PC vs Mac ratio narrows PDF Print E-mail

While PC sales have consistently outpaced Mac sales, the gap between Microsoft and Apple products has been narrowing significantly since 2004.

This is according to new research by Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, who has tracked the ratio of PC to Mac sales since 1984, when the Mac was first released. At the time, PCs outsold the Mac by a factor of nearly six. From that point on, the ratio by which PCs outsold Macs only increased, with the release of Windows 95 helping the market to take off.

“During the second half of the 90s, it was already clear that Windows won the PC platform war. Windows had an advantage that seemed insurmountable,” says Dediu.

The ratio of PC to Mac sales reached a peak of 56:1 in 2004, with 182.5 million PCs sold, as opposed to just 3.25 million Macs. In the same year, Dediu notes, something changed.

“Although PC volumes continued to grow, they did so more slowly and the Mac grew faster. What coincided with this was the emergence of portable computing. The MacBook became easily differentiable as a 'better' laptop. It was not faster, did not have more storage or any key metrics being used to sell PCs. It was just better as an integrated product.”

“Although PC volumes continued to grow, they did so more slowly and the Mac grew faster. What coincided with this was the emergence of portable computing. The MacBook became easily differentiable as a 'better' laptop. It was not faster, did not have more storage or any key metrics being used to sell PCs. It was just better as an integrated product.”

Since then, the Mac has been closing in on Windows' advantage. The gap closed to 20:1 last year – the same ratio was last recorded in 1985.

“The ratio of Windows to Mac units shipped fell to below 20, a level that was last reached before Windows 95 launched. It's as if the Mac reversed the Windows advantage,” says Dediu, adding that the ratio is reduced even more significantly, to below two, when Apple's other devices such as the iPad and iPhone are included.

“Seen this way, Post-PC devices wiped out of leverage faster than it was originally built. They not only reversed the advantage but cancelled it altogether.”

Dediu says it's safe to expect a “parity” of iOS and OS X devices versus Windows within one or two years. “The consequences are dire for Microsoft. The wiping out of any platform advantage around Windows will render it vulnerable to direct competition. This is not something it had to worry about before.”

Dediu's analysis and accompanying graphs can be seen here.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Gusvdw
...
written by Gusvdw, July 05, 2012
Brilliant article but you have 2 of the same paragraphs. starting Although PC volumes continued to grow, they did so more slowly and the Mac grew faster.

I am glad to see that Apple is closing the competition but that may change with Microsoft releasing the Surface Tablet. Although MS has failed in Hardware before this may actually be the one thing that pays off.

Guess we will have to wait and see hey...

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