“Mac sales; always been small fry compared to Windows PCs. iPhone sales; well on the way to being small fry compared to Android phones. iPod sales; falling through the floor. iPad sales; insignificant compared to PCs. Inevitable result; just a matter of time before Apple are beleaguered again. Irrelevant companies eventually disappear, and there's none more irrelevant than Apple...
'Apple computers: Proudly going out of business since 1977'
Once upon a time...
There was a time, particularly around the mid-1990s, when Apple's future looked bleak. After a series of bad decisions, bad management, an unclear direction, so-so products, and Microsoft having its golden era, Apple were haemorrhaging market share, market value and customers. Apple's name could not be uttered without the word "Beleaguered" being attached, and everyone in the computer industry expected them to go the way of all the other non-Microsoft affiliated PC manufacturers, such as Commodore, Atari and Acorn.
But they didn't. They weathered the storm, and not only pulled though, but with their co-founder Steve Jobs back at the helm, they went on to diversify and grow into one of the healthiest companies in Silicon Valley.
Granted, things can and do change. And those who don't adapt become extinct. Apple's fortunes could degrade in the future, or indeed go on to be even more successful. Just as any other big technology company could, such as Microsoft or Google or Hewlett-Packard. But unfortunately, what the future intends to bring, the crystal ball isn't that specific.
That ye olde market share argument
Hovering at around the substantially-sub-10% market share in PC sales (exact number depending on which way you look at it) may not sound too impressive, and indeed wouldn't be if computer sales worldwide ran into the mere hundreds; but that percentage of hundreds of million of units sold per annum, is hardly small fry.
As a platform, sub-10% puts the Mac at a very distant 2nd place behind the Microsoft steamroller. But that level of sales also puts Apple in, or close to being in the top 5 biggest shifters of PCs in the world, with only Dell and Hewlett-Packard currently well ahead. That's a position most other PC manufacturers would be envious of. And is particularly impressive when you consider they don't even make any models that you could particularly call 'budget'.
See also reason 33
And of course, all that is just in terms of number of boxes shifted. That's not even looking at Apple Inc's profitability and overall market value. From that perspective, they're profitable, solvent, they sell everything they can make, and are worth more as a company than many of their competitors who sell many more PC boxes than they do. This all thanks in no small part to the highly successful diversification into digital music and movies via the iTunes Store, and portable consumer devices such as iPod, iPhone and iPad, supported by their huge curated ecosystem of apps.
Gimmie some numbers!
Okay, some numbers. Latest quarterly results for the 2nd quarter of 2011 shows Apple doing $24.67 billion in revenue garnering profits of $5.99 billion; an increase of 95% from the previous year. Oh yeah! They're in big trouble!
Included in that are sales of 3.76 million Macintosh computers; an increase of 28% from the previous year. Hardly worth getting out of bed for!
If there is any evidence that Apple Inc. are imminently destined to join that big technology scrapyard in the sky, it certainly doesn't appear to be in these numbers. Wishful thinking of their competitors perhaps?
So in summary...
...the technology industry doesn't stand still. What is popular today is tomorrow's dinosaur. And unlike some Goliaths of the technology world, Apple has historically shown a willingness to adapt, diversify and innovate. The results speak for themselves. Apple today is one of the biggest, most profitable companies in the world, and is showing every sign it intends to stay that way.
If this is the definition of a company destined to go to the wall, then I'd like to be this unsuccessful!
Page content last updated 24 April 2011