PC replacement promise, including iPad models with larger screens and large-view apps

        So people don’t buy an iPhone to get phone features or even smartphone features. You can get that from any other vendor, so why would you seek out an Apple Store or switch a carrier and pay additional money to get them from Apple? You don’t. What you do is you buy an iPhone to get Mac features like iMovie and virus-free app platform and pristine text layout and 3D games and centralized software updates and beautiful aluminum and glass hardware, or you buy an iPhone to get iPod features like iTunes and small physical size and large flash storage and AirPlay and responsive touch. The phone/smartphone features you get in an iPhone are all free. You assume they are there like you assume that any PC has a Web browser. The texting and calendar and Web browser and maps and contacts database and notifications and lightweight games on your iPhone are all free. Same as when people choose between a Mac and Windows PC they don’t think about the Web browser — that is free. Nobody will pay for those features, which is why most smartphones are unprofitable. LG and Sony and Motorola and Nokia have been paying users to buy their phones since the iPhone first shipped.

        If Apple was competing with smartphones, we would see an exodus of users from iPhone to smartphones that look similar these days but are cheaper. But we don’t see that. The effect of smartphones changing to look like iPhones has simply been to delay the user’s transition from dumb phone to iPhone. In other words, users that would have gone from dumb phone to iPhone 4S instead went from dumb phone to Samsung Galaxy to iPhone 5S. More people switch from Android to iOS than go the other way and that has always been true. Switching from iPhone to Android is so rare it is a stunt that nerds pull so they can write about it on their blog, and they end up going back to iPhone when they’re done showing off.

      • charly

        If you want to substitute your pc with a smartphone you get a note, not a small iphone.

        Why would you move from an expensive iphone to a cheap Android. It doesn’t make sense as most iphones are still semi-operational. Wait until 2015 when the phones bought in 2011 really start to die and you will see a move from former ios owners to Android.

      • marcoselmalo

        Where is this $50 “good enough” smartphone?

        Secondly, the standard for “good enough” keeps going up. Certain companies (at least one that I can think of!) continue to raise the bar.

        If good enough was the standard, we’d all be using Android Blackberry clones.

      • charly

        You can’t buy a good $50 smart phone, yet. But wait a few years and you will see them sold in every mobile phone shop except Apple

        Good enough keeps going up, but not as fast as silicon gets better.

      • JohnDoey

        Silicon-based products that maintain the exact same feature set have a habit of crashing in price. Therefore, if you want to maintain the same price, you have to grow the feature set. That is what Apple does. iPhone is basically the same price as ever, and the Intel Mac is basically the same price as ever, but the features have grown dramatically. A $1000 Mac notebook is carved out of one piece of aluminum today but 10 years ago it was made out of many pieces of plastic. Apple could have stayed with plastic, but if they had, they would be selling $500 plastic notebooks today.

        This is another way of stating Moore’s Law. Notice with Moore’s Law, 18–24 months later you can either have the same number of transistors in half the die space (and price) or you can have double the number of transistors in the same die space (and price.) If a tech company stands still and just keeps shipping the same number of transistors (or features) then they have to keep dropping their price. If they aggressively add new and useful and functional features that make their products twice as good every 18–24 months, they can keep the same price.

        Notice that Apple will ship iPhone 4 and then a year later, replace about half of the iPhone 4 and ship iPhone 4S, and then a year later, replace the other half of the iPhone 4 and ship iPhone 5, and a year later, replace half of the iPhone 5 and ship iPhone 5S, and so on. Apple is improving their products at a Moore’s Law pace in order to maintain the same pricing.

        If you look back at Nokia’s smartphones, they had many models, all of which were primarily dumb phones, and then each individual model would have a few advanced features they could crow about in their marketing, but the user might only be able to make one of those features work. Then the next Nokia phone they buy would also be essentially a dumb phone with a different few advanced features and a different single feature the user could make work. From the user’s perspective, the product is standing still even as Nokia could rightfully claim they were advancing their technology. The technology advanced, but the product did not really improve, and certainly didn’t improve to be twice as good every 24 months. Similarly, Blackberry was so committed to the pager feature set that their smartphones never stopped being any more than a pager. The price the user was willing to pay for QWERTY messaging was huge at first, then much less, then much less, then much less, until QWERTY messaging was something you get for free with an iPod.

        And with Microsoft — does anybody think the Windows PC got twice as good every 24 months for the past 10 years? From 2001 through 2006 it hardly even changed. What was better in 2007 with Vista was obviated by how buggy it was and how unsuited it was for the 2007 hardware (which was all low-end, the high-end Intel system sales all having been taken by Apple.) Windows 7 might be real progress, but it was only twice as good as XP at best, and that is after 8 years, not 2. So that is why the price of Windows and the hardware that is designed solely for it has cratered in the last 10 years.

        So Nokia and Blackberry and Microsoft are not victims of silicon, they just made a ton of crappy products.

        There is this maxim that if you want a user to switch platforms, that is asking so much of them, the target platform has to be 10x better than the one the user has now, to reward the user for the trouble of switching. So, for example, once Mac OS X was 10x better than Windows, users started putting aside their Windows PC’s and buying Macs. But what is under-appreciated, I think, is that if you want a user to switch to the next-generation of your own platform, you need to make the new model 2x better than the one the user has now. For example, it’s pretty easy to see that an iPhone 5 is 2x better than iPhone 4. If it were not, users would just cling to their iPhone 4 as long as possible. The reason I think this is under-appreciated is that tech people look at an iPhone 4 and say the A4 processor is obsolete, and isn’t the user locked into the iOS platform by sticky apps and the 10x cost of switching to another platform anyway? So why bother doing all the work to make an iPhone 5 2x better than a 4? The reason is, your company wants the user to buy the 5 when it first comes out, and not a year later when their 4 finally expires from decrepit old age. If they don’t buy *now* your sales tank, your investors panic, and an opportunity for a competitor to eat your lunch arrives. With Apple, you see them not cynically preying on the user being trapped (except perhaps with the awful iOS 7 bait-and-switch) but instead proactively driving their products forward so that the user will even get onto a 1 year replacement cycle, rather than falling into a 3 or 4 year cycle. And if your company was too afraid to challenge itself to make the product 2x better every 2 years, then you might have tried instead to get a monopoly so that your pricing could stay static or increase in spite of the product not improving (see: Windows.)

        Basically, crying about silicon or Moore’s Law is always an excuse for bad products.

      • charly

        If i could choose between a $500 plastic notebook or a $1000 metal one i would choose the $500 one. The fact that Apple is without competition is the only reason why people can’t choose the $500 plastic notebook.

        Software isn’t silicon. It doesn’t need twice the power every 2 years so the wall of fast enough will stay most likely based as soon as you reach it ones. It is even a hallmark of bad software if it can keep up with the needs of Moore’s law

      • Kizedek

        You oversimplify: it’s not just plastic or metal, fast or slow.

        The silicon and battery improvements that Apple makes are about power management and battery life, too, among other things.

        So, now Apple is “without competition”? I thought people only chose Apple products for status, when anything else at half the price would do just as much if not more?

        Without competition? That’s because no-one else can make a comparable device for anything approaching the same price… Such as the MacBook Air — no-one else can make an “Ultrabook” that is as light, thin, powerful, sturdy, etc. (let alone elegant and beautiful); even with Intel’s reference designs and incentives. The competition has given up.

      • Will

        And they in turn were the “vastly superior competition” at their time. Such is the world of non-enterprise.

  • charly

    How many of those Mac OS X pc also run Windows? Because my bet is that any Mac that is used for serious, not single purpose, business runs Windows in a virtual engine. Mac OS X can also be run in a virtual engine but that is mostly done to play with it.

    Most people use their pc for one thing. Running a browser. An Apple is just as good at that but you need windows if you use your pc for something else.

    • KirkBurgess

      What exactly is it that you think a Mac doesn’t do that makes a user need windows for anything other than web browsing?

      • charly

        There is no specialized software for the mac outside the field of Media (and maybe education)

      • DqsPoster

        @Charly,

        You are way behind the times…

        AutoCAD
        SAGE Hyperwall
        DEVONAgent
        NCH
        Quicklook
        StudioCloud Biz Mgmnt
        Salesforce
        Elements CRM
        Daylite
        AIMcrm
        SOHO Organizer
        Studiometry
        etc.

      • Accent_Sweden

        Feed not the troll.

      • BoydWaters

        Wisdom for the ages, to be sure.

        However, things are getting weird: can Microsoft regain its composure after recent events? It is certainly possible. And yet Bill Gates recognized the threat of web-browser-as-platform in 1995. It was a credible threat. So here we are.

        Ringing the changes on troll-feeding, perhaps, but this interesting turn of events are worth discussing.

      • JohnDoey

        The problem with Web apps is they cost a ton of money to debug, deploy, and maintain. And it isn’t long before you are scrapping it and starting over with an entirely new app because your development team has changed or development tools have changed or the browsers have changed. And there is the desktop/mobile schism now that has probably doubled your costs because you weren’t smart enough to recognize you should build a mobile app and then create a responsive layout so that it can take advantage of a bigger view when that is available.

        Basically, Web development is a mess and the Web has not lived up to its promise from 1995. Bill Gates was wrong when he feared Netscape. The way we can see this is that 13 years later, in 2008, Apple App Store comes out and within a few years it has bludgeoned HTML5 (which was originally called “Web Apps 1.0”) into submission as far as apps go and then HTML5 became “HTML” and is just for pages again, except in very rare cases.

        Apple took the 1-click install and Internet-connectivity of Web apps and married that to the power and the giant existing codebase of native C/C++ and the advanced interactivity and user interface of Mac apps and the utility of mobile apps and made something that out-competed the World Wide Web in the app space. Bill Gates and Microsoft were in a position to do that 10 years earlier, but their first instinct was not to compete (skate better than the competition) with the Web — instead their first instinct was to be anti-competitive (hit the competing skater in the knee with a pipe) on Netscape. Giant missed opportunity for Microsoft at a time when Apple was rebuilding and Google was still a twinkle in the eye of some college students.

        It’s Internet-enabled client/server apps that are important — not Web apps specifically. You can run whatever is best for the task on the server (Java, PHP, native C/C++) and you can also run whatever is best for the task on the client (HTML5, Java, native C/C++.) You can have a free, basic client on the Web and a paid, advanced client in native C/C++, which is what Microsoft is finally getting around to now with MS-Office.

      • marcoselmalo

        I think the Microsoft hunt for a new CEO should be made into a reality show.

      • Brewer

        I like it. They could follow a ‘Pickers’ theme, where softie goes around looking for new software to subsume.

      • Accent_Sweden

        Quite right. And it was unfair of me to declare Charly a troll, just because he irritates by ranting rather than discussing. We always need a jester to jab our sides. So let’s return to the discussion.

      • marcoselmalo

        Charly is at least polite and (generally) intelligible.

      • Mark Newfangled

        You should remove your head from the sand.

      • JohnDoey

        Even if it were true that there were no specialized software for the Mac outside of “media,” EVERYTHING is media in some way these days. Not only do users have iPhones that capture photos and videos of events and meetings, but they have websites and social media and Intranets where they need to share those things, and they have far-flung team members that they need to get at with FaceTime or Skype, and they are expected to have photos and even video in their presentations and other documents because you can’t capture the attention of today’s users with 8 lines of yellow text on a blue background. We’re used to viewing and capturing hundreds of photographs and HD videos every month.

        But there software for every task on the Mac, and not only that, it is much better and much faster, and it can be automated easily with AppleScript and Automator to save so much time. I have been hired many times to consult in all-Windows offices, but I carry a Mac with me and use that instead because I don’t know how to use Windows. At the end of the first week or first month, my boss always comes to me and asks me how the hell is it that I’m doing literally 10x the work of the other people on my team? I tell them I’m using better software but they almost never believe me and give me all the credit and the 3 month contract I signed on for turns into 6 months, turns into a year, even as they are letting other people on the team go. That is how the Mac I carry with me pays for itself multiple times over, both for me and for the business I’m working at.

      • Brewer

        LOL, it’s not the 90′s anymore, and it wasn’t even true back then. Mac options abound for most anything, and they are 99% of the time, far better choices than saddling yourself with another windows ‘solution’.

      • djbressler

        Many large companies created web services with activex, so require Citrix or a windows vm. And it’s not just custom development, but software from large vendors, like sap, aren’t always implemented in a platform/browser neutral way.

      • drx1

        What is worse than having to run ‘software’ in a browser?
        Answer: Have no other browser option than IE.

        Active ax sucks in every way possible, except companies can build really cheap and crappy carp ware!

        Beyond MS Office, there is little reason to run Windows for any business. This is one big reason MS is trying to reinvent itself… and also why here is no MS office for Android or iOS.

    • sribe

      Well, in the environment I support (large hospital), about 10% of the Macs run virtualized Windows. You seem to be forgetting something really important: Citrix ;-)

      • JohnDoey

        10% is a pretty small number. Don’t you have more iPads and iPhones than that? I would hope so in a hospital given that iPads and iPhones are actually practical in a clinical setting.

      • sribe

        I think you completely mis-read my comment…

    • Brewer

      Geez, even all those ‘windows’ apps CAME FROM MAC in the beginning. Your current Windows version of Word and Excel dawned as Mac Word and Mac Excel. Same is true of MANY other programs. Used to be a lot of mainframe code could not run on DOS, but ran fine on Mac. SPSS, for example. The PC version was pathetic. Now they are both running in Java, so either platform will do.

      There is no need for windows, hasn’t been since the first credible rip-off came out in 1995.

      • marcoselmalo

        Windows ran on commodity parts from a variety of suppliers. Cost wasn’t the most important factor here. Not being tied to a single supplier was. Kind of funny when you think about it: you standardize on Windows so you can access a variety of vendors.

      • Brewer

        Yes, exactly. The ‘single supplier’ mantra that all the ‘business’ types thought they were so keenly avoiding was Microsoft. And a PC is a PC is a PC, there is really very little difference if you look at the specs at all. I guess this is why specs get so much attention in the PC arena, even if they sometimes don’t even factor into actual use.

      • marcoselmalo

        I know of one business that was hosed by relying exclusively on Apple. Avid made turnkey nonlinear editing systems (this is before Final Cut Pro) based on the Mac. They would buy Macs, add their proprietary hardware and software, and sell them to editors and post production companies. When Apple cut the number of slots in its top end computers, Avid had to completely rewrite their software and redesign their hardware for Windows PCs.

      • Kizedek

        Yeah, that was a shame. My experience came slightly later. Apple developed Firewire with Sony and reduced by an order of magnitude the cost of participating in the new field of non-linear editing set by the likes of Avid. 10K instead of 100K per seat, 5K instead of 50K.

        In about 2000 (maybe 2001), with the first of the G4 PowerMacs, I remember someone trying to sell my non-profit a set up with a couple of cards and some well-known software (possibly Avid) for several grand, and some fancy SCSI array for another coupla grand at least.

        It was understandable, because you had to have at least these elements to get any consistency and reliability on the PC side. However, I just managed to do my research into the new findings at the time before pulling the trigger.

        Instead, I said no thanks; I’ll just take the top-of-the-line G4 tower with its Firewire ports by itself, a copy of FCP; and I’ll spend the 5K on a better camera instead.

    • Paul Franceus

      ANY Mac that is used for serious business also runs Windows? Who are you kidding? Sure, there is a place for Windows. But I use my Mac for “serious” business every day and I NEVER use Windows. Admittedly this is anecdotal information, but I don’t see lots of Macs with Windows around here, and we have lots of Macs.

    • John kramarz

      Your opinion is right out of 1992.

      • charly

        In 1992 OS X (aka Nextstep)was the only way to brows the web

      • marcoselmalo

        Are you one of the perspicacious few that recognized that NeXT stealthily acquired Apple for negative $400 million? How slick was that, anyway?

    • JHalsey

      Developers of business software still favor Windows. I think they’re missing out on by not developing for OSX. I often wonder what cost it adds to a softwares creation/support to offer both platforms?

