Helping Switchers

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Date: Wednesday, December 11th, 2002, 01:00
Category: Archive

The Switchers advertising campaign has caught people’s attention and focuses on the number one problem facing Apple today. At less than 5 percent of the personal computer market, the platform is too small to be truly successful. For years I have suggested that the healthy number for Apple is about 10 percent. This would yield some serious improvements in software availability and support for peripherals. The road to 10 percent would be paved with gold for Apple. Cost of development and support would only go up marginally as revenue doubled.

I am convinced that the recent doubling of profit margins by Microsoft on their Windows OS and Office productivity suite could not be better timed to feed into Apple’s gambit to increase market share. This is part of the classic monopoly strategy of raising prices after eliminating most of the competition. Milking the company’s cash cows will certainly weaken unit sales in the long run, even though the cash coming in will nearly double initially. Much like AT&T after the breakup, Microsoft is looking to move into new markets while subsidizing the initial losses with their monopoly money.

Interestingly, several friends have suggested that they might switch. The big stumbling block for them is the cost of purchasing full versions of Microsoft Office and Photoshop. When they asked about potential pitfalls, I mentioned that small volume specialty software often does not make it to the Mac as well as drivers for many peripherals. Neither of these pose particular problems for these potential switchers.

During the dark days before the return of Jobs, I stopped suggesting that people consider the Mac, mainly because they would just laugh and ask if I was serious or suggest that Apple was about to go out of business. I am now in the position to help some folks make the move, in both cases to G4 PowerBooks.

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