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New Report Tries to Show that Apple is Beating Microsoft... The Raw Data Shows Something Different

by on06 July 2012 1784 times

Apple and their supporters love to have fun with numbers and statistics. One of the recent ones that has caught our eye is that ratio of Macs to PCs. I have seen titles that claim the PC is dead (again) and that the new numbers are “killing” Microsoft and a ton of other crap that is as ridiculous as the titles are fantastic. However, this is nothing new for Apple (or really any company, but Apple is the king of this type of spin). They love to work the numbers in any direction they can. They take the terms median, mean, and mode to a new level (all of those are methods of finding an “average”).

To give you an example let’s take a look at the recent issue with the broken Fairplay DRM that was corrupting App Store downloads. According to Apple a small number of people were affected… According to reports the number of people affected is between 20,000 and 50,000 with at least 120 apps affected. That is a lot of people and apps. However, Apple can say a small number because in relation to the number of iDevice owners it is a very small percentage.  The same thing happened with the iPod. At one point there were a number of cases reported where the batteries would get hot and split (they never actually exploded). The number of reported cases ran up into the 50-60k range and again Apple stated the “small number of users” line, but to those 50,000 people it was a big deal.

In the opposite realm Apple has used raw numbers in their presentation when it suits them. Often these raw numbers are small percentages of the market (even their own). Now this is fine and almost every company does this to put the data forward in a way that makes them look best. What I do not like (I find it a tad unprofessional) is when the media does the same thing to push an agenda.

In the recent posts showing the ration between Macs and PCs we saw figures that ranged from 2:1 up to 35:1. What is funny about these numbers is they are all numbers of “units shipped” they do not cover market share where Windows still has a significant advantage over Apple. In June of this year Windows had an advantage of 84.14% of the market Vs a combined market share (Macs and iPads) of only 5.79%... So we are not sure where these statistics are being used to show how Apple is “killing” Microsoft. Put bluntly the data is being used in a very misleading manner. Some sites quoting this ratio are including both the iPhone and iPad. Neither of these is a comparison to a PC. Adding them in is disingenuous at best.

I do not know of anyone that has replaced their PC or Mac with an iPad or iPhone. They are and always will be companion devices. So removing them we find that Windows still enjoys a healthy 20:1 lead in units shipped. This is down from an all-time high of 54:1, but also represents an over saturation in the market and a lack of innovation in the general market. Apple shipments of Macs have not increased, shipments of systems with Windows pre-installed has. Another issue here is that it does not cover the number of PCs that are shipped without an OS. There are many people that will buy a PC from Dell, HP etc. without an OS installed so they can install XP on it. I know of several companies that do this on a regular basis. This is because they have not yet moved to Windows 7 (and might not). The study does not account for these systems which still represent the install base of Microsoft devices.

In the end the “new” data and report comes at a time when Microsoft is gearing up for a new OS and new products. There is something that one of my instructors in the military once said to me that has always stuck with me; “when you see something ask yourself; why is it there?” So why is the new report here? It is here in an attempt to impact investor and consumer confidence.  The fact that is has been picked up like it has is another worrisome trend, but that is for another article.

You can read the original report here

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Last modified on 06 July 2012
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