      • charly

        A lot of software is old and crufty that can’t be easily ported. Most of the stuff started in the last 10 if not 15 years is purely web based based on the desktop side.

      • Brewer

        LOL, sometimes old and crufty could be seen as an actual reason to improve something, rather than pathetic whining about how ‘difficult’ it would be.

      • charly

        It is not difficult that is the problem. It is cost

      • Larene Depopiet

        Developers of business software who are not stuck in the 90s do not favor Windows, they develop for web servers and browsers and they do not favor IIS or IE either. The world has moved on from Windows and desktop software.
        The only area where desktop makes sense is for very high bandwidth applications – e.g. video editing – and OS/X is the reference platform for most of that.

      • Uther_Pendragon

        Though what you are saying is true, a Win32 MDI interface beats the pants of of a web interface for business applications, even after 20 years of “HTML/CSS/JS improvements.”

        Zero deployment and buzz is what converted a lot of business apps to intranet apps, now they’re stuck with it, and many of them standardize to a single browser: IE.

        Also, there are a ton of Microsoft shops around. In my city, they are a large majority.

      • JohnDoey

        And the iOS app interface beats the pants off the Win32 interface. And mobility beats the pants off being stuck at a desk. And users enthusiastically teaching themselves to use the iOS user interface beats the pants off users having to take a week off work to be trained in how to use Windows 7 or Windows 8 and then complaining for months afterwards about them not being Windows XP.

      • charly

        Running more than one program at a time and using a keyboard is idiotic.

        ps. I hope i don’t have to tell you that i’m being sarcastic.

      • Kizedek

        The reason that more than one program and window at a time are often necessary, is when your workflow is so antiquated and crufty that you need to come back to your desk, sit down, import the data you collected in the field onto some spreadsheet, then copy and paste that into some other database or program, then check it with a third, all the while having some documentation open to constantly refer to.

        Replace all that with a purpose-built, intuitive, touch data collection app that is already talking to your database in the background as you input.

        Come on, get with the times and the program.

        Sometimes, the presence of a keyboard and the need for multiple apps and windows simply indicates an inefficient and frustrating workflow. Face it. And those sometimes are increasing in frequency all over the place, darn it.

      • Walt French

        @Larene Depopiet wrote, “The world has moved on from Windows and desktop software.”

        I work in a mutual fund company that relies on a half dozen third-party products that don’t run on Macs. I myself spec a half-million dollars of services and software; two of the apps are available on linux.

        Three of my four screens are generally dedicated to these portfolio-management, market-monitoring, research and accounting apps. (Outlook gets the 4th.) Even though one of these apps is written in java, and could technically run on a Mac, quirks due to java version changes are such that trying to talk the vendor into supporting a Mac would be an utter waste of time. (And it has to tie in to our data, trading and accounting functions, themselves Windows-exclusive, so the effort would be a horrendous waste of time.

        Anyway, the meme that Macs can do anything Windows can do is ALSO so 20th century. As Jobs said in 1997, “get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.” Microsoft will continue to own the now, rapidly-shrinking Enterprise market because it has finely honed Windows to run those 20th century functions. And as Horace says, Apple has wisely chosen to compete with something utterly asymmetric to Windows’s modus operandi.

      • marcoselmalo

        Very good point. Legacy software. Why should a company switch to a new platform when the legacy system is doing the job. New jobs are the asymmetric opportunity. New approaches when the old tools are suboptimal are asymmetric opportunities.

      • JohnDoey

        I was consulting at a large corporation recently and their own in-house apps were spread out like this:

        • the ones from about 10 years ago were essentially Windows apps, built in part with HTML and with the promise of being Web apps, but tied so deeply to IE6 and Windows XP that they were struggling to get them running on Windows 7

        • the ones from about 5 years ago or so were actual Web apps, but due to the personnel changes in their Web app development teams and the changes in Web development tools and Web browser technology, they were struggling to get them anything close to reasonably bug-free

        • the newest ones were iOS apps that they initially didn’t even want to make, but they decided to hire just one iOS developer and task him with building a very lightweight app for a single small purpose as a trial project — given that they were deploying so many iPhones and later iPads — and the users ended up requiring only 10% of the training time as compared to a Web app, and then as they used the app daily, they only required 10% of the time to accomplish their task as compared to a Web app, which made the app immediately pay for itself within one quarter, and so the company built another iOS app and another and another, and they increased their iPad and iPhone deployment schedule also

        … and this was a very large, very conservative company with its own Windows-based I-T department that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into iPhone and iPad deployments.

      • mjw149

        To be fair, any software you rewrite today on a modern platform should be much, MUCH better. But it’s a nice story, and illustrates that the web is really only coming into its own in the HTML5, multi-browser world.

    • Mnbob1

      While it’s true that the Mac hardware is capable of running Windows I don’t know of very many Mac users who find a need to use that feature. Your comments lead me to believe that you know nothing about the Mac or the software available for OSX. Many applications that are commonly used on Windows were actually written first for OSX.
      You should define serious business. Do you mean MS-Office? Accounting software? HR software? Database? Application development? If it’s a corporate environment Citrix is a better solution than running Windows locally if a Mac solution isn’t available.
      I’m trying to figure out why anyone would think that while you’re using a simple, well designed, elegant, efficient operation system you would want to use another operating system on top of it that is inefficient and is still using parts of it that go back to the MS-DOS days. It’s market share dominance is mostly due to the cunning and strong arm tactics of Mr. Gates who would sell his own mother if it meant more users of Windows. Windows has never been a superior product. Bill Gates gave thousands of early copies away to corporations to lock them in and they have been in an endless upgrade cycle ever since. He kept important APIs hidden from key software developers so that’s why Wordperfect and Lotus 123 never transitioned to Windows successfully. Ever hear of antitrust litigation? He even screwed his original client IBM. MS partnered with them on OS/2 while secretly developing Windows. When it was time to release the OS/2 graphics interface MS dropped out taking most of the development team and leaving IBM high and dry. Eventually OS/2 was scrapped. It’s too bad because it would have been superior to Windows and was based on UNIX.
      Apples survival through all of this is a testament to their superior hardware and software, loyal user base, and Steve Jobs. He was just crazy enough to keep innovating and not fall for Bill Gate’s traps. Steve saw all the other independent computer vendors disappear as MS-DOS became a standard. Steve tackled the education market, an area that was untapped. The Mac was a true breakthrough in personal computing. Windows came out after it. It was slow and difficult to use but ran on top of MS-DOS. It had predestined market share.

    • CD-Host

      I’ve been an OSX user since 10.1. I very rarely need Windows and while I have a license for Parallels I haven’t had Windows installed on any of my macs in 6 years. It almost never comes up.

      Macs are rather useful for business.

      • JohnDoey

        I have a friend who had 2 Windows PC’s that she used to run her photography business. She had 2 because one was always down with a virus. The I-T consultant fees alone were pushing her business into the red, so she replaced one of her PC’s with a Mac mini, given that she could still run Windows on it later if she wasn’t productive in Mac OS X. But what happened was that she was so much more productive in Mac OS X that she was able to take on additional clients, and the Mac mini was reliable enough that she stopped having to have her I-T consultant in more than once or twice a year, and even then it was just briefly to install updates and make sure her disks were healthy and backups working right. So she will tell you that the Mac is not only good for business, but it saved her business.

        For some reason, some people still try to define “business computing” as running MS-Office. That is “office computing” and it is only a small subset of what people do for business. And the Mac has MS-Office and Pages/Keynote/Numbers and other options for when you do need to do basic office computing. And even if you are someone whose job would have involved 100% MS-Office in 1995, today you are likely spending a lot of time in a browser, using Salesforce, using custom apps built by your company, even using Facebook and Twitter. The idea that MS-Office or Windows are the center of business computing is antique in the extreme.

      • mjw149

        This highlights two great truths:
        1. Macs are better for people who aren’t IT pros or true geeks – that’s why I recommend them to family (that or Chromium, even simpler). Windows PCs have the hidden costs of maintenance, like a foreign car.
        2. Macs are good for photography, so I’m not surprised she was happier.

      • Kizedek

        You could say that a Mac is essential for a photographer. I thnk MS has yet to do color spaces and screen calibration correctly.

    • Uther_Pendragon

      I’m a Mac convert from around 2008 when I started developing for iOS (iPhoneOS at the time). I run Windows in a VM when I need to write C#, which I do for work. Everything else I do, I do on a Mac.

      That’s the beauty of it. I can do both legally on the same machine. There are annoyances like the swap of the Alt and Windows key (I’m a keyboard layout snob) but they can be worked around with key mappings and such.

      I get your point though, just because people are buying Macs doesn’t mean they are abandoning Windows altogether. I’m an example. I prefer OSX and the hardware, but I still code in Windows extensively.

      It’s an interesting trend though. I don’t see businesses moving away from Windows in droves, but Apple is at least in the same room now.

      • JohnDoey

        Businesses are not specifically moving away from Windows in droves — what they are doing is moving towards mobility in droves. But in practical terms, that means users are spending less and less time on their Windows PC (which is typically a desktop or giant notebook that anchors them to a desk) and more and more time on an iPad or iPhone, which are the only PC class mobile computers as yet. (The only mobile systems with native C/C++ apps, the only mobile systems with apps in every category, the only mobile systems with a full selection of full-size apps.)

        Also, there is a huge class of business computing users that don’t work at desks: nurses, car salespeople, construction workers, truckers and taxis, and many more. In the past, these workers spent most of their work time without any computer at all, writing things on clipboards, then sporadically or at the end of the day they go into a shared office that is essentially separate from their workplace and do data entry. These workers are now getting iPads and iPhones and having access to computing all day as they work so that they are both more productive, generate more accurate data, and spend 100% of their time actually working rather than doing data entry. And that is a huge growth market because in the past these workers were sharing a small handful of PC’s between them, but now they are getting an iPad and/or iPhone each, and because those iPads and iPhones pay for themselves very, very quickly and require almost no training.

        So we have a situation where you don’t have to be dissatisfied with your Windows PC’s to find yourself moving away from them because you are simply moving away from the desks that all Windows-based systems are designed for (even the giant power-hungry notebooks, even the ARM-based tablets which have a mouse-based productivity workflow, even the Surface which has a desktop kickstand!) And as you move away from the desk you are typically embracing the only PC class systems that are designed to be used away from desks: iPad and iPhone. And so Windows sales are falling off and iPad/iPhone sales are still soaring. And Steve Ballmer is getting fired because Microsoft still has no answer to iPad and iPhone.

      • charly

        Problem for the builder/nurse/taxi-driver market is that Android hardware is much cheaper and has multiple suppliers. Dreaming that this market will stay with Apple is foolish.

      • Kizedek

        Unless the the taxi-driver using Android is directly competing with one who is using a far more reliable and innovative iOS app that actually noticeably impacts the business of the iOS user and makes him more competitive…

        Then, not spending a couple hundred dollars more as an investment in your own business is the foolish thing.

        That’s what it comes down to. Go poll freelancers and self-employed people in various fields and capacities and find out what they use, and how and why. Really, when you are building your business, you don’t want to cut corners.

        People are buying the iPhone because it works for them (as in, bread-and-butter works for them), not because it makes them look cool (on the contrary, I think this whole anti-apple thing is a foolish attempt to be cool in a geeky sort of way).

    • BoydWaters

      I’ve been a computer programmer and network administrator for 25 years. I took 5 years, from 1995 to 2000, to write a book about Windows system administration and some dot-com startup stuff. The first startup was based on NeXT workstations, but let me use my Windows NT box. The second startup mostly used Linux. The third was a Mac shop. I left the dot-com stuff to get back into scientific computing, which is dominated by Mac and Linux these days.

    • JohnDoey

      No. The primary reason that people spend more to buy a Mac is to run a specific Mac app that doesn’t exist on Windows — e.g. Final Cut, Logic, iMovie, GarageBand, Xcode, iBooks Author — not to run a browser, which does exist on Windows. MS-Office and Adobe Creative Suite also sell lots of systems, but they exist on both platforms. Office sells more PC’s, but Creative Suite sells more Macs.

      If you were right and all people were running on their Macs was a browser, then the launch of the iPad would have shut down all Mac sales, because it offered the Mac Web browser for half the price, half the weight, and double the battery life. Instead, what happened after iPad shipped is Mac sales increased as developers bought Macs to run Xcode and make iPad apps, and publishers bought Macs to run iBooks Author to make books for iPad.

      Windows running on a Mac (“Boot Camp”) was just a palliative for Windows users who were nervous about switching to the Mac from Windows systems. The Windows user was made to feel comfortable with the switch by being assured that if they could not get comfortable/productive in Mac OS X, they could re-deploy the Mac hardware as a high-end Windows system. But most switchers stayed in Mac OS X rather than returning to Windows, so Boot Camp is not that popular with switchers.

      Running Windows on a Mac is also not that popular with long-time Mac users who find themselves for some reason requiring a Windows app. The reason is that the cost of the Windows software, which you have to install yourself, is about the same as the cost of an entire Windows PC, which comes with Windows pre-installed. Further, installing Windows on a Mac adds a virus vector to your virus-free Mac. So Mac users who need Windows are already represented in the Windows PC platform numbers as just another Windows PC sale.

      • marcoselmalo

        You make a strong case.

        One point is that I think the original commenter meant (if I was reading him right) was that single use systems were the exception to his proposed theory, i.e. a dedicated Mac OS video editing workstation would not run windows.

        This in no way weakens your argument, but I felt it should be pointed out.

        Anecdotally, I can tell you that, pre OS X, it was professional suicide to use a professional editing station with anything other than the most stripped down extension set. (Remember extensions? Or have you buried the trauma deep in your psyche?) So, generally no games. I think I had Avid, FCP (when it came out), Commotion, the Adobe suite, and a few utilities.

        With the coming of OS X, this changed in theory, although on my part I kept things separate, with one machine dedicated to video and a PowerBook for everything else.

        I don’t do that sort of work anymore, so an iPad suffices for both work and play.

      • charly

        If the apps were the reason why people bought Mac than the piracy rate for running Mac OSX on windows PC would be much higher.

        User friendliness maybe, status definitely, religion also, Viruses too, but apps is not a reason for the mass market to buy Macs.

        Most people use their computers to browse. Add an mp3 player, video player, pdf viewer, office software and mail program and you are done except for games. Which is better done on Windows

      • Kizedek

        At first glance, your reasoning makes a kind of sense…

        But it’s more like this: people don’t wake up thinking, “I’m gonna go get me a Mac for them Apps.”

        Rather, they start to see those apps. They were conditioned to think that “programs” cost hundreds of dollars and required a college degree to use.

        But, and it’s a big but, they start to see 9-yr olds and 90-yr olds having a load of fun (not playing games, but producing stuff).

        They walk by an Apple Store, shaking their heads, but their little kid runs in and starts editing a movie.

        Come to find out, they don’t need to pay 300 bucks for something like Adobe Premiere or PhotoShop, or a college degree in “non-linear editing” : it costs just 30 bucks or so for something that their kid already knows how to use with enough ability to produce something that impresses the heck out of most people that have been conditioned by MS and its co-dependents.

        “You mean, I could do that?” “Just like that?” Mmmm-hmmm.

        The epiphanies about how they they wasted 20 years of their lives comes later. ;)

      • stefnagel

        Lots of verbiage and not one iota of research.

  • William Wynn

    Mac book pro rules !!!

  • iObserver

    Horace, does PC total include mac sales?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      No.

  • Will

    From 500 companies making a long lasting, big money, strategy decision, you make it sounds like a trivial minority of “500 individuals” decision.

    I might believe in this Microsoft conspiracy theory if someone wrote seriously about it.

    Garbage.

    • Alistair Fairweather

      Spoken like a true Microsoft lackey.

      • Will

        Person A – I don’t believe in this conspiracy until someone can prove it.
        Person B – Sounds like your one of them.

        Logic!

      • marcoselmalo

        That’s exactly what a conspiracist would say!

        Just kidding, no conspiracy theory needed for the analysis.

