If my excitement over Apple Computers recent spate of activity is delusional, it seems to be symptomatic of a mass psychosis—at least judging from the flood of responses my last column provoked.
In that installment, I took a look at Apples aggressive new advertising campaign aimed at Windows users as well as the companys latest steps to focus its sales and marketing to the education and server markets.
Combined with lively turnover in its hardware lines and the robust cross-platform standards on tap for this summers major rev to the Unix-based Mac OS X, I mused aloud that Apple might finally be on track to pick up a few points of market share—perhaps even within the long-forgotten enterprise. (The recent rumblings Ive gotten that Julys Macworld Expo/New York will finally see radically redesigned, mid-GHz pro desktop systems will immeasurably boost that industrial-strength appeal.)
Ive got a few reasons to be biased toward this scenario: My own household has made a significant investment in Mac gear, I still enjoy tracking the company and using its products more than the competition, and I happen to believe that Apples efforts contribute to a robustly heterogeneous OS ecosystem.
However, Microsoft is still the big predator in that environment, and it will continue to top the food chain for the foreseeable future, at least on the desktop. Wooing corporate and institutional customers beyond the graphics department wont be an easy task, as a variety of IT pros made painfully clear to eWEEKs Ken Popovich in a recent story about the Xserves enterprise prospects.
However, Im pleased at the enthusiasm voiced by eWEEK readers in the scores of e-mails I received over the past week. Many of them expressed well-founded concerns about Apples track record in supporting education customers (currently its largest institutional market) and about its ability to follow through on this new campaign.
Nevertheless, there seem to be plenty of cross-platform-savvy computer users who share my belief that the next 12 months could see Apple claim a significantly larger sliver of the PC pie.
Heres a small sampling of reader responses:
Im one of those Windows diehards/IT professionals who have migrated (at least in the notebook arena) to the Mac. Just a little over a year ago if I accidentally wandered into the Mac section of the computer store, I needed to almost rush home and take a shower! Little did I know that in just a bit over a year I would be addicted to one myself.
I probably would not have touched a Mac without it actually running Unix, a respectable, preemptive-multitasking OS. Apple has a good product. I wish they would see themselves between Linux and Sun-like OS in the marketplace. I dont want to hear from writers and graphic artists about Mac—give me the IT pros and "real" business people! The adds are a start, but theres a long way to go to not look like Macs are still adult toys.
Andrew A. Barzyk
Interface Computer Communications