Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
10/14/2009
08:31 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
Commentary
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Windows 7: Good For The Mac?

As the release date of Windows 7 approaches, even longtime Mac fans praise the successor to Vista, raising the question yet again of the effect on Mac marketshare. A new report suggests that Windows 7 might just help the Mac, no matter how good it is.

As the release date of Windows 7 approaches, even longtime Mac fans praise the successor to Vista, raising the question yet again of the effect on Mac marketshare. A new report suggests that Windows 7 might just help the Mac, no matter how good it is.The near-simultaneous release of upgrades to both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X (i.e., Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, respectively) has generated a lot of discussion about marketshare. Will Snow Leopard's added support for standard enterprise technologies such as Microsoft Exchange entice more businesses to move away from Windows? (Survey says: No.) Will Windows 7's improvements, lauded by longtime Mac fan Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, slow the growth in Mac marketshare? I have previously argued that the Mac's growth was not dependent on the quality the current version of Windows, and data compiled in a new report from Broadpoint.AmTech bears that out.

More From bMighty:

The report, put together by Brian Marshall and Dinesh Moorjani, presents Broadpoint.AmTech's stock recommendation for Apple (it's "buy") along with supporting data. One section looks at "the potential pmpact of MSFT's Windows 7 Launch on AAPL." The authors write that they "went back over the last 10 years and analyzed the impact of major Microsoft operating systems (OS) launches and the associated impact on Apple's Mac computing sales (both notebook and desktop)," specifically focusing on Windows 98, 2000, XP, and Vista. Their conclusion: "no negative correlation exists on AAPL's hardware sales when Microsoft launches a new OS. Ironically, we believe new OS launches from MSFT may have even acted as a 'delayed accelerant' to AAPL's computing sales." In other words, said Marshall in an e-mail, "after an msft os launch, aapl's mac sales take off." The following graph (courtesy of Broadpoint.AmTech) shows the change in Mac marketshare from 1998 to the present and notes the release dates of Windows during that period:

This may be a sort of "make the pie higher" effect, by which a new Windows release stimulates the technology market across the board, to the benefit of Macs as well as Windows PCs. Marshall and Moorjani don't draw that conclusion, however. Their opinion is that "AAPL's success (or failure) in the computing market is largely idiosyncratic (or company-specific) in nature and not dependent on others in the industry." Marshall explains that "aapl's pc success is largely company driven but clearly they don't compete in a vacuum," so there may be some effect from Microsoft's actions.

The implication is that Apple's marketshare is likely to keep rising, no matter what Microsoft does. In fact, the authors think Apple could double its global share over the next five years. On the way, they think Apple could sell 40 percent more notebooks next year than this, and 7 percent more desktops. Part of that growth will probably come from SMBs, among which growth in Mac ownership is "on the incline," according to a ChannelWeb interview with Apple distributors.

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