        Windows was “hired” by the 500 influencers because it was best at performing the jobs that those influencers needed done. The Fortune 500 requirements that Windows met have been covered endlessly for 20 years, so I won’t go into them.

        Anyone suggesting that Microsoft went around and secretly bribed 500 CIOs and kept it a secret is a looney.

      • Will

        Couldn’t agree more :)

    • JohnDoey

      Lots of people have been seriously writing about this phenomenon for 10 years now.

      Google “consumerization of information technology” (3,640,000 results) — here is the link:

      https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=cr&ei=cQbVUqyKOovlyAHli4GQCw#q=consumerization+of+information+technology

      • Will

        Yeah, what does that have to do with what I said?

      • Mark Jones

        Who has said it was a “conspiracy” other than you?

        Just because most people who have the same type of job and face the same type of choices wind up making the same choice does not make it a conspiracy.

      • Will

        Sorry, I must have misread. I thought 500 individuals decided that the industry will only use Windows in secret, and that’s how Windows got its monopoly.

        I guess that wasn’t what was implied.

      • mjw149

        A long time ago in a country not very far away probably, the computer industry was born. It was born of massive, extremely expensive machines. When the ‘personal computer’ was born from them, it was still not very affordable by our standards. Thousand of dollars instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were machines used primarily for business and academics not for ‘personal use’ as we consider it today.

        So the Fortune 500 were the primary customers of such machines, and when landed on the same platform, it gave tremendous advantages (economies of scale, hype, friends) to that platform.

        That’s the story, not a conspiracy, this isn’t Fox News.

  • http://franciscovelazquez.com/ Francisco Velazquez

    The title is amazing, it made me laugh. Apple reached parity with Windows. hahahaha. You are funny.

  • jsk2

    Windows v1.0 wasn’t released until late November 1985 and it wasn’t very well received (v3.x, beginning May, 1990, being the first usable version for most). Where exactly, did the “Windows PCs” shown at the beginning of your graphs come from?

    Or are you lumping all the various “DOS” flavors together, even though they’re not really the same thing (with their own rise and fall, and were effectively two different markets for many years). If you’re going to do that, you should really start earlier and include Apple’s “Apple II” (also a “DOS” machine, just not MS-DOS), which was the market leader for many years before the “IBM PC” came out.

    • JohnDoey

      I think Horace is using “Windows” as a shorthand for “Windows/DOS PC” in the same way that when he says “Mac” he means “Mac OS X/Classic PC.”

      You can’t separate MS-DOS and Windows because Windows is simply a component of MS-DOS — the “win” command. And Windows/DOS always ran on the same hardware platform. You could never run Windows without PC/MS-DOS and even if you buy a Windows PC today, MS-DOS is still there. The modern Windows PC even includes many bugs from early MS-DOS and even includes the PC BIOS and its bugs. On the other hand, the Mac never required Apple DOS from Apple II, and there is no Apple DOS in today’s Mac or any Mac. And the Mac never ran on the same hardware as Apple DOS.

      Around 1995, Microsoft ported Windows/DOS over to the so-called NT core as a response to NeXT (notice the similarity in the marketing names, which is not coincidental, and neither is the fact that the NT/95 GUI looks exactly like the NeXT GUI) and then as a response to NT, Apple bought NeXT and ported Mac OS Classic over to the NeXT core. So if you’re going to argue that Windows/DOS stops being DOS once it runs on NT, you’d have to argue that Macs stopped being Macs once they ran on NeXT.

      • charly

        95 gui looks like NeXT? Only in as far as every gui looks the same.

  • Steffen Thieringer

    Replace Apple with Samsung in this “analysis” – really not getting the point here.

    • Tim F.

      Replace Apple with Samsung and you have a lot of incongruities that do not fit (having enough strength in Mac to persevere, the rise of the iPod, etc.)

      However, even if the parallel fit, I don’t see any lack of point. Yes, whether or not it’s Apple, this post would be about the erosion of Microsoft, a company in a dominant, seemingly insurmountable, role being eroded by a consumer- and premium-focused business that clung to its niche during the worst of times, to exploiting the changes in technology and consumption to become a juggernaut, that is also still considered embattled and precarious.

      • Steffen Thieringer

        Thanks. I am getting it now. Comments are quite insightful here.

    • JohnDoey

      Samsung is included in this analysis. They make the hardware for a small percentage of the Windows machines.

      • jameskatt

        And Samsung’s refrigerators should count as computing devices too :-D

    • robogobo

      The reason the analysis is reduced to Apple is that Apple is the forerunner in the disruption of Microsoft’s dominant position, both because of the classic PC platform battle and due to the fact that, despite the distraction of mobile device market share, Apple still leads the pack in the direction of significant development. Samsung is only successful riding Apple’s coattails. This analysis is metaphorically acceptable with Apple as the sole antagonist. Sure, you could throw Samsung in there, but then you need to throw in LG, HTC, Nokia, etc etc. And with them there’s no story in the PC platform wars (or the early mobile market) because they were partners with MS back then.

  • obarthelemy

    Well, MS also make xboxes, so if you really want to compare apples with oranges, those should be thrown in the blender too.

    • JohnDoey

      Then you would also have to include Apple TV, which outsells Xbox. Game consoles are a tiny market.

      • Avatar Roku

        Apple TV does not and has never come close to outselling Xbox.

      • Mark Newfangled

        Xbox360, 80 million total over 7 years. AppleTV 13 million halfway through last year. If sales don’t stagnate, it is selling as fast and will be on par in 5 more years.

      • http://www.wpcentral.com/ Daniel Rubino

        These figures mean nothing in regards to the false statement “Apple TV, which outsells Xbox”. You can’t project 5 years in the future with current “trends” and expect to be taken seriously. We’re talking technology, not rock formations.

      • Will

        “We’re talking technology, not rock formations” Love it! :)

    • Mark Newfangled

      People don’t walk into stores and ask themselves if they need a computer or Xbox.

      They do walk in and ask if they need a computer or a tablet though. Pretty simple difference, and also key.

      • mjw149

        And I think that’s the most relevant point. We have data that tablet/phone sales/usage is replacing PC usage/sales. MS agrees with this, and calls tablets PCs, after all.

        But consoles were sold alongside PCs since the beginning, and no matter how popular the ps2 was (the most successful console iirc) Windows PCs sales didn’t slump. They hit new highs, actually.

        Windows DOES make ARM-based mobile devices, and that’s what should be included (and they sell very few of them, so the chart doesn’t really change).

        You know, I think this was bound to strike people (MS partisans) the wrong way but it IS a new way to look at the data, and that IS the point of the site.

        And it’s informative to MS. Making tablets work for the enterprise won’t change the consumer decisions. Office probably won’t change their decisions. While I think they understand it, I don’t think they’ve internalized it. A better ‘legacy’ desktop in Windows 9 won’t improve consumer sales, but it might retain them. Better versions of the now freemium Office won’t convert people, but it IS a valuable revenue source. Selling two versions might be necessary in this view, as well (mobile and PC, or call them consumer and prosumer/business).

        And I think looking at this history lesson is important because there’s an elephant in the room: licensing the OS as a minor player didn’t work for Apple and probably won’t work for MS (in mobile). Now that the Lumia team is merged, why would they license?

      • charly

        Cathode ray TV’s can’t be used as pc monitors. LCD can even if they are a bit small

      • cnccnc

        > They do walk in and ask if they need a computer or a tablet though.

        Then the author shouldn’t have counted phones. But then that was intentional, because the whole thing is clickbait and catnip for Apple partisans.

      • elder Signin

        Now that Apple is selling vol

      • Kizedek

        Except that people in the corporate workplace are spending more time and money on the iPhone, for their work, than on Windows/RT/Windows Phone products: money and time which was previously spent on WIndows-based products of some sort (PDAs, Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, Office licenses, etc.).

        People are finding themselves unchained from the desk, and they are rather liking it. They are doing new tasks in new ways. Of course you wouldn’t want to look at what’s happening if your entire paradigm for “work” is sitting at a desk running Office.

        MS doesn’t have a horse in the race (Mobile), that’s why there is nothing to put up against the iPhone and iPad (oh, OK, maybe they have a donkey and a Shetland pony in the race).

      • cnccnc

        You’re suggesting people spend more time *working* on their iPhone than the PC they sit in front of every day? Um, OK.

    • jameskatt

      Sure. You can also include all the Casio watches sold each year.

  • hatchwork

    Windows-based Enterprise Software Vendors Beware

    • fl1nty

      are you referring to server side software or client side software? Because those 2 are totally separate beasts

      • hatchwork

        I’m actually referring to both. One concern is around the developer community. If you don’t use Windows in your personal life, what path will developers take to learn to build on the platform? Will the gap be too wide?

        With a shrinking labor pool, maintaining solutions on a given platform will become more costly, I posit.

      • fl1nty

        Yeah but if your paid job is to build server side code then microsoft will keep chugging on. For the most part microsoft is a server side/business first company. The end user business was more of a pleasant side effect of the server side dominance. Anyways over the last 10 odd years very few headlining applications have been built for the windows desktop platform for end users it has mostly been web and now mobile. But .net and c# developer numbers haven’t gone down which indicates the health of the developer ecosystem is quite strong server side

      • charly

        Web-based applications cost so much less to roll out to consumers that there has to be a very good reason to make it native. That is why there was a death of new windows applications in the last decade

      • fl1nty

        Yup agreed. There has been a massive push in the other direction with mobile and tablet apps though and the internet becoming more of a faceless backend for syncing between devices via http. The cycle repeats – same old slow development cycles for building and releasing to the end user with an added intermediary like apple and google with their app stores. Release cycles get stretched to multiple days rather than a few mins in case of the web :( . Glorious days of independence on the web are slowing down and its back to the old days of relying on the overlords – microsoft replaced by apple and google now

  • Avatar Roku

    Why not count Windows Phones and Xbox if you’re going to throw iPods and Macs into the same basket together?

    They’re selling over 10 million Windows Phones a quarter now, so why not count them too?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      The answer is that this is not a comparison between two companies. It’s a comparison between Windows and several other products. The purpose of the comparison is to understand the basis for decision making which led to the advantage enjoyed by Windows and a discussion on whether the basis of decision making has shifted and whether it can shift yet again. Framing Xbox and Windows Phones into the same discussion reduces our ability to understand the causes for the success of Windows.

      • https://plus.google.com/112879998616209951634/posts David Barnes

        Horace, I’m a bit confused by your analysis too. Your contention seems to be that when individuals have the choice, they choose Apple over Windows, and therefore Windows could only prosper because of top down buying decisions.

        However we are now in a situation where Android devices outsell iOS devices considerably. As far as I know, Android customers are mainly individuals making a buying decision for themselves, just as Apple customers are.

        The Android ecosystem has a lot in common with Windows in the 90s: hardware and software are decoupled, the price tends to be lower, and the user experience is not as good. This suggests that the path to maximum market share is the same as ever: an adequate user experience that can run on commodity hardware. And so is the path of maximum profitability: a great user experience that runs only on purpose built hardware.

        I agree of course that individuals choosing their own devices is a massive shift — I’m just not so sure that it leads to the conclusions you’re drawing.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        The only conclusion I’m drawing is that decisions are not in Microsoft’s favor. I don’t include Android in the discussion because it’s a messy story. Some buyers are buying what they want, some are buying what is available and some what they can get. It’s not a simple dichotomy as is Apple’s products vs. Windows.

      • https://plus.google.com/112879998616209951634/posts David Barnes

        Sorry for being unclear, I don’t mean to troll.

        I agree with you there isn’t much hope for Microsoft. They are losing control over the PC market they used to dominate, and that market itself is becoming less important now that so much computing activity takes place on mobile devices. MS shows no signs of being anything more than an also-ran in these growing markets.

        I don’t agree that their success in the 80s and 90s was driven so much by top down buying decisions, which you are saying (I think?) in the 3 paragraphs following “But will it last?”. These paragraphs almost suggest that Windows’ dominance was a mistake due to strange buying dynamics. I’d contend that Windows was simply a better solution for most people: a bit worse to use but much cheaper, with much more choice of what hardware to run it on.

        Android is relevant here because it compares to iOS like Windows did to the Mac: it’s worse, it’s cheaper, and you can run it on just about any hardware — from very cheap, to very expensive. And in terms of market share it is winning, even in the modern world where a few hundred IT buyers can’t foist their choices on millions of powerless employees.

        Android doesn’t yet benefit much from network effects. When it starts to, Microsoft will have less hope than ever and Apple will be right to be cautious.

      • mjw149

        The ‘missing link’ in his writeup is the ECONOMIES OF SCALE.

        Once the Fortune 500 made their choices, the IBM PC-compatibles could achieve economies of scale and become the (relatively) cheaper platform. Then the Intel chips. Then Windows in 1995 became a de facto software platform on the de facto (cheapest, most populous) hardware platform.

        Eventually those economies of scale achieved $1k PCs, which coincided with the rise of the internet, and the consumer PC market exploded (along with Windows XP malware, conficker, oy).

        It wasn’t a real choice in ‘hardware’ per se, it was a real choice in hardware vendors, i.e. OEMs. And the platform with the most apps (Windows) together formed the product crystal of good enough-cheap enough-reliable enough.

        So, restated, Dediu’s point is that previously the CIOs (or whatever they were called at the time) determined the winners and losers to a certain degree, and swung the cost calculus for the entire industry, based on manufacturing economies of scale (at the time the businesses were the biggest customers of IT).

        There was nothing greatly superior with x86 arch at the time, it was just AMD/Intel’s iterations and scale (more OEM customers) that beat IBM’s (and Apple’s at the time) PowerPC to a bloody pulp, and now they’re down to one customer, more or less. Apple’s sales took off coincidentally when they moved to the dominant x86 hardware platform (and sort of gave consumers a choice to install Windows and benefited from Intel’s mobile chipset).

        And as a result, much of Apple’s hardware is cost-competitive today, though they still have the reputation of an ‘Apple Tax’ among certain detractors from their PowerPC days.

        Amusingly, Microsoft’s xbox 360 was powerpc based and it looks like it will end up as Microsoft’s most popular console.

      • https://plus.google.com/112879998616209951634/posts David Barnes

        That is a good point and I can see what Horace is saying now. Your analysis still ignores the impact the “clonability” of the IBM-compatible PC had in pushing down price. Internal competition within the Windows ecosystem meant lots of barely profitable OEMs competing for customers, and all contributing to Window’s market dominance. (Another way history is repeating itself, as handset manufacturers compete to see who can make the biggest loss putting Google’s operating system into our pockets.)

        I can see that the initial boost from CIOs would have helped kickstart Windows but I’m dubious that their decision was as decisive, or as unwise, as Horace claims.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Where did I say it was unwise?

      • https://plus.google.com/112879998616209951634/posts David Barnes

        Horace, you implied it here:

        “The fundamental shift is therefore in the quantity of decision makers and the quality of those decisions. Those who buy are also those who use and their decisions will be perhaps whimsical, maybe impulsive and not calculated, but fundamentally, in the aggregate, wise.”

        You contrast the quality of decision making when choosing Apple products today with the quality of decision making when choosing Windows in the past. You say that today’s Apple-picking decision makers are, in the aggregate, wise.

        Doesn’t this imply that decisions to adopt Windows in the past were contrastingly unwise (in the aggregate?)

        In any case, I agree that the data is fascinating and that it says a lot more about Microsoft than it does about Apple. It tells a story of a couple of major failures for Microsoft:

        1. Windows was a 90s success story that is now more than a decade past its sell-by date. My experience as a user: since XP Microsoft has done little more than fiddle with Windows. There’s been no radical step forward, not even Windows 8.

        2. Microsoft’s vision of a computer in every office and every home massively underestimated the impact of personal computing. They are paying the price for that limited vision now.

        In the early 90s Microsoft put DOS on lifesupport while they built their vision for Windows. Now they need to put Windows on lifesupport, and develop a new vision for the next 15 years.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        “Doesn’t this imply that decisions to adopt Windows in the past were contrastingly unwise (in the aggregate?)”

