When Apple entered into the personal computer market in the late 1970s, it was truly a small-time contender next to industry behemoth IBM. Fast-forward 35 years and Apple, in spite of having a great reputation and loyal customer base, has still only captured 11.5% of the personal computer market, according to Forbes. But times are changing.
Today “using a computer” is not limited to sitting at a desktop machine or laptop. Most of the computing tasks that can be accomplished on a PC can also be done on a smartphone, a tablet or another internet-ready mobile device. And that’s where Apple is really making an impact. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the combined sales of Apple laptops, desktops, iPhones and iPads surpassed that of Windows PCs.
When you add in the sale numbers of Windows PCs and Windows Phones, Apple still lags behind – but not by much. And if you look at the growth trends of Macs and iOS devices, you can see that the number sold has increased almost nine times since 2009 while Windows PC sales have remained steady.
Stats: PC Sales Only
If it seems a little unfair to include the popular iPhone in Apple’s sale numbers, we can go ahead and remove it from the picture. That doesn’t, however, make the situation look any rosier for the Windows PC. Strictly by PC sales alone, Apple comes in as the third-most popular seller of desktop and laptop computers in the U.S. after Hewlett-Packard and Dell, according to the International Data Corporation. HP estimates, however, a decline in PC sales for Q4 2013 and Dell estimates only about one-fourth of Apple’s 28.5% sales growth during that time.
Overall there is a 7.5% decline in PC sales. With the rising popularity of tablets and smartphones, the Windows PC is king of a slowly shrinking kingdom.
The Overall Personal Computer Market
In the spirit of being fair, keep in mind this comparison is only between Windows and Apple. When it comes to the mobile computing market, the Android operating system is significantly more popular than iOS. Therefore the overall personal computing market, including mobile, is really more diverse and balanced. Windows might also have some opportunities to make gains with dual Android- and Windows-powered mobile devices. It’s hard to know what the future will bring, but Apple has made an impressive gain on Windows.
Photo by felixtriller
Charts by Benedict Evans, International Data Corporation