Some observers think Apple should be quailing in fear of the inexpensive computers Google Chrome OS will make possible. But new data indicates that Mac users are still willing to pay whatever Apple premium there may be.
Some observers think Apple should be quailing in fear of the inexpensive computers Google Chrome OS will make possible. But new data indicates that Mac users are still willing to pay whatever Apple premium there may be.In a post yesterday, I covered some of the speculation about what the Google Chrome OS might mean for Apple and Macs. One of the themes was the perceived cost of Macs, and whether computers running Chrome OS will be popular enough and cheap enough to dent the Mac's marketshare. (Basically, my conclusion was that regardless of the price of hardware, until Chrome could compete with OS X, the Mac wasn't in trouble.)
The "Macs cost too much" meme just won't go away, though. Computerworld came up with another "expert" who thinks that Apple's laptops are too expensive and that Chrome OS will force the company to address the low-price market. The thing is, though, that we've been hearing that ever since the economy took a downturn. "Sure, people will pay the 'Mac tax' in good times, but Macs just cost too much when people are on tight budgets." This was also the underlying message of the Microsoft "laptop hunter" ads.
Well, recent sales data contradicts those predictions. Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty issued a report last week that said Mac shipments grew 25 percent in May, compared to 1 percent for the PC market as a whole. And that was before the refresh of (and price reduction on) the Macbook Pro line. All of this led Huberty to call Apple the computer vendor with "the most upside" for the rest of the year. It doesn't look like tightening budgets bode worse for Apple than other manufacturers after all.
In that case, why should Chrome OS make a difference, especially to businesses? So maybe a Chrome OS netbook will cost $250, as some predict. I can already go buy a Dell Vostro netbook running Linux for $275; for that matter, I can buy a full-size Inspiron laptop running Vista for $500. If prices like that haven't pulled the rug out from under the Mac market, it's doubtful that the chance to save another $25 or even $250 on a limited-purpose machine is going to.
Combine that with the good case made by a bMighty reader for why small businesses should and will continue to rely mostly on desktop PCs, and it just strengthens my confidence that Mac-using SMBs should plan to continue being Mac-using SMBs well into the future.
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