        Absolutely not.

        There was nothing unwise about the choice of Windows. By “Quality” I used the meaning as in “qualitative”. (A characteristic or feature that someone or something has : something that can be noticed as a part of a person or thing) As in “Quantity has a quality of its own” which was used in earlier paragraph.

      • https://plus.google.com/112879998616209951634/posts David Barnes

        Oh! In that case I misunderstood what you were getting at. Sorry about that, and thank you for explaining.

      • marcoselmalo

        It wasn’t economies of scale leading to low prices that was the most important factor. It was the vast numbers of vendors of PCs and components the was important. If there were problems with one vendor, you could easily switch. If Apple was your sole vendor and there were problems, you were stuck (or had to make a costly platform switch). Cost was secondary. If you had a choice of vendors, you could try to negotiate better prices.

      • charly

        The console years are over. In 5 years if you want to play a game on the big screen you pick up your faster than a ps4 smart phone, make a wireless connection to the tv and output your smart phone game on the tv

      • Kizedek

        Oh, I thought people were doing that now.

        Maybe it is just people who skimp on their phones and get a less-smart one who need to wait five years to get there, then they’ll be able to do it, too.

      • jameskatt

        Microsoft is not going to die. The primary problem for Microsoft is that their market has become mature and their prospects for further growth has stopped. But Microsoft will always earn 16 Billion a year – enough play money to fund growth if it was creative enough.

        In reference to the Xbox: the Xbox is sold at a loss. The Xbox division has been a perpetual money loser for Microsoft. It certainly is not a personal computing device like a PC or smartphone.

      • marcoselmalo

        If you appended “in five years” to any if your declarations, I would agree with you. I’m not saying that MS will be dead in 5 years, I’m just saying that MS better adapt within 5 years. That $16 billion is not guaranteed forever.

        Here’s what to watch, to see if Microsoft can maintain stasis: the new CEO, whomever that ends up being (and how much rope the board is willing to give him).

        Windows 9.

        If MS is going to move beyond stasis, then they will need a CEO with the ability to reorient the company and the company culture..

        And then there are the little details of execution, in which I hear that the devil makes his place.

      • charly

        On the xbox they lost money but not on the xbox360 they with their gold membership

      • Kizedek

        That’s like saying (as a fanciful hypothetical which isn’t remotely true, and leaving iOS out of it entirely):
        “Apple spent tens of billions on the iPod and its ecosystem; but despite the years it has been available and the hundreds of millions of unit sales over the years, Apple has never quite made its billions back — oh, but the last model, an iPod Shuffle, is ‘making’ money, whew!”

      • WindowsPhone Central

        “The Xbox is sold at a loss”

        Umm…that’s an old trope. Microsoft started making a profit on the Xbox 360 in 2008. And Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices group, overall, makes good money. They did lose money for six years – a lot of money – but that was known going into the business.

      • aggregate

        Making profit in one quarter or another doesn’t change the fact that it has only cost them money, in aggregate.

      • http://www.wpcentral.com/ Daniel Rubino

        It’s about context and yes, it is incorrect to claim “Xbox is sold at a loss” when in 2008 it started turning a profit, has become the #1 gaming console in the world and its division at Microsoft actually does very well, financially.

        While it’s safe to say Microsoft lost money at first to achieve that, it *was* a smart gamble by them and it has paid off.

      • aggregate

        It hasn’t paid off, because they haven’t made back their investment. How is that a smart gamble? I don’t understand your point.

      • http://www.wpcentral.com/ Daniel Rubino

        I’m not sure anyone has done the math to actually make that claim true.

        My point is, Microsoft entered the console wars against Sony and Nintendo, a hell of a bold move considering those two were the market leaders. Now, they’re the #1 gaming console in the world and have morphed it into a solid media station in over 80 million homes.

        That’s not an easy task, and they reap a lot of money from each game sold, larger media deals and Xbox Gold accounts. It’s hardly trivial and from a business standpoint (long term) it was the right decision.

        If, in 2014, they were in distant third, I’d say the Xbox venture was not smart. But the Xbox 360 and especially the One, serve as launching pad for their other services.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        I consider the Xbox to be Microsoft’s greatest strategic mistake. It might have cost them the company. It was the first product they launched (of many since) which was not disruptive.

      • http://www.wpcentral.com/ Daniel Rubino

        I think you’re definitely in the minority in that position. We’re all entitled to our opinion, but I can’t honestly take that position seriously.

        Regarding ‘disruptive’, at the time, perhaps not, but how it has successfully evolved into a media machine for TV, movies, music, Skype, ESPN, Cable, etc. is a fascinating story, one that is working out for them as a services and hardware company. Xbox has become their first popular and successful consumer product (not counting Windows, which wasn’t much of a choice for many, so doesn’t count).

        If anything, people want more of the Xbox success, just without the large financial investment. They need to get in earlier, instead of later. But that critique is not original, unique or interesting. Everyone knows that.

      • lostmoney

        Their shareholders probably want less of that form of success, considering it has only lost them money.

      • charly

        Xbox was needed to keep Sony from introducing a playstation

        which could be used for work. It was not offensive but defensive.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Citation needed.

      • charly

        PS3 and their whole other operating system. But that was when the dream was already over. It is more the whole Japan Inc. 90′s dream of the next computer buzzword filled dream

      • pk_de_cville

        Remember GM?

      • stefnagel

        “Windows was simply a better solution for most people”

        Really? I was there, listening to honest folk call in to tech shows trying desperately to get help with Windows issues and data losses at home. Disk losses even. Year in and year out, for decades, for a generation!

        To which concerns the self proclaimed computer experts never suggested and ignorantly or arrogantly discounted the fact (we called it FUD back then) that there was an alternative in the Apple OS that would effectively supply software and avoid over a hundred thousand viruses, that’s 100,000 viruses (at last count), Viruses, not just some piddly malware, trojan or such. Real honest to gosh viruses. Over 100,000. And not one, that’s 1, on a Mac during this time.

        I owned Macs and worked with Windows all during these decades, so I know both sides: Viruses at work; not one virus at home; the annual antivirus taxes paid at work; never at home; disk and data loss for friends; never happened at home. Windows was always a disaster for home users. It was a pig dressed up as a person … and back then the pigs ran the farm.

      • charly

        Apple didn’t loose from Windows but from DOS and while people hate viruses they hate even more not auto running cdroms and paying for software

      • stefnagel

        What they hated was losing their data and disks. And paying annually for antivirus software.

      • charly

        Paying for anti virus software was cheaper than the Apple tax (or the unavailability of software)

      • Will

        Nobody bothered to write viruses for Macs because nobody had one back then. You do know that right?

        And if Windows was so terrible, how come people kept buying them? A hell of a long time to trick people.

      • pk_de_cville

        I guess you missed the point. A buyer has 2 choices:

        A PC requiring high levels of attention, intervention, money, and time to keep it running. A PC that often times is the cause of missed deadlines and very high blood pressure. ‘Everyone’ buys this.

        A PC that just works. “No one” buys this.

        Explain.

      • Will

        Because it doesn’t “just work”. Typing from a Mac.

        And no, nobody bought Macs in the 90s. They almost went bankrupt. Marketshare in single digits ever since. How else would you explain the lack of viruses?

      • malicious

        Why would the cause matter to the end user who loses time & money dealing with malicious software?

      • pk_de_cville

        I guess we disagree, Will.

      • stefnagel

        And you know that the security through obscurity argument is bogus, right? Do you think anyone cared why their Mac was so much more secure than PCs?

      • Kizedek

        You do know that the Myth of Security through Obscurity has been thoroughly debunked, right?

        There are substantial material differences between the structures of Windows and OS X, and the way that each company approaches user privileges and security. You do know that, right?

        The fact that you apparently didn’t, is the answer to your second question.

      • Will

        Actually I do. Default admin accounts is a terrible idea. But come on… you honestly think viruses were not targeted primarily at windows because 90+% of people had them?!

      • Kizedek

        If the first one didn’t work so spectacularly, I honestly think the rest wouldn’t have bothered.

      • Shawn Dehkhodaei

        I would content that you’re looking at the whole dynamic skin deep. What appears on the surface is much different than the underlying dynamics.

        Your argument is: “Windows was simply a better solution for most people: a bit worse to use but much cheaper, with much more choice of what hardware to run it on”

        The flaw in this argument is that the majority of corporate and institutional Windows purchases (even a large majority of consumer purchases) tended to favour homogenous hardware, namely HPQ and DELL, who were considered premium brands of the PC market at the time. So therefore the hardware CHOICE doesn’t make any sense, since most buyers weren’t interested in the choice.

        On the idea that it was “a bit worse …. but much cheaper”, I think you’ll find that universally 80% of the population will disagree with you on both; Windows was not cheaper to run over ANY 3-year period than the Mac or other competing platforms, and there have been numerous studies on this subject.

        And this leads to the quality of the OS and experience which by most accounts was MUCH WORSE than anything else out there, including Macs. The major switch over to Macs, and now ChromeOS is only a testament of that, despite the strides that Microsoft has made since Vista.

        I agree with Horace that indeed the majority of decisions were made by CIOs because they NEVER had to put up with the crappy experience …. all they had to do was maintain their job security and satisfy their boss that they picked the lowest pro forma invoice (HP or DELL). All the rest of shoved down the throats of the users, and they couldn’t care at all about that (and they do not to this day).

        The dynamics of Android are VERY different compared to Windows. People don’t get to build their own hardware to customize it; people are still buying a “ready-made” and packaged experience. The major shift in decision making has come from the push of the carriers, and people’s choices when it comes to renewals and their data plans. That’s a much more complicated formula than the PC of the 90′s.

      • charly

        You used HP and Dell. I have experienced enough situations were they were not satisfied with one and choose another supplier. You can’t do that with Apple.

        Companies on the whole didn’t build their own hardware, they bought ready-made and the same was true of most people.

      • Kizedek

        “I have experienced enough situations were they were not satisfied with one and choose another supplier. You can’t do that with Apple.”

        Yes, and people can keep doing that, back and forth, until they realize that a large part of their dissatisfaction has to do with MS. For some, that day comes sooner than for others.

      • charly

        What has MS to do with hardware? If the electricity cable frails than i don’t need to deal with MS.

      • Kizedek

        Ah, “hardware”, as in build-quality alone. I was thinking more along the lines of what people mean when they say they “aren’t satisfied” with various items of hardware…

        Like, what if you can’t print, all the sudden? Who do you call? Dell, the printer manufacturer, the store you where you bought the printer or computer? You begin to hear that lots of people have the odd printing problem. You try to compare notes and figure it out. Is it my Dell? Your HP? The Lexmark printer?

        …turns out the common denominator is Windows. Who’d a thunk. So the poor guy replaces his whole setup, only to have the same issue next time. Seriously, people really seem to be gluttons for punishment that way — there’s even a name for it: the Stockholm Syndrome! ;)

        But, hey, if you use Windows, but don’t have to “deal” with it on a daily basis, you are some exceptional dude! ;)

      • charly

        Android already enjoys the network effect, just not in the American market.

        Microsoft can always do an OS2 warp, like every other Mobile phone operating system exept IOS and WP are already doing. Android isn’t Google’s core business but it already has monopoly power so Google may not defend it that hard.

      • fourthletter

        Justifying click bait can be very difficult.

      • fl1nty

        Another thing to add here is microsoft’s pitch to the enterprise of having a unified device and software stack with windows servers laptops and smartphones which they have been using for a while now to increase their market share. Seeing this happen in quite a few companies – there is a company provided windows smartphone that employees end up using for tighter exchange and network integration which allows the enterprise IT to control devices better

      • charly

        We could look at the DOS era with its multiple compatible versions from different makers. It is that era that Apple lost. Not the time after Windows 3 and its follow ups. Windows 3 was used by Microsoft to kill its DOS competitors, not the defeated Apple.

      • Kizedek

        Is there a term for a defeated company that later becomes the most valuable in the world? What an amazing story. Thanks for the reminder — Apple is such an inspiration.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Regarding your last paragraph, I’m not able to understand what you think my conclusions are. If you could cite text it would help.

      • Vladimir Popovic

        Let me say first that I highly appreciate your blog posts, I find them very informative and I am always blown away by the depth of analyses and clarity of conclusions. Not this time, though.

        What @Avatar Roku is saying is true, and this is the comparison of apples and oranges. You could prove your point better with so many different comparisons but this one is methodologically wrong, that is why the most of the discussion is trolling. The conclusion on decision making in IT is revelation by itself, but it should be supported with adequate data. Comparing iPhone and Windows PC is wrong in so many ways, the most important one is that the iPhone doesn’t replace the PC, but (funny) requires one to sync the data. IPad does, but not entirely and not all of its functions so its just a fork in the PC category and the iPad user will (most) likely have a notebook or desktop (Win or Mac) as well. It would be interesting to see how many Apple users use iPad only or iPhone only or (OMG) iPod Touch only. If that number is significant then this kind of comparison would might be OK, well, with the addition of Xbox, Surface and Windows Phone numbers cause you can’t just let them out… Or if you say the comparison is about “Windows and other several other products” and not about the two companies then you should at least explain the criteria for choosing those several products and why would it be comparable. Cause you can only compare i.e. the whole platforms or the appropriate typologies of products. No noble purpose can justify the wrong methodology. But you know all this, right? That is why I loved your previous blog posts, because of the methodology consistency which is lacking here.

        In my opinion, this very very valuable story about decision making should not be mixed with Win/Mac story but with the application/developers story and fixed/mobile aspect which are more universal and thus more suitable for universal conclusions. MS jumped on the first tidal wave and pushed the others of the board, Apple saw the second big wave better and faster then the others (although others are gliding, too), and the third way is coming with the so called “convergence”, when we will all use one computational device pairable with multiple size monitors. I hope you don’t mind so much criticism.

        Best regards

      • Bananaj

        iPhone hasn’t needed a PC to sync since iCloud, over 2 years ago. Probably no-one is dumping their PC wholesale and buying an iPhone instead, but I bet most iPhone users are using their PCs (and Macs) less than they did before they had an iPhone. When it comes time to spend money, are you going to upgrade the device you use >80% of the time or the one you use <20% of the time?

      • fl1nty

        The stat to watch for here would be the number of people upgrading their computers. As more and more users rely on their phones and tablets for their computing needs the personal computer gets less and less use, as you stated, and over time it’s performance is considered more than good enough for the few things it is used to do thus eliminating upgrades altogether or increasing time between upgrades from a couple of years to 5-7 years

      • Vladimir

        This is called “false dichotomy”. Cause I also have the option to buy both things allocating more money to the more important thing. It depends on the person, and job to be done. However, if you need a PC (even for a 20% of time) then you have to buy one. Maybe one use a smartphone all the time while on the move but then do the crucial work on PC. Anyway, PC and iPhone are not directly comparable.

      • marcoselmalo

        I’ve been 99% PC free for almost two years now. On those very rare occasions I need a PC, I rent time at an Internet cafe for $0.75/hour. Computing is moving off the desktop and onto mobile devices and the cloud.

        What you are calling a false dichotomy is a false dichotomy *for you*. Owning both classes of devices is a priority for *you*, but not for everyone. At one time I had 4 computers, because that was where my priorities lay. I ran a webserver from my bedroom because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Today my priorities are different, and it want a single simple device. I don’t even have a smartphone. I lust after the iPhone 5S, but to be truthful, I’ve always hated phones, mobile or landline. So, despite the lust, an iPhone is far from my list of top priorities. (Top of the list is an iPad Air in case you were wondering. Next is a washing machine.)

      • Vladimir Popovic

        The question was directed to me and I just pointed out that it forced me to choose one of the two options offered while those are not all the options and that is universaly true for *everyone*. It is completely different story of people’s preference but you can’t just restrict some of the options. For instance, if I ask you “did you tell your parents that you are an drug addict?”, restricting the answer to “Yes” or “No”, would you answer? You wouldn’t because that is false dichotomy even if some people could answer with yes and no. If you read my post again carefully I am sure you will realise that I didn’t say that life without PC is imposible for everyone but that the choice of the device or combinations of devices “DEPENDS on the person, and JOB to be done. However, IF you need a PC (even for a 20% of time) then you have to buy one. MAYBE one use a smartphone all the time while on the move but then do the crucial work on PC. Anyway, PC and iPhone are not DIRECTLY comparable.”

