I think Alyce and I both agree that "the iPod's success has been the prime driver of Apple's amazing growth." Also, I think we agree that the company's iTV and iPhone ideas hold promise. But those businesses remain corollary to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) core identity as a computer company, and so it's that business I'll focus on here.

Let's examine three of Alyce's assertions:

  • "Apple has always been good at providing a system many people find more elegant and user-friendly than Windows and communicating the perception that to get a better product, you pay a higher price."
  • "Apple's stubborn refusal to compete much on price is finally going to work in its favor. Consumers are infinitely more tech-savvy than they were, say, 10 years ago, and less intimidated by technology."
  • "Recent data from Gartner showed that Mac is taking market share from Windows machines."

Well put. But the facts suggest otherwise. Sure, Apple is taking market share -- less than 1% over the last year. Big whoop. I mean, the Mac has been around since 1984. After 22 years of trying, this "better product," which is "more elegant and user-friendly than Windows," still can't get one person in 20 to "pay a higher price."

Why not? Perhaps because, as Alyce says, consumers are getting more tech-savvy. Apple's "hook," after all, has always been that it's easy to use - intuitive, even -- in comparison to what we used to call the "IBM clones." But if consumers are savvy enough to handle a PC these days, and the PC is cheaper . well, I suspect that helps to explain Apple's mere 4.8% market share.

Putting Windows software on a Mac doesn't solve Apple's market-share problem. All it does is turn a Mac into an overpriced PC. Poetic, since Apple is an overpriced stock.

Wait! Think you're done? You're not! Go back and read the other arguments, then vote for the winner of this Duel.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position, short or long, in any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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