Apple's Growth Is Slowing? Bah!

You call this an efficient market? Puh-leeze. A credit crunch sinks Lehman Brothers, Buffett buys preferred shares of General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) on the cheap, and investors dump Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) after a pair of analyst downgrades.

If that's efficiency at work, I'm the new right fielder for the New York Yankees.

Consider Apple; it's doing as well as it ever has. Computerworld reports that during September, Macs made up 8.2% of the computers that accessed the 40,000 sites monitored by researcher Net Applications. It's the first time Apple's operating system has grabbed at least 8% of that market.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , meanwhile, is still far and away the leader, thanks to top PC sellers Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) . Yet in terms of market share, Mr. Softy is backsliding. Net Applications says that Windows systems have lost 1.5 percentage points of share since the beginning of the year. The good news? Not everyone hates Vista. The beleaguered operating system's share is growing versus XP and on pace to grab 20% of the market by November or early December, according to Computerworld.

But Apple's success is the bigger story, even if it isn't all that surprising. In July, a survey of 700 executives and corporate technology specialists found that eight in 10 businesses used Macs in some form. Better still, longtime users were relying on far more Macs than they had previously. Others were buying Macs to run Windows because of Apple's superior hardware design. Maybe that's why Net Applications says that Apple's share of the market has risen 58% over the past two years.

Apple's revenue growth is slowing? Maybe so. But it's anything other than efficient to sell a reasonably priced winner when it's still winning big.

Take a golden delicious bite of related Foolishness:

  • Wall Street was wrong about Apple in July, and it's wrong now.
  • Dell wants market share first. Profits can come later.
  • Can Mr. Mac pull out of this tailspin?

Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. Dell and Microsoft are Inside Value picks.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers still thinks Firefox is the best Mac browser. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication but hunts for the best of tech as a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers team. Try this market-beating service free for 30 days. Get access to all of Tim's Foolish writings here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy doesn't get mad, it gets even.


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