        I would also like to have device that fits into pocket which can serve as desktop when needed (conecting to external monitor and keyboard/mouse and using desktop variant of applications) and as tablet when needed for reading from the bed (something like Asus PadPhone) but we are not there (yet)… We can refrain from something that we need but it doesn’t mean that we don’t need it.
        Cheers

      • Space Gorilla

        We’re likely not far away from that device in your pocket that can serve as a desktop/laptop when you need it to.

      • charly

        Ubuntu already has it.

      • stefnagel

        And if you need to take calls you buy the phone not the PC. Most of Africa does as well. Communication is the crucial work.

      • Bananaj

        An iPhone is simultaneously a cellphone and a mini iPad, so if an iPad is a computer so is an iPhone. If there is a huge overlap in use cases, then it is a false dichotomy to distinguish on form factor. My main point was that an iPhone is not as dependent on a PC as you make out, and you haven’t disagreed. I’m trying to think of tasks that cannot be accomplished on an iOS device. Off the top of my head: Software/database development, pro video editing, ripping mp3s from a CD, viewing flash content on the web, bulk renaming/conversion of files, Bittorrent downloads.

        The data supports the conclusion that traditional PCs are being disrupted as wirelessly networked minature touchscreen computers turn out to be better for many (most?) tasks than PCs. Generally, the money is going where the value is, and that means away from Windows. Each time i upgrade my phone, the experience gets unequivocally better. Using a Windows 8 laptop today is in some ways a worse experience than using an XP laptop a decade ago. What new jobs does a Windows laptop do that it didn’t do a decade ago? Which ones is it an order of magnitude better at? People will generally spend more on their primary computing device than on their secondary one. That doesn’t mean everyone will, as people have different needs. But the data supports the conclusion that phones are eating PC use cases, and the money is going where the time is being spent.

      • Kizedek

        Well said. However, you could go a step further about certain professional tasks, such as “pro video editing”…

        While many stages of pro video editing are not done on an iOS device, I do believe that some can be and are. I understand that some Directors may perform walk-throughs on an iPad in their hand, trying out various shots and ideas. I think they can make preliminary choices and some key edit decisions, using previews on the spot, etc.

        Furthermore, journalists in the field may very well produce their submissions on iOS devices, particularly when at risk.

      • Bananaj

        Indeed, and I’ve had to remove pro-audio editing from my list because it is now possible to record, mix and master an album on iPad, as Apple have implemented proper inter-app communication on the audio side in iOS7.

        All the talk of an iPad Pro with more screen real-estate would only make sense if Apple are developing pro-level applications. I’d expect to see touch versions of Logic X and Final Cut Pro X debut alongside a iPad Pro. They’d be likely to be somewhere around the level of iMovie on the Mac to begin with, with full roundtrip file format compatibility with the phone and Mac versions. There is no reason why the most suitable jobs-to-be-done within an overall pro workflow couldn’t be farmed out to touch devices, for example the iOS Logic control app.

      • charly

        Wirelessly networked minature touchscreen computers are rarely better than PC, but they are often good enough.

        Dos PC’s were almost never better than minicomputers but they were good enough.

        ps. Using Windows 8 as example is not really right. Microsoft shoehorned a touch interface into it which makes it worse for traditional PC’s

      • Bananaj

        I think whether a portable touch device is better or worse for any given task depends on the task. But smartphones are now better at enough, and good enough at enough to replace the vast majority of *consumer* jobs to be done.

        re: Windows 8, yes, they shoehorned a touch interface into it, but that is not moot because now I can’t buy a traditional PC without it (or switch it off), so any new PC I buy that doesn’t have touch is going to be a worse experience than my last one. There’s almost nothing *new* that I can do on a PC that I couldn’t do on a Windows 98 machine 15 years ago, apart from high-end gaming.

        A surprising thing for me is that traditional (non-IP based) telephony wasn’t integrated into PCs years ago. It’s particularly strange that you can’t yet buy a laptop with an integrated SIM card. Exploring the reasons why would make for an interesting study.

      • charly

        Desktops don’t have microphones and laptops don’t like cables. Besides i think it was a pure software issue when every PC had a modem and nobody was trying it then and in the modern age you can use Skype (or Vonage or a million others) which is cheaper than SIM based phone calls and free for phone-free calls.

      • stefnagel

        “Comparing iPhone and Windows PC is wrong in so many ways, the most important one is that the iPhone doesn’t replace the PC, but (funny) requires one to sync the data.”

        Funny odd. I have owned an iPhone for two years and have never used a computer to sync the data. Funny too, my iPhone has replaced my computer … Unless you know of a PC that takes calls, shoots images, and fits in my pocket. Funny weird.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Phones don’t replace PCs, they disrupt them. The process of disruption is so serious and fatal exactly because the direct comparison between challenger and challenged cannot be made directly. The reason it is possible at all is asymmetric competition (which is where this blog’s name comes from and which is the topic of most of what has been written here. Asymmetric competition itself is rooted in the concept of asymmetry of information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymmetric_information)

  • Matt C

    This article bends toward another general “market share” debate which is too simplistic. The market has become exponentially larger for “personal computing devices” which has changed in definition over time. There is room for various competitors at different strata in the market, but not long-term for one that does not innovate and have a well developed, cross-device ecosystem, which increases switching costs and difficulty.

  • cnccnc

    Comparing PCs to phones makes absolutely zero sense. Counting phones from one company but not the other makes even less sense.

    This looks a lot like a clickbait article that attempts to make Apple look good and create arguments, which creates traffic. It’s an easy statistic to reference, which is appealing to the lazy in the media, as well as Apple fanatics like Gruber, Arment and The Verge.

    The article as a piece worthwhile of content is a failure, but as clickbait, I’m guessing it will be an enormous success, which I believe was your intention. Well played.

    • elder Signin

      Hmmmm. Why is it ALWAYS apple fanatics and never windows fanatics???

      While I agree that computers does not equal phones, gas pumps and kiosks do not equal windows computers either.

      However, if you are talking OS systems, Apple macs and mobile both run the same core OS, so maybe there, computer OS = mobile OS.

      • charly

        ios apps don’t run on OS X and visa versa

      • elder Signin

        True but the core software of each is the same. This is not true of windows 8 and RT.

      • charly

        Running ARM IOS apps on Mac OSX is about as easy programmatical as Windows phone or RT apps on a Windows PC. I don’t see how a shared core helps

      • Kizedek

        No it isn’t, or there would be powerful video, audio and image editors on RT; and Office on RT wouldn’t be so dependent on a mouse. No it isn’t, or there would be thousands of developers flocking to RT to make creative new apps that make them millions of dollars…

        It’s obvious you don’t see how a shared core helps. It helps by making it easy for “anyone” to make a powerful new app, because tons of capability is there already; while you have even more building blocks (api’s etc.) to craft your touch UI just right in order to make something that uniquely harnesses the power of your new app.

      • charly

        You use words that i didn’t say. Building a mobile OS isn’t done in a day.

        Problem with RT (and Metro) is Microsoft app shop and its cut which is problematic for expensive apps. its market size and with RT its lack of backward compatibility. And that Microsoft is an enemy of Google and Mozilla (and a whole list of others) doesn’t help either

        IOS app advantage may endure in some specialized fields (flying, maybe medicine) just like Apple got an early lead in media and kept it but that doesn’t mean it will keep the app advantage in slower markets. If you start a tablet project now than Andriod or Windows x86 makes much more sense because of hardware cost and quality (waterproof Android tablets are easy to find, IOS ones are kludges)

      • Kizedek

        I didn’t say you said it. I am saying it — comparatively to iOS. Apple conceived of and started the iPad before the iPhone, for example. And as you note, iOS shares Core pieces with its proven desktop big brother, whether you can see how that helps or not.

        In comparison, on Android and RT/ Windows phone, touch and many core features seem to be an afterthought. Not part of a grand idea. Evidenced by the bragging about how many (ill thought out) features keep popping up on Android before iOS.

        As for the future — developers are choosing now. I wonder what kind of developers are taking your advice to develop for the cheapest platform and hardware?

        In a world that is changing as fast as this one, I think I would choose the platform and hardware that has some solidity and a plan, from a company that seems to be very prescient about where things are going and pushes the envelope in a number of areas of technology, including screens, sensors, chipsets, batteries, cameras, etc.

      • Space Gorilla

        Well said. Developers aren’t stupid, at least the good ones aren’t. Apple dominates the ‘best customer segment’, has over 600 million users now, and is still growing. That’s a solid customer base that can easily sustain more than enough top notch developers.

      • charly

        One could argue that ios has the best customers in Japanese and English speaking countries (not even all of first world English speaking countries) but in other markets you need to be on Android

      • charly

        Android is developed collectively. Which has the negative that there is no unified vision but the advantage that many roads are tried. I think that this is better in the long term

      • Kizedek

        It does sound lovely. How’s Linux doing on the desktop, by the way?

      • chano1

        That is Apple’s choice, not a limitation of either OSX variant

    • fl1nty

      Think of the devices as computing platforms and the comparison makes perfect sense. Windows was the dominant computing platform of the 90s and early to around 2005. From 2005 to around 2012 the web was the dominant computing platform but it still required a computer which was mainly windows powered. From around 2009- present the dominant computing platforms have been mobile – first iOS and now split between iOS and android.

      The simplest indicator of this is what platform are applications are built for. Back in the late 90s you would mostly hear of shareware or paid apps built for windows and a few for macs and that was a major contributing factor in your decision on what to buy. With the web coming into dominance the windows native platform advantage got neutralized to a large extent so any device with a browser could access the web and mac sales started to go up as native apps were no longer the only contributing factor in the purchase decision. Now you only really hear of mobile applications(apps) and the platforms with the most applications are android and iOS. Windows 8 pro barely has many apps for the metro UI. Windows phone has quite a few applications but its a long long way away from being the first platform of choice to build a cool application. Even the web as a computing platform is slowly fading away and the internet is becoming more of a backbone for networking services between users and applications and maybe some of these applications have a web browser based interface.

      The approximated timelines given above would coincide well with the sales projection charts and the applications available for platform charts(if this data is available)

  • John

    Horace, I always think of this AllThingsD video clip when considering how Apple managed to reverse its market share position and start selling in huge numbers — they were able to appeal directly to the consumer. Not the CIO. Their decisions on which technologies to include, support or ignore were voted on by millions of people for themselves, with their own dollars. This is why their Apple store retail presence, the 1:1 connection with people, is so important to their success, both past and future.

    The relevant part comes just after the 12:00 mark:

    http://allthingsd.com/20100607/steve-jobs-at-d8-the-full-uncut-interview/

  • Justin

    You need to include windows phones and tablets

    • vFunct

      which isn’t much.

  • Aaron L.

    If you include iOS devices, why not include all windows devices too? Like the millions of windows phone sold each year? Seems a bit bias to compare Macs/iPads+iPhones to just Windows PCs and NOT include Windows Phones too.

    • fl1nty

      Adding windows phone numbers will make a difference but in the grand scheme of things it won’t change the trend lines by much

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        Actually, it would add over 30 million devices, showing no decline for Microsoft. That is a significant change from my perspective.

      • add

        No, because you would need to add Windows Mobile back in for the years before Windows Phone as well.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        I disagree, because it was not a unified platform then. When comparing the two companies approach to computing platforms, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, etc. were tangents, they weren’t holistic approaches. They weren’t following the structure that Apple has made so successful.

        The comparison to me, seems to be a shift in computing platform models. Apple adapted and found massive success. Microsoft is beginning to respond, however unsuccessful. I think Windows 8 is when that shift began for them, so it’s where their other Windows platforms began to take relevance in comparison to Apple’s.

        I still think the growth of Apple and their ability to overtake Microsoft in so many ways is impressive. I just prefer to compare apples to apples. I don’t see this original comparison as attempting to do that.

      • Space Gorilla

        “Apple adapted and found massive success.”

        This isn’t quite right. Apple never really changed, they’ve always worked to simplify and abstract the computer, to build the computer for the rest of us, to integrate, to make computers into appliances, to make the devices personal, to make the whole widget. Now that the buying decision has shifted to the end user, Apple’s approach is wildly successful on a large scale.

        But Apple’s approach was always the right way. I suspect this is why there’s a lot of anger directed at Apple, humans don’t like being proven wrong.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        Well I agree with your point, but I think what I said still applies. It seems almost like you are saying they didn’t adapt, they always tried to make the best new products for consumers. Well isn’t that adapting? Maybe it’s just semantics.

        But I agree, they always had a consumer-driven, innovative approach that previously didn’t have the power to overcome the Windows juggernaut. Then as the world changed, their approach began to payoff.

      • Kizedek

        You’re both right. Of course Apple adapted it’s products, creating new ones that focus on the Mobile paradigm and the PostPC World (and arguably Apple anticipated it and helped usher it in). Something that MS has singularly failed to adapt itself to, so far.

        But Apple hasn’t adapted its approach/mission/calling, if you like. And I think that’s what Space Gorilla is getting at.

        However, MS is finding itself in the throes of adapting its approach/mission/calling, and finds itself in a bit of a quandary. Should it now be a Hardware company like Apple? Should it “compete” with its OEMs and former partners? Should it now be a Services company like IBM? What to do?

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        And that’s the $10 billion question.

        It’s not easy to answer, but whichever direction, they MUST pick one, commit, and execute!

      • fl1nty

        Yes it would show microsoft windows(mobile+desktop) license sales are about even or slightly greater than all apple device sales. But the point of the post is to point out how far windows has come down from their halcyon past where they had 60x the number of macs sold and now all windows licenses put together will barely add up to 1.5x the number of apple devices.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Your question suggests you missed the point of the post. I’m not sure I can make the point any differently.

  • Lester Hayes

    I’m not a “tech” guy, but wanted to give you a perspective from a person who works for a fortune 500 company.

    I recently returned from a National Sales meeting, and was amazed with the iPhone market share within our company 95%+. Not to mention that every sales and marketing employee is given an iPad for “work” use. Mine consists of hundreds of apps that are not for work use, which is consistent with other employees. All of our marketing material is now pushed to our iPad, which allows us to do sales presentations on our iPads. After 3 years we get a new iPad.

    Contrast that with three years ago, when most of us said we had to have BB’s, because Apple didn’t work well with Outlook. Our PCs/Notebooks had to be Windows based, because that works with the VPN, and we could use Excel for ROIs, and PowerPoint for presentations.

    I’m not an Apple zealot looking to convince someone it’s the greatest company in the world, but after what I’ve seen from my company over the past three years I’m now a shareholder of aapl. This is just a perspective from one Fortune 500 company with over 25,000 employees

  • jhzafrani

    The only problem in your thought process is to include the iPhone and iPads as computing devices and thus put them in the same category. It is clear that Apple is winning against Microsoft on the mobile platform in the US but that is not now or ever was Microsoft’s core business to begin with. On the desktop, laptop, and server sides Microsoft is winning against all platforms and that is a throne that not anyone is going to topple any time soon. What you are essentially doing is comparing Apples and Oranges (excuse the pun…).

    Microsoft’s core business is still Windows and Office and it still controls the desktop and server markets. Apple’s core business is now mobile devices and compared to Microsoft they are definitely winning but compared to Android, they are not. Sure, they get more revenue than anyone else, but that is due to their devices being generally much more expensive than their competitors’ devices. About 10 years ago, I read an article written by John Dvorak in which he stated that Microsoft’s true monopoly was not Windows. Rather, it was Office. That statement still holds true today and that is not changing anytime soon. Many businesses are still relying on Microsoft Office to run their businesses. It is true that the sales person is presenting on the iPad but the reality is that the presentation was most likely created using Office which is really at its best on Windows. The CIO and CTO may give their people new tools but the reality is that they still decide on the device and how the content for that device is created.

