Originally Posted by CharlesS
Wow, what a great rebuttal. I'm utterly convinced by that.
There may have once been a market for non-expandable desktop machines, but nowadays those customers are increasingly going for laptops instead. If what you're getting is functionally equivalent to a laptop anyway, why not just get a laptop and have that portability?
Let me try to explain this in a way that you might understand. Now I know that there are a bunch of people who insist that any analogy automatically sucks if it has a car in it. To those people I say just bear with me for a minute, okay? Try to listen to what I have to say, and maybe even understand it.
Suppose you have a well-beloved car company with a fanatical user base. This car company offers a wide range of automobiles, until one day when they decide to offer only these choices: 1) a cheap, tiny, Smart Car-like vehicle (yes, I know that real Smart Cars aren't that cheap. Bear with me for a moment) which is very efficient but has no frills, no luxuries, a V4 engine, and no cargo space or passenger space to speak of (Mac mini), 2) a mid-range sports car with lots of creature comforts, great handling and speed, but still no cargo space or passenger space (iMac), and 3) a massive, Hummer-sized tank with a V10 engine, way more space than most people would ever need, terrible fuel economy, tons of really expensive luxuries including built-in entertainment systems and everything, and costing the price of a small house.
Now, consider your average Joe customer. He's not rich, but he has maybe a couple of kids that he needs to drive to school and back, so he needs a car with a back seat, which neither the Smart car nor the sports car have, and maybe he wants to go to the grocery store once in a while to buy food and other generic supplies. Is he going to mortgage his house just to be able to afford the Hummer, or is he going to go buy a normal freaking car from one of the company's competitors? And what would this mean for the company? Ultimately, this company would have a low market share made up primarily of 1) the most basic users who don't need anything more than what the lowest-end car offers, and 2) their existing fanatical enthusiast user base, who will either a) just suck it up and buy the Hummer to get access to basic abilities that the competitors offer in normal cars costing less than our company's mid-range sports car, or b) settle for the sports car, install a spoiler on it, and just force the kids to sit on the back of the car and hang onto the spoiler real tight. Of course, some of these enthusiasts are going to get fed up and go to the competition, causing a gradual dwindling in market share, and the company's not going to gain
much market share, because the other car companies' users are going to be turned off by the lack of features in the first two models that they can get from the other guys for a tiny percentage of the price of the Hummer. If this car company would
offer a normal, non-huge car with a little non-monstrous amount of space, for a reasonable price, a lot of the other guys' customers might actually be able to buy one instead of only being tempted.
Look at Apple's recent market share gains - I'll bet that most of those gains are attributable to laptops, the one market segment where none of this matters. Apple's desktop machines haven't sold all that well for some time now. The reason is that Apple doesn't deliver what people expect in a desktop machine. Sometimes you just want a normal freaking car.