Apple's Mac Strategy

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By GDPerks
May 1, 2006

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Apple/Jobs in the past has said:

- iPods are the best mp3 player for Windows users
- iTunes is the best Windows app ever
- It's nice not to have a 5% market share ceiling
- In the 80s/90s Apple should have gone for maximum market share, not short-term profits.

Clearly, today, Apple is going for market share with iPod. What are they doing with the Mac? How can they escape from the 5% ceiling?

My thesis:
With Intel & BootCamp, Apple is trying to maximize market share for Macs. This summer at WWDC Apple can say:
- Macs are the best hardware to run Windows
- Macs are also the best hardware to run Unix
- Mac OS X is the best OS
- Every OS maker wants to be the underlying OS that virtualizes the others
- With Leopard's Virtual PC style "Rosetta for Switchers", Mac OS X is the best way to run your other OS', including Windows
- iLife is the best way to run your digital lifestyle, and it's only on Mac OS X

By making Macs the best hardware to run Windows, Apple is freeing itself from the Mac OS X market share ceiling for hardware sales. Apple makes *great* hardware at really good prices, now for Windows users too. Mac OS X and iLife come free with every Mac: more people will try out Mac OS X. Typically, people who try OS X become switchers. Mac OS X market share grows and Apple sells them iWork, iLife upgrades, and more Macs (I know how that goes :)

It's a great strategy that pits Apple against other PC manufacturers whom Apple has been unable to directly compete with in the past. With Apple's mind share, stores, and great hardware, expect them to make gains in hardware sales. Look at the other guys- the hardware is ugly and undifferentiated; their retail distributions (if they have any) aren't staffed by Geniuses. It's a huge market that Apple's exceptional hardware deserves a bigger share of. And not just in the consumer space. We could see XServes running Mac OS X-based Unix server software, simultaneously hosting virtualized Windows server software - this year. Amazing.

It's a great strategy that Microsoft knows well: Embrace and Extend. OS X and Mac hardware already supplies the extension; Windows - and beige boxes - you're about to get embraced.


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