    Apple creates great devices but those devices, at least in the business world, depend on content that is more often than not created on Windows machines or using Windows standards. Apple’s attempt at “destroying” office is mediocre at best. Google Apps are still very much bare bones and do not lend themselves to complex enterprise usage. So until someone comes and presents a worthy alternative to Office, Windows is here to stay both on the desktop and server platforms.

    Even if Microsoft lost today all of the desktop market (which will not happen anytime soon), it will still have the server market. That market is going to be the next hot market with the fight for the cloud. That will be an interesting fight…

    • Space Gorilla

      Your mistake is not realizing that the iPhone and iPad are indeed computing devices. If you can’t understand that, then your analysis will always fail.

  • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

    Umm…are you serious? How is this an unbiased, intelligent approach to analyzing the two companies by unit sales when you include nothing but Microsoft PC sales, and compare that to all major Apple device sales? Are you suggesting you are not aware that Microsoft makes any other products? Hmmm…if only they made a phone, or tablet, or other gaming or computing device…

    I don’t see how you can’t stand behind your article without addressing this glaring whole in your entire argument.

    Just look at the graph. You stack all these Apple products and compare it to one Microsoft product. If anything, the complete picture points out that Microsoft is learning and being successful at translating it’s once PC-only business model to a diversifying portfolio.

    • Kizedek

      You are aware that MS took a write-down recently on the Surface? You are aware that by most accounts, the XBox is yet to make a positive contribution overall to MS’ bottom line (not just looking at one quarter at a time, but overall)? You are aware that it is the iPhone and iPad that is being bought by companies for corporate use — and that they are more capable of actual “work” than MS mobile products whose sales are rounding errors? The “diversification” of MS is a desperation bid outside of its core “competency”, not the setting up of another “leg of the stool”.

      • Will

        Sounds a bit biased. I can list whole range of failed Apple products too, that doesn’t mean Apple sucks.

        Plus, the only MS products you mentioned are consumer focused, not enterprise. Last I checked, MS is still acing that.

      • Kizedek

        Failed, as in they weren’t exactly “leg of the stool” material. So Apple discontinued them. They don’t represent black holes. In fact, most of Apple’s “failures” didn’t even make a loss, the Cube and X-Serve included.

        The Apple TV, now: that “hobby” represents a business that many companies would kill for.

        Difference being, Apple and Apple proponents don’t keep dragging the Apple TV out as the prime, or only, example of “success” at something beyond Apple’s core competency and “traditional” products, representing some kind of special “diversification”. Don’t have to.

        Hey, why don’t you cite MS’ keyboards and mice? At least they have some measurable success and don’t represent a black hole.

      • Will

        Microsoft maintains those black holes with growing revenues/profits for a decade now.

        And it’s not just about money you know, the xbox is valuable because of its brand and user base. Might as well consider OSX a black hole since it doesn’t directly generate money.

        The point is you pick and choose successes and failures from each company.

        They are both doing fine, admittedly Apple even better. But there are way worse companies out there than Microsoft and people have yelled doom and gloom for MS for years.

      • integration

        “And it’s not just about money you know, the xbox is valuable because of its brand and user base. Might as well consider OSX a black hole since it doesn’t directly generate money.”

        I have no idea what this means. OS X is integrated with their hardware, it does directly generates income. Why is the Xbox brand or user base financially valuable?

      • Will

        Brands and active users DO have monetary value. Take a look at Instagram.

      • Kizedek

        some brands have value. Apparently MS thinks Windows has some brand value since it is still trying to stick it everywhere.

      • Will

        I agree Windows is not the brand MS thinks it is. But Xbox is.

      • integration

        So someone is going to buy the Xbox brand from Microsoft at a price that makes their investment there net positive? Is that your idea?

      • Will

        I highly doubt MS released Xbox to sell it like some cheap dream of a 20 yo entrepreneur.

      • dreamfeed

        Well there are plenty of people on wall st who would like to see it happen, so, who knows.

      • Will

        that is true, you never know

      • dreamfeed

        The point is that, if Xbox were it’s own company right now, it would be worth more than all the money that Microsoft has invested in it. Therefore, it has been a successful investment.

      • Kizedek

        People may have wished doom and gloom for MS for years. But it was always considered the actual, inevitable fate for Apple — still is, largely.

        This is largely because the accidental monopolistic success of MS is considered to be the inevitable result of the licensing/OEM model, and it is considered to spell inevitable success for whomsoever goes that route at any time in the future of the world and with any class of products or services.

        This “feeling” is supposed to put the final word on the fate of stubborn Apple, and to explain why Mobile will, darn-for-suredly, be just like PC.

        But, MS, hasn’t had dips in earnings and marketshare for several consecutive quarters, until now.

        Until now, with more and more bloggers like Horace doing a bit of thinking, MS and its legion of bloggers has been able to attribute any such dips or misfortunes to the economy.

        Yet, the MS mantra is repeated ad nauseum in a variety of forms:

        “Hey, the consumer market is big and important and all, but not that important. “Enterprise” is where it’s at, and Apple doesn’t ‘do’ enterprise. Enterprise will rebound and is just waiting on the right product from MS, hang on. Once MS releases whatever it’s going to release, Apple will most assuredly be kicked to the curb where it belongs, again. The consumer and his fascination with Apple is fickle; just wait.”

        Until now, people were waiting.

      • Will

        People were waiting for decades for Apple or anyone else to build something good. Mac OS sucked, it was expensive, ugly and people didn’t buy it.

        Microsoft was the one who got a computer in every household and you are a fool to think Apple would have done that. Even today, most PCs are much cheaper than what Apple offers and most people wouldn’t have a computer at all since they can’t afford it.

        So no, Windows success was not “accidental”. they gave people exactly what they wanted and Apple didn’t.

      • Kizedek

        Yes, Apple stuck with Apple OS too long, because they ousted Jobs in favor of the salesman, just when Steve was urging all-in focus on the Mac.

        MSDOS finally got the interface 10 years later after Gates had complete and unfettered access to the actual code when he was working on office tools for Mac, before they were even a dream on PC.

        The moment Jobs returned with his vision for the Mac in the shape of NeXT, the pruning began. MS has yet to prune its OS to the extent required for the future — as evidenced by disappointing sales of the last half-dozen versions and clients electing to stick with XP.

      • Will

        You mean the code from Xerox? Yeah… there was a lawsuit and Apple lost. Move on.

        BYOD still needs a back end to talk to. That’s enterprise. Not going away. Which is why MS enterprise grows you for the past decade, regardless of BYOD.

      • Kizedek

        Right, moving on — after you drop the single-most mis-informed statement still floating around the internet.

        There was no code from Xerox. Steve and co paid to sit down and play with the machine at an experimental lab where hobbies and side projects were sent to be quietly forgotten.

        Then they went home and made their version of the mouse; and wrote their own GUI, extending the metaphors and capabilities (such as moveable windows that redrew themselves) into something that was useful in more cases for more applications for more people — a whole consistent, system-wide GUI in fact. The original Xerox project seems to have been more akin to contextual menus within one app.

      • Will

        So why wasn’t MS allowed to do exactly the same thing? Because Applied copied it first?

      • Kizedek

        “Which is why MS enterprise grows yoy for the past decade, regardless of BYOD.”

        Of course it’s growing, just not as fast as Mobile. And probably not with the same value it could once garner, since people are now more savvy and expect more. MS will have to step up.

        Hey, maybe it really can turn itself into a service company like IBM, now that it has given hardware a go? I guess we’ll see, if and when the new CEO comes in and attempts to give the company some kind of direction to head in.

      • Will

        NOTHING grows as fast as mobile. It’s irrelevant. The point is enterprise is definetly not shrinking and you clearly made it up to make a point.

      • Kizedek

        The traditional, in-house IT Department — that kind of Enterprise infrastructure may well be shrinking; and the predominance of MS along with it.

        I don’t know what you observe — a load of traditional companies with traditional IT departments which subscribe to a comprehensive array of MS products and services, presumably; companies still subject to the same kinds of traditional decision-making processes referenced in the article? Then as far as you are concerned, nothing has changed.

        OTOH, others observe that IT services are beginning to be commoditized, with the advent of things like “cloud computing” solutions, and basic services such as those offered by Amazon. Sound familiar? You may have heard of them. I think MS is beginning to offer something similar.

        This is all part and parcel with the PostPC world and Mobile, and it is a big reason you can say with a straight face: “NOTHING grows as fast as mobile. It’s irrelevant.”

        Right, it’s irrelevant. OK, if you say so. Hence your knee-jerk reaction to the article and comments supporting it.

        With the commoditization of many of the IT services traditionally provided by the traditional IT department, more and more startups are offering both simple and elegant, yet interoperable, solutions for an array of needs. These may in turn use even more basic, more commoditized services such as Amazon’s Cloud servers.

        New IT Services are created by the week, and all sorts of companies can avail themselves of them quite easily; they can even be mixed and matched. I follow a website which does nothing but review new cloud-based IT Services.

        Now, these startups usually offer mobile app tie-ins to the services for all platforms (just to stay relevant, mind you).

        Much IT is thus effectively outsourced, at least in part; and there is a corresponding reduction in the “traditional IT department”.

        Most of these startups are by no means “Windows shops”; and if anything, their face is often iOS first. But since they aren’t relevant to anything in your mind, then you won’t notice that MS doesn’t quite hold the dominance that it once enjoyed in the minds and infrastructures of new companies.

        Turns out that companies using such start-up services can become very competitive as a result; and incumbents in various industries who continue to rely predominantly on a traditional IT dept and MS, may find themselves in a spot of bother.

        Such is the disruption and asymmetry of the Mobile and PostPC world …though none of this is remotely relevant to anyone you know.

      • Will

        “Enterprise infrastructure may well be shrinking; and the predominance of MS along with it.”

        From shrinking to not growing as fast as mobile to traditional enterprise is shrinking. Unless you have numbers to prove one of your assertions, I’m done.

        I saw MS enterprise profits and they grow nice and steady in your postPC world.

      • Kizedek

        I guess I haven’t been able to explain myself very well, sorry. This is the kind of trend I am talking about, and a common reaction to it by the Enterprise/IT is noted….

        [two paragraphs pulled out of an article on informationweek, “State Of Servers 2014: Enterprise Providers On Thin Ice”

        http://www.informationweek.com/infrastructure/pc-and-servers/state-of-servers-2014-enterprise-providers-on-thin-ice/d/d-id/1112078

        “The chilling effect that mobile devices are having on PC sales is being repeated, but with a twist. For server vendors, the frost descends from the cloud, as enterprises increasingly use hosted infrastructure and software services in lieu of locally owned and operated systems. And while market data shows server sales dipping (down 6% in the second quarter from a year ago, according to IDC) perhaps just as worrisome is that our survey also shows a lack of enthusiasm for emerging tech on the part of enterprise IT. Even questions dealing with new features, chip technologies and system architectures that should generate interest were flat, which suggests either satisfaction with current conditions — unlikely given the constant stream of demanding new applications, data and mobile endpoints — or general lack of interest in making new server infrastructure commitments to internal data centers.”

        “Andrew Feldman, who co-founded server maker SeaMicro and is now a VP and general manager at AMD, which acquired SeaMicro last year, sees this shift firsthand from his vantage point developing high-density systems. “Enterprise buying of servers is shrinking,” Feldman says. “The big buyers are service providers like Google and Facebook.” These companies focus on putting many users on many very-low-cost servers. And the explosion in mobility is feeding this trend. “The workloads that are growing fastest aren’t in the enterprise, like ERP or CRM,” he says.”

      • Will

        Um yeah… Microsoft is one the server providers… Azure… seriously…

      • Kizedek

        Did you just stop at the title? I suspected you might.

        There are a few interesting sentences sprinkled around the article, such as:

        “…perhaps just as worrisome is that our survey also shows a lack of enthusiasm for emerging tech on the part of enterprise IT.”

        “The workloads that are growing fastest aren’t in the enterprise, like ERP or CRM,”

        “But the primary instigators of innovation are now cloud service providers, not enterprises. That could cause problems for organizations that cling to their existing architectures rather than moving workloads to public clouds or embracing new technology in their own data centers.”

      • Kizedek

        True. I am impressed that they are offering Linux as an option (though, if that is just a virtualization on top of Windows, I’m not sure it is something I’d use or recommend).

        There was a time, though, that Enterprise basically = MS. If they can double down on the Enterprise and remain competitive and profitable, more power to them.

        However, there are obviously choices in the Enterprise now, just as there are choices among devices in the workplace. And I think a lot of the new technologies and services coming down the pipe seem to lend themselves to a Linux environment.

        Already (and historically), whenever there has been a mixed environment, the non-MS elements have arguably been the most efficient, capable and reliable when allowed to do what they can do (basically anything but run native Windows software — and that is debateable since the Mac can do that extremely well on the desktop side).

        In other words — the tables could be reversed, and MS could find that customers are increasingly happy to choose non-MS services as they move forward (or new companies start up), which can run a virtualization of Windows in increasingly fewer cases where it is absolutely necessary for legacy software.

        Increasingly, MS finds itself playing with others on a “level playing field”, where it cannot set the parameters or the agenda. It will no longer be dictating the environment. Historically, this has not been its strong point.

      • charly

        Enterprise was never pure Microsoft. Excluding office setting and they were during most of that time almost as big as *nix total

      • Kizedek

        Thanks for the clarification. Maybe I started to give them more credit than they deserve.

      • Tom

        Please don’t lie (Xerox lost 1989) Wikipedia could be your friend, not your enemy.

      • Will

        I meant MS vs Apple.

      • Kizedek

        That was lost, not because Gates didn’t actually steal the code, but because Apple didn’t have a leg to stand on — Jobs signed a very poor contract giving access to the GUI code that Gates later used for Windows.

        Gates did make an out-of-court “settlement” as a gesture. He committed to making the office app available on Mac for 5 yrs.

        Also as a gesture — mainly to avoid anti-monopoly charges pending against himself — he bought 150M of Apple stock. Contrary to the misinformed meme out there, this was not intended to, and did not, nor could it, “save” Apple and ever prevent Apple from going bankrupt.

      • Will

        I never said that MS saved Apple. I’m saying Apple never proved it owned the GUI you say they invented (which they didn’t and have no rights to it)

      • Kizedek

        I added the bit about the “saving”, because that is right up there with “Apple stole from Xerox”.

        You said Apple “stole code” from Xerox. They used an idea, which they did indeed have permission to handle, learn from and get inspired by.

        Now, I am not contending that the circumstances are materially different from the circumstances in which Gates got his GUI. Perhaps Xerox didn’t realize what Apple would do with it and how it would capitalize upon it. Thus someone at Xerox decided to try and sue Apple later. Likewise, Jobs apparently “trusted” Gates and didn’t expect what happened.

        I think the whole area of patents is fuzzy, and I don’t quite know what to make of it. No, I am not defending Apple or decrying MS (and more recently Samsung) on the basis of the law and whether or not they were or should or should not have been convicted of something.

        No, in this regard I simply have some contempt for MS: because as I understand it, Gates had to see the code and work with it on his computer, just to ship a shoddy, bass-acwards GUI ten years after the Mac; a GUI that to this day doesn’t hold a candle to the Mac’s. Jobs and co came up with their code, and improved on the Xerox pointing instrument (which I don’t think was called a Mouse at the time).

        What gets me is that MS is held up as the software company exemplar, while I think history has proven time and again that it’s Apple that actually creates elegant and innovative code. I view MS as pretty much a charlatan and fraud without class.

        Perhaps that is some bias showing, but as time goes on, I think the facts are beginning to reveal themselves.

      • Will

        I agree to what happened, I just don’t share your personal views. It wasn’t Apple that delivered what the market wanted, it was Microsoft. They made computers personal.
        Apple became relevant in other areas years later.

        It’s an awfully slow process to “reveal themselves” don’t you agree?

      • Kizedek

        “It wasn’t Apple that delivered what the market wanted, it was Microsoft.”

        Be that as it may, I think the whole point of the article, and what everyone is upset about, is that the complete opposite is true these days.

      • Will

        I completely agree with that

      • dreamfeed

        That’s absurd. Technically Mac OS was lightyears ahead of Windows pre-95, still clearly ahead of Windows 95, and about even with Windows 98. The only period where Windows could possibly be said to have been better was between the release of Windows 2000 and the release of OS X 10.0 and between the release of Windows XP and the release of OS X 10.2, a total of less than two years. OS X then gradually got better and better while XP stagnated, and eventually Vista came out and windows has been a joke ever since.

        And as for Windows being better looking than the Mac, you’re dreaming.

      • Will

        so… why didn’t people buy it and Apple almost went bankrupt?

      • charly

        A very pro mac telling of who was better historically. Windows 95 was better than classic mac and Mac OSX has never been better than NT.

      • marcoselmalo

        On the consumer side. Windows NT (the NeXT clone*)was ahead of Mac OS until OS X was developed into a usable Mac OS.

        *I’m sure you appreciate the irony!

      • charly

        You should read something else than Apple propaganda. Windows NT was an obvious VMS clone made by the same team that made VMS and has absolutely nothing to do with slightly heated up old technology that was NeXT.

        NeXT is just a *nix clone like a million others. *nix is a very simple (as in dumb) OS which won the mini era because it was good enough (for most things and only if you were lucky)

      • marcoselmalo

        Hey, charly, you work too hard. Take the weekend off.

      • charly

        Consumer market loves cheap hardware and has low switch cost. That is why the enterprise market is more durable

      • Kizedek

        “Might as well consider OSX a black hole since it doesn’t directly generate money.”

        This doesn’t even make sense. OS X doesn’t lose money. You seem to forget that half the people on this very forum are incredulous as to what makes Apple products so “special” and why should they pay a couple of hundred bucks more? OS X is one big fat reason.

        Apple has a handful of engineers, compared to MS. Their product is an integrated blend of hardware and software. People buy it. Apple makes money. Apple pays its engineers. Apple puts money in the bank.

        There is no black hole, because Apple has something called Focus.

      • Will

        For one, enterprise market doesn’t mean people who buy devices for work.

        Second, OSX is given away for free with every Mac. The engineers who built it produce zero revenue and are a huge expense. But you have to look at the big picture to understand. Just the way Apple avoids paying fees to MS for an OS, MS doesn’t pay fees to Google for a search engine. It’s common sense to avoid being dependant on your competitor. Even if you lose money, the alternative is not good.

      • Kizedek

        I guess you need it spelled out — the Mac pays for OS X.

        You’re right, enterprise doesn’t mean people who buy devices for work. Which is why articles like this one cause such a knee-jerk reactions like yours. The Enterprise is under threat and shrinking. And though it has the Enterprise sown up, MS is finding itself with the need to look a little beyond the borders of its carefully constructed empire. Those peasants are so revolting.

      • Will

        The Enterprise is shrinking?! You got numbers that show Xbox loses money? Or are you going to continue to lie to yourself?

      • Kizedek

        It’s more a case of trying to understand what I read, than lying to myself. Every seemingly thoughtful piece that I have ever read on the subject indicates that XBox hasn’t yet made back its total investment of original acquisitions, R&D, development, and whatnot. That, overall, it’s still a bit in the red. Even those who say it is “making” money, have to qualify it with some caveat like, “this quarter” or “this year”.

        Perhaps that’s not to say that each XBox now “loses” money, yet there is still an historical net loss related to it; yet to be overcome, by many people’s reports.

        It’s like saying that every Nokia phone that MS currently sells “makes” MS money, however small a margin that might be…. but quietly forgetting that MS just spent however many Billions on Nokia!

        So yeah, each XBox and WinPhone is “making” money… if the expenses directly attributed to them have been allocated to some other pile, like a “general cost centre” — which is there to make the other centres look more profitable. If that’s not considered lying to one’s self, fair enough.

        Despite your apparent cynicism (due no doubt to the way MS and the like shuffle their accounts around), Apple is actually quite straight forward, and much more transparent. And you won’t find some billions of past expenses for OS X lurking around that each current and future Mac sale for some time to come must surreptitiously chip away at. All the projected expenses are set aside each year, done and dusted, and taken care of pretty sharply. Look around this site for Horace’s analysis of Apple’s operating costs.

      • Will

        Such a black and white view over the Xbox.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        The original article uses graphs with data. Not your subjective opinions about how much Microsoft sucks at phones/tablets. If you compare Apple and Microsoft and you use Apple’s desktop/laptop/tablet/mobile platforms, then you should use Microsoft’s same platforms as well.

        You seem to be ranting about your opinions on the quality of the products, but this discussion is based on sales numbers. My concern is with the lack of consistency between which numbers are used for each company.

      • Kizedek

        No, my “rant”, if that, is against those crying “unfair” because the sales numbers of Apple’s iOS devices are great, and the sales numbers of MS mobile devices suck.

        There is only a “lack of consistency” to you if you refuse to believe there is any disruption going on in terms of the way people work and choose to spend their time and money in the pursuit of work. …”but, but, working, and the pursuit of work, that’s not, splutter, splutter, the Enterprise!” Boo hoo.

        News flash: you can analyze and compare what the heck you like if you are looking for disruption and giving people the heads up. It’s called Asymmetric. Go read Gartner or someone who doesn’t ruffle your sensibilities.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        “Suck” and “great” are not quantitative. You just specifically said MS mobile device numbers suck. Based on what? That data is specifically omitted here. IF they were included then I might be able to agree they suck.

        I am NOT saying there isn’t disruption or that Apple isn’t shaking things up. I never did. I would just rather see these “sucky” numbers from MS compared directly to Apple’s explosive numbers, rather than just not show them and tell people “oh their numbers suck, and here are Apples specific numbers, look how great they are. What a contrast!”

        I guess the idea is to paint an incomplete picture to emphasize the disruption?

        So what is the point of the article then? That Microsoft’s licensing model is losing out to Apple’s platform development? Is the point that these two companies demonstrate an industry shift in general?

        You stated earlier: “Ironically, it is MS that is now taking the “other approach” — out of necessity, and failing to do it well.” I agree with that. But I think it would have been better delivered with complete data, and interpretation, rather than warping the data to emphasize a point.

      • Kizedek

        Point taken. But I think Horace has many times attempted to analyze the sales figures of mobile devices from MS/Nokia. He has found it very difficult. Thus, one comes to the conclusion that MS is less than transparent because the numbers “suck”. And they just took a write-down on Surface, their flagship device of the new era.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        I can appreciate that. I guess I just thought that summation (assuming he shares your perspective on that) could have been better addressed/clarified in the article, really, to help emphasize his point better.

        A valid argument is only made stronger by transparently showing all the data first. I saw an article on TechCrunch related to this that pulled more number on Windows Phone, but admittedly, they were a best attempt, not solid numbers.

        http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/14/rethinking-windows-and-apple-device-volume/

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I’m not comparing companies. What gives you that impression?

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        Exactly, you are comparing platforms, no? I mean you have graphs with contrasting dating, you are using a comparison of something to draw conclusions. I see one Microsoft platform and a handful of Apple platforms.

        It’s not even that I so much disagree with all of your conclusions, it’s more an issue with the initial data you present and the suggestions and assumptions within. Certainly the concentration of buying power and Microsoft’s ability to take advantage of that is what turned it into the giant it is. Apple took a different approach. Out of necessity. The first 75% of the graph shows they had no hope of overtaking the PC head on. So they found other computing devices. They learned to develop hardware, not just software, and they took a proprietary approach to distribution.

        Whether they had the insight to see a shift coming, or they just built other devices out of necessity, is anyone’s guess. But the shift paid off big.

        Now Microsoft is scrambling to stay relevant in this new world of computing. They haven’t figured it out yet. They don’t have products on the same level as Apple outside of the desktop/laptop environment. However, I do not see how you can draw conclusions without fairly comparing the device sales of all corresponding platforms from both companies.

        It’s not just a shift from Microsoft to Apple, it’s a form factor shift from desktop/laptop to mobile/tablet. You show this massive shift in platform in Apple, showing their overall numbers skyrocket, thanks to the new devices, not the Mac. Then you show how the PC itself is declining, without mentioning Microsoft’s other devices.

        My concern is more with your interpretation of data without justification, more so than your analysis of the basis for Microsoft’s dominance, and recent shift towards Apple.

      • Kizedek

        Apple didn’t take a different approach out of necessity. Learned to develop hardware? Apple always made hardware from the first motherboard Woz put together in the Jobs’ garage.

        Rather, they learned to develop software. They got so good at it, they decided their “approach” was to do both in one integrated product.

        No, it’s the “licensing approach” that is under review and is suspect right now. Despite the mantra and article of faith that it is the superior approach every time, and in all markets, some cracks are developing.

        For thirty years, it was celebrated as a way to print money. Too bad for the OEMs that fell along the wayside. The margins were incredible (after all, how much effort does it require to issue OEMs with a bunch of numbers, or to stick a CD in a box). There was no margins in hardware… or so it was believed.

        But thirty years on, MS is thinking, hmmm, better get me some hardware margins, since I have driven all my OEMs out of business.

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        I agree that the license model is losing the the platform model, but how is that comparison modeled with the data shown?

        If it is, I don’t think the interpretation of the presented data is clear.

        I still think Apple’s success comes from their platform development, not specifically just hardware or software.

        I think the root of the conflict in this comments section is the article makes disparate points that may be valid, but aren’t well established or connected to all the information presented. Now people are comparing apples to oranges in the comments because the foundation for the argument was not clear.

      • charly

        Android is a licensing model. Would you call it loosing?

      • http://www.erikflorida.com/ eflorida

        Excellent point! You are opening a whole new can of worms which is truly worth it’s own discussion.

        I have always found that comparison interesting. In some ways its like Android is the Microsoft of mobile, but then they are so different also.

        Microsoft could probably benefit a lot from taking a very close look at Google’s development of Android.

      • charly

        Not really, Google can control Android because they don’t need to control it. MS needs to control Windows. Also Google is likely to loose control over Android being out of China & Iran officially an being pushed out by NSA reactions in Brasil, India & Russia

      • Kizedek

        Sigh. Charly does it again.

        OK, let’s break it down, again.

        MS, Google and Apple are companies.

        “Android” is not the entity. Android is Google’s product.

        Now, licensing per se, is neither here nor there. It might be particularly beneficial to some of the players some of the time. The only point I have been trying to make about that is that the “Licensing Model” in and of itself doesn’t trump the “Platform Model” each and every time, with every product, in every market and with every player that ever chooses to use that approach.

        It is not a given that the Licensing Model is always better. But everyone acts like it is. The supposed “evidence” for this is MS and the historical “PC Wars”. Interestingly, MS is moving away from it in order to survive! What does that do to the theory? Horace has stated how difficult this will be.

        Secondly, the cases of MS and Google are different. MS sold its licenses. Google gives them away. What does Google need? Clicks on its ads placed on its Search and other properties.

        Interestingly, Google’s income is not rising at the rate that Android’s market share of Mobile is rising. As Horace has begun to look into, the trend toward Mobile and PostPC may have an impact on Google. Mobile is not as valuable for Google as desktop — due to the nature of interacting with the internet on Mobile, and time spent in Apps, etc.

        So, if Google is not selling Android licenses, Google makes more money from the fewer iOS devices than from all of Android combined, Mobile is inherently more difficult for Google to monetize, if 75% of Mobile profits belong to Apple…

        Then what the heck does it matter that “Android” is “winning”. Give it a rest already!

      • charly

        Apple makes the same mistakes as it did in the 1980′s. Get the high end and forget the low end. Problem is the low end is becoming the new middle ground in the smartphone market and it is happening a lot faster than it happened in the PC market. MS is in the phone market what IBM was in the PC market. A gigant has been. But it has the advantage that Gates etc. have a large share in the company so a OS2Warp strategy may be possible without wallstreet interference

        MS dos had a smaller market share than Google play Android and MS definitely had a monopoly in the dos era. Neither was MS good at stopping piracy

        75% of oem profits belong to Apple. The profits from glass makers, chip bakers, chip designers etc. aren’t counted just as is done when comparing the profit with PC makers.

        Google is licensing Android, you have to carry for instance the play store

      • Kizedek

        iPod

      • charly

        Ipod is not low end as a SIM-less very cheap Chinese Android 2.4 smartphone is better and cheaper

      • Kizedek

        The iPod ranges from 49 to 300 dollars and the iPod completely dominated the MP3 Player market — until phones began to replace them. And the iPod evolved — it is now iOS.

        In other words, constantly comparing the iPhone to PC conveniently ignores other stories.

        Apple isn’t done with the iPhone. And it’s not about the phone. It’s about what you can do with it as a mobile computing device; it’s about what people hire it for.

        The iPhone story is still in the first couple of chapters. Apple has obviously learned a few things in the intervening decade — such as how to become masters of the supply chain (something that shouldn’t be underestimated).

        And yet, Apple already has one hit product that succeeds the iPhone. Likely there are others in the pipeline.

        You continually focus on one element of one story (the hegemony of MS during the “PC Wars”). It has been clearly laid out for you time and again why that is a mistake. That Narrative is misapplied. Again, we see MS now adapting its approach in order to survive; and things are changing so rapidly, one wonders if they will keep up. A number of changes have been anticipated and even kick-started by Apple.

        We understand you think Apple’s “focus on the ‘high-end’” is a mistake. Nevertheless, they are making the products they want to make, to deliver the quality and capability they want to deliver — and the products are extremely popular across all walks of life.

        However you may feel about it, many many people the world over can look beyond the simple sticker price and beyond a myopic focus on “the low end is for me”, to see the value (such as ease of use and TCO), that is clearly there and proven.

        Most people are glad that Apple doesn’t participate in a race to the bottom, but raises the bar for everyone. It’s the mediocre performers who resent the high-performer. I wonder why you, and the likes of Obarthelemy, resent the success of Apple, and the path Apple has chosen, so much.

      • charly

        Ease of use is overrated and to dependent on the situation. TCO studies are mostly lies paid for by the ones who is “cheapest”.

        High end is good for the status of the user if it is 50% more expensive, Even 100% is good but in the 6S will be 3 to 4 times as expensive as a good phone when it is introduced. Those differences are to great for users to get a status boost

      • Kizedek

        And there you have it — the iPhone will be more expensive than “a good phone”.

        Again, it’s more than that.

        Ease of use isn’t overrated if adoption of the last several versions of Windows is anything to go by.

      • Space Gorilla

        It occurs to me that the anti-Apple crowd believes so strongly that Apple’s approach to computing is wrong and should not succeed, that it is as if an evil super villain has actually won and taken over some part of the world. At least that’s how it feels to the anti-Apple crowd. The ‘bad guy’ won. Hence the emotional/irrational reaction to All Things Apple.

      • charly

        Apple sucks at security so it is the question if they learned how to develop software

      • Kizedek

        Where did you read that? In the MS IT-Droid Certification Manual?

      • charly

        No, the 3 months a Java hole can be unpatched manual

      • Sunfly

        Java is owned and developed by Oracle. Apple did disable it via software update.

        Anecdotal, but we have 2 Macs, several PC’s, and 2-3 Linux boxes in the house. Security on the Macs is handled simply by deleting Oracle’s Java and Adobe’s Flash Chrome has built in Flash for legacy web sites. We do the same plus antivirus on the PC’s. No problems with any of them in several years.

      • marcoselmalo

        Doesn’t it embarrass you in the slightest to bring up Java and Android in the the same thread?

      • marcoselmalo

        It’s an open source talking point that is back in fashion. Open Sourcers are making a lot of hay wrt to NSA revelations, making grandiose claims and slamming Apple as an example of proprietary software.

        Open Source is better in theory because you personally can look at the source code and compile it yourself.

        Obviously, there are problems in practice. Very few have the necessary skills to read source code, fewer have the skills to analyze for security, and of those that do, I’m not sure how they’d find the time to closely examine and analyze every bit of code that they use. So, for an ordinary person, let alone your typical open source fan, there might be a small amount of better security, if a lot of ifs are satisfied.

        Actually, the level of security is unknown. What we are really talking about it trust. Who do we trust? A single company with hidden processes, or the open source community? Well, the OS community is very large, so maybe we should narrow it down to just those that manage open source code and approve changes and releases. That’s still a hefty number if strangers you’re being asked to trust. And not all of their managerial processes are out in the open.

        One thing we have learned if we’ve been following the NSA scandal is that hardware is being compromised. One of the methods of compromise is firmware. This is a difficult, maybe intractable problem that might need open source hardware to solve it. Open source hardware, in practice, is going to present a number of similar problems. Who can understand and analyze circuit designs? Can they be trusted? Who monitors them? Who monitors the manufacturing process? Who tests? Does every single bit of silicon get tested or does is testing done in batches?

        One of the biggest mistakes in security is to assume you are secure. If charly assumes he is safe because he is using open source software, he is delusional. Good security, as I understand it, is about assessing the risks and various methods of risk mitigation (also in terms of cost/benefit).

        charly is either trolling (if he knows better), or mindlessly repeating open source propaganda because he is a “true believer”. I think open source is a great thing and *potentially* has an edge vs. proprietary software in terms of security.

        Incidentally, Android is very far from this potential. Google has actually made Android *less* secure to increase its utility for advertising. (See the strange case of the disappearing user adjustable permissions.)

      • charly

        It has nothing to do with open source. Apple just doesn’t take security very serious. See their 3 month hole in Java. But if you really want to see bad security than look at all those routers, smart TV’s etc build on open source.

    • Walt French

      I think you turned off your effort to understand sometime after the chart, and before Horace spelled out the purpose of the comparisons.

      Maybe give it another go… this *is* serious, serious about the model of whether a company that has shrunk to a tiny share can continue. The story uses Apple as an example, and we may wonder whether companies like BlackBerry or Nokia’s WP group can actually persist when they lose share the way Apple did, and what will give them the opportunity to come back.

      Jobs famously told the Apple faithful that the PC wars were over; Microsoft had won and it was time to take the Mac resources and build them into the next great thing. That actually worked. Today, we have Chen telling the BlackBerry faithful that they are doubling down on the keyboarded handset, NOT that they are taking some key talents (highly-secure enterprise messaging) and building a new company from it.

      There are many other differences, but it does address the way that we think about the future.

    • nasqb112

      This is nothing new eflorida. I think Apple makes great products (I own several of them) but I do not get the obsession that Horace and other journalists have with them.

      iOS is presented here (containing tablets, mp3 players and iPhones) along with Mac OS. But what about Windows tablets, phones, etc? These should be considered as well in order to make an accurate comparison.

  • Dave

    Some of the confusion on what is being compared, is the discrepency in your first chart. The title says “Windows PC & Tablets,” but the graph just shows “PC Total.”

  • http://devtools.korzh.com/ Sergiy Korzh

    Strange comparison. Author compare all Apple devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) to only one Windows device: PC.

    While there are a lot of other Windows-based devices now: Xbox, Windows Phone, WinRT tablets etc and their number is growing.

    • mjw149

      They are growing, but they don’t have significant numbers. Also, the xbox doesn’t compete directly with mobile devices, whereas the largely laptop-based PC market is cratering in the face of mobile (though not the earthbound gaming PCs such as what I’m typing on, cause, you know, they’re not mobile).

      I think obviously the analysis is limited, however, it’s making a point, one for which the xbox is largely irrelevant. Perhaps if MS had actually tried to beat Sony instead of sitting back and collecting membership fees until it was too late?

    • Jacob Calkins

      I see your point, however the word “one” is misleading. How many Windows manufacturers are out there? If you wanted a less “strange” comparison, then why not compare it to someone like Asus or Samsung? Then the numbers would be miniscule vs Apple sales and therefore ‘not representative’ of the whole market… there really is no definitive data set without including EVERY manufacturer. Then the data would be unreadable.

      • http://devtools.korzh.com/ Sergiy Korzh

        It’s not a comparison of manufactures, it’s a comparison of platforms. But author takes into account several types of devices for first platform and only one type – for second. That’s a mistake.

      • TH

        “why not compare it to someone like Asus or Samsung? Then the numbers
        would be miniscule vs Apple sales and therefore ‘not representative’ of
        the whole market…”

        Samsung phone sales alone exceed these of Apple’s numbers. Without even starting adding their Android tablets and Samsung-manufactured PCs to the mix…

      • http://blog.scheeko.org francisco feijó delgado

        On this matter, refer to the title of the post – why are you even bringing Android into this?

    • http://blog.scheeko.org francisco feijó delgado

      Not all devices – from the iPods, only the Touch and no Apple TV. Dediu’s comparison is between the operating system platforms – iOS and Mac OS versus Windows.

      While Xbox can run Apps, it’s on the same playing ground of Apple TV. And I don’t know the exact numbers, but I would assume WinRT is included in the PC shipments, while Windows Phone is so low that probably not worth including. I might be wrong, but that’s what I assumed while reading the piece.

      Yet, more fundamentally, Dediu’s comparison goes to the core of the companies: iOS and Mac are the core of Apple’s main products and for Microsoft it still is Windows and Office. While Xbox is an important product, see how much income it has been making over its lifetime here: http://www.asymco.com/2013/07/30/that-competition-thing/

      • http://devtools.korzh.com/ Sergiy Korzh

        Other versions of iPod except iPod Touch (as far as I know) don’t run iOS. Apple TV can’t be included into comparison by the same reason.

        When I mentioned Xbox – I meant Xbox One of course which fully belongs to Windows platform already.
        As for WinRT devices – it’s about all those devices which runs only Windows RT (without full Windows) like Surface (not Surface Pro).
        It’s not a zero number since Surface 2 has been sold out for last weeks.
        But most of the “non-calculated” Windows based devices I mentioned takes Windows Phone devices which you wrongly estimates as “so low” because only in 2013 Nokia and other manufactures sold about 35 million of WinPhone devices (maybe even more since we don’t know the data from the last quarter).

  • Nicholas Paredes

    I design apps in corporate environments, and noticed that plenty of peoe seem to think that a tablet will never replace the work accomplished on the laptop or desktop. Really? That’s my job, and I disagree.

    There will always be workstations. Most of work is not related to the workstation itself. Context, the task to be accomplished, and the tools needed are what matter. In sales environments, frankly a tablet is a better and more useful tool when combined with a well designed CRM.

    Probably the greatest limitation to the acceleration of tablet dominance is a lack of architects and designers who will design the necessary software.

    • Sunny

      It would be interesting to know what type of “necessary” software corporations are looking for.

    • TechManMike

      You hit the nail on the head. That’s also what i’ve been telling people that believe tablets aren’t “work horses” so they won’t replace workstations. They don’t have the vision to understand, like you said, that most work already isn’t related to a work station. We’re just used to it being that way because that’s the way that it’s always been in the era of the desktop. And for the things that have historically needed a “work horse” for a computer, the more technology increases in tablets and the apps that run on them, the easier it becomes to do those things that once required a computer. The app will do all the REST of the hard work with a few taps of the screen, that even the computer couldn’t do even though it made things easier than doing it by hand.

      The task changes to fit the new technology, the new technology doesn’t change to fit the same task.

      • fl1nty

        Same old conversation of back in the 80s with thin clients and doing complex computer tasks on the servers. Agreed that most things that uses need to do can be accomplished on tablets, especially the iPad air. There would be some old school processing tasks like day compiling a big word doc or a big excel file which will likely not super the input model of a tablet but fit these specific ones maybe a few work stains cab be shared between uses depending on the workload.

        This does take a rethink of the way work is done to take advantage of the benefits of using tablets

      • airmanchairman

        I can almost hear the same argument echoing from the past when mini-computers and mainframes with dumb terminals ruled the workspace and the PC (microcomputer) was the upstart new entrant on the scene. The same arguments were made then as to why PC’s would never “scale the enterprise” and allow real work to be carried out on them.

        The fact that some of the platforms were developed to run variants of the highly extensible, modular and scalable UNIX operating system should have been a powerful clue that these arguments would soon be debunked, as hindsight now reveals.

        Miniaturisation, economies of scale and the onward march of code optimisation and battery technology will eventually see mobile systems, which are now beginning the transition to 64-bit OS and multicore processor computing, accomplish the tasks and run the applications that “experts” today consider to be beyond their capabilities.

  • Dionysius Almeida

    Why didn’t you put entire windows OS platform when you were doing comparison against apple platform ? How’s this a fair comparison ?

    • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

      Microsoft says that the form factor of computing device is not a issue, it just a different form factor and the same o.s. can drive them all: windows everywhere, the “no compromise” windows 8, which by the way is full of compromise in usability but that’s another story.
      Horace used tablets and pc with windows, the computing devices ms wants to serve with their os. He missed windows phones, those should be added, but anyway globally they have small numbers, the reasoning should not change much.

      Apple instead points toward global data and issue different operating systems for different form factors, iOS and OS x, unifying usage through data sharing using iCloud or similar services. They want a no compromise operating experience without compatibility of apps between form factors, only data.
      App compatibility was a strong sale for windows, it is vanishing.
      First there were browsers and server side apps, than native coding for mobile device with thousand and thousand of quality new apps pushed by coherent API and developing tools, and the compatibility issue became old stuff.

      Comparing computing devices is the key to understand the disruption, one os for ms and two for apple, that’s how things are for a fair comparison.

    • read

      Why did you make this comment before reading the replies here? This has been discussed several times.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Fair comparison of what?

  • YoMomma2000

    Apples to Oranges…you can’t compare a phone to a desktop….idiotic article

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I certainly can and I did.

    • Walt French

      I remember my high school essay assignments as being “compare and contrast X with Y.” You may not realize that a comparison can only be done between two somehow commensurable, but different objects.

      You obviously think phones and desktops are different, but have missed the fact that they are commensurable in price, connectivity to the internet, capable of standalone processing, used by hundreds of millions for reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, etc.

  • JeffColorado

    LOL…so the graph is basically telling us that Windows PCs are still outselling Macs by a GINORMOUS margin. People who think iPhones are analogous to PCs simply have no clue. They do completely different things. You will not be writing a term paper on your iPhone unless you are a masochist or extremely desperate.

    • Walt French

      Thank you, Captain Obvious!

      PS: the point has been discussed on this blog oh, about a thousand times or so. How usage of smartphones has managed to displace usage of older, highly-refined technologies is in fact a key theme of this site.

      So you could almost say that people who think that people here think iPhones are analogous to PCs haven’t been reading much smart writing the past 5 years or so.

    • DKJordan

      Yes but a lot of people used to buy to boy PC’s, not for writing term papers, but for minor things like checking email, facebook and looking at the web once in a while. Remember netbooks? Those poxy little things with the processing power of a low end smartphone that were used to do those very things that we now do from the palm of our hand?

      The point is, the paradigm has shifted. In 2005, if you wanted to be online, you needed a PC – period. In 2013 everyone is online from a mobile device and it turns out, the % of the total who ever needed true computing capabilities was tiny. That may not apply to you and certainly not me, but it does apply to the majority.

    • JaneDoe12

      The smartphone is a PC to a fraction of users. In the US, about 25% of users connect to the internet mostly with their phone and 9% do not have another way to connect when at home [1]. There’s a similar story in emerging economies. For example, in rural South Africa mobile phones provide internet access and beginning in 2012, banking services too. There are 22 million earning less than ZAR 3,000 a month ($282 US dollars) and of that figure, 66 percent without bank accounts. But Standard Bank began using an SAP app to offer their services to the previously “unbanked.” [2]

      1. Smith A. Smartphones as an internet appliance. Pew Internet.July 11, 2011.
      http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones/Section-2/Smartphones-as-an-internet-appliance.aspx
      2. Standard Bank and SAP Bring Mobile Banking to Over Half A Million “Flip Phone” Customers in South Africa. SAP AG. February 14, 2013.
      http://global.sap.com/corporate-en/news.epx?PressID=20415

    • TAH2

      I think you’ve missed the industry debate for the last 5 years. 5 Years ago, Steve Jobs said PC are trucks iPhones/iPads are cars. Everybody needs a car, but only a few people need a work truck. Ballmer freaked out when presented with this statement, and said “no way” PCs aren’t going anywhere.

      But Jobs was completely right. Most people only need a smart phone and tablet, and the PC market has been in decline ever since. And microsoft has been failing to gain a significant piece of the new marketplace. This is what this article is about

  • fabriceh

    The “raw” data interpretation here is that unit sales of Apple computing products now equal units of Windows computing products. Certainly this is a tipping point, but for now with implications for sales channels?
    I’m having trouble inferring more than that…we already know that PC sales are dwarfed by smartphones. We already know that Apple makes more $ from iPhone alone than all of Msft revenues combined.

    What could be interesting is to see actual population reach of Apple vs Msft. How do Apple and Msft compare in terms of active users? How do the Apple sales figure at parity to Msft impact the installed base?
    In a world of 1B PC users dominated by Windows (98%+ share), what footprint does Apple now have? If you define the “computing universe” to be PCs + Tablets + Smartphones, what would be the total user base and how would it split between platform and between brands (Msft vs Apple vs Google?).
    Apple’s Mac installed base is still pretty small (50 million users WW). Chromebooks are growing to 10% in (US?) unit sales but represent a tiny portion of the installed base. Erosion of the Windows PC installed base comes as the PC replacement rate drops and PCs are being retired in favor of tablets or smartphones.
    Is the installed base a blend of devices and brands? Or are we seeing growing division across HW platform or brand lines (ie. people abandoning Windows PC altogether to adopt Apple or Google multi-device solutions)?

    • charly

      Apple is way to expensive for it to have a major share of the user base so it will never be on par with an important MS

      • fabriceh

        Apple did own 90% of a previous big digital market – mp3 players. That is what put Apple back on the map 10 years ago.

        Apple so far has chosen to adopt a premium strategy for iPhone. That could change if they expanded the iPhone line in the same manner they did the iPod line. They could grab substantial market share and give Samsung a run for its money.

        Apple’s premium pricing is slowing its share, but should Msft’s irrelevance persist in Mobile, it would see its overall base share drop significantly and quickly – the Smartphone market being an order of magnitude larger than the PC market.

      • charly

        mp3 players was a market with a very limited life expectancy which gave Apple a gigantic first mover advantage but if the iphone wouldn’t have been a success than Apple would now be left with only selling Mac’s

        Msft isn’t irrelevant in mobile phones. It is small and in the high single digits which will make them number 2 in a few years. They also have an attractive market niche (cheap but not to cheap) for must have apps. And they own the tablet that can be used as PC market. Especially the lower end of that market. Smartphones are to small to be useful. phablets is the market to own in the long run.

      • Walt French

        “ mp3 players was a market with a very limited life expectancy…”

        Dang, @charly, IIRC you keep citing these things that were obvious to you 10 years ago, that nobody else seemingly was aware of.

        “…but if the iphone wouldn’t have been a success than Apple would now be left with only selling Mac’s” [sic]

        Yet despite Apple essentially betting the company on the iPhone, its success was a question for you.

        Maybe on your blog or somewhere you have a list of 10 things that you see as blindingly obvious, that others were oblivious to? Or vice-versa, acknowledging that some things that are worthwhile to Apple, are invisible to everybody else?

        Much obliged.

      • charly

        Everybody who looked at it was aware that when flash would be cheap enough every mobile phone would double as an mp3 player. Claims that this is high futurology are off. Even my 5 year old $20 contractless samsung has an mp3 player included (why when the phone has in total only 1 megabit of storage is for me a big question)

  • Andrew in Florida

    What is a “Windows PC Shipment”? And, how many PC’s are built by users…. and do those count? What about Non-window PC’s? (Chrome, Umbatu, etc). Not sure this is apples-to-apples (pardon the pun).