Mac small business share nearly triples over the summer

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Even as many home buyers recently suddenly became shy about buying Apple computers in mid-year, small businesses just as quickly took to Macs -- to the point where Apple's market share in that field grew three times larger almost overnight.



Reporting back to investors, Needham Co. analyst Charlie Wolf notes that Apple moved from selling just 61,000 Macs to small businesses in the spring to 188,000 in the three months of Apple's summer quarter ended in September.



The gain boosted Apple's share of the field from a modest 1.9 percent during the earlier season to a significant 5.6 percent in summer. It was enough to not only give Apple a new level of influence but also to carry the company through a tough period: where Mac shipments to regular home buyers suddenly cooled in growth from 53.6 percent quarter-to-quarter from the spring to just 9.1 percent in the summer, the small business spike represented nearly all of Apple's Mac growth at about 97 percent of systems leaving warehouses and shelves.



Such a rapid move is odd for Apple, which has often fought to make any headway in a normally Windows-dominated crowd; it's inexplicable enough that Wolf himself doesn't have a simplified answer.



"After years when the Mac's share of this market barely budged, the increase was so abrupt that there are no obvious explanations for it," he says.



The answer offered is instead a complex one based on Apple's long-term efforts. The cost-effectiveness of Mac OS X Server, Xserves, the Xsan storage system and Apple Remote Desktop all established a foundation but have themselves never made much of an impact.



It's rather a combination of software and retail that has given Apple the sudden rush of customers, the Needham researcher claims. With Boot Camp now a permanent feature as of Leopard and supported by the increasing use of Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion -- both of which can now run Mac OS X virtual machines as well as Windows and Linux -- smaller companies can run a second operating system and ease the pain of converting some or all of their operations to the Mac platform.



Retail strategies are also seen helping the Mac's inroads. A large number of Apple retail shops now specifically include small business courses and also set aside greater resources as a whole just to these customers. That relatively new devotion to business has "begun to bear fruit," Wolf notes.



He also observes that Apple's sudden drop in overall growth during the summer, which also included education, is potentially just a very temporary glitch and hid an imminent rush.



While again the drop was mysterious enough to have no clear explanation, Wolf believes the flattened growth in Mac numbers may well have stemmed from customers waiting on expected new MacBooks that didn't ultimately ship until mid-October. This had a spring-loaded effect with sales in October compensating for the earlier drop.



Wolf further suggests the dip may have come from a sudden "fad" for netbooks that particularly affected students returning to college as well as concerns over then-high gas prices and recessionary fears.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While again the drop was mysterious enough to have no clear explanation, Wolf believes the flattened growth in Mac numbers may well have stemmed from customers waiting on expected new MacBooks that didn't ultimately ship until mid-October.



    Nothing mysterious about this! Sales drop before an announcement as regular as clockwork, especially an announcement as overdue as the macbooks were.
  • Reply 2 of 42
    Guess that means small business owners are three times smarter than big corp IT chiefs.
  • Reply 3 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EyeNsteinNo View Post


    Guess that means small business owners are three times smarter than big corp IT chiefs.



    Nothing surprising or mysterious about that either
  • Reply 4 of 42
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,062member
    It's been a bad year for the resident Apple bashers in this forum. All the predictions of abject failure because of (insert favorite deal-breaking, must-have, no-go missing feature, port, or function) just haven't panned out for them. Sad, quite sad.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    It's because small business owners have families, and their families use Macs at home and school, so they can see that Macs are good.



    Big Corporate IT chiefs, on the other hand, have no families, and never even get outside. It's no wonder they're married to Windows.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    I recently worked on an internal commercial for a small company that creates interactive graphics for kiosks.



    In their office their desktops were all Dells. Because the development software they use runs on Windows. But they all had MacBook Pros and iPhones, for their portable needs.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    tbagginstbaggins Posts: 2,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider


    Wolf further suggests the dip may have come from a sudden "fad" for netbooks that particularly affected students returning to college as well as concerns over then-high gas prices and recessionary fears.





    But are netbooks "just a fad"?



    I dunno. Seems a bit early to tell.



    Meanwhile, Gartner's saying 50 million netbooks might be shipped in 2012, FWTW:



    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/217917/n...n-by-2012.html





    ...
  • Reply 8 of 42
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,140member
    Many of the CIOs I visit have Mac notebooks and have had even pre-Intel I reckon most of this is consumer halo than platform shift. I wouldn't expect any major corporate invasion soon but for small-businesses they make sense.



    Of course if you count MIS as a 'small business' within an enterprise the dynamic & the prospects become interesting for Apple. IT always swallows/kills IS after declaring it unsupportable & prone but what if the OSX systems were more reliable than the main IT systems? OSX offers functionality and inherent reliability right in MIS' sweet-spot. A chink in corporate IT's armour and one which Apple may be inclined to exploit.



    McD
  • Reply 9 of 42
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    At $200-$300, they aren't very difficult to sell. Will they make a profitable long term business is more the question.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


    .

    Meanwhile, Gartner's saying 50 million netbooks might be shipped in 2012, FWTW:



    ...



  • Reply 10 of 42
    tbagginstbaggins Posts: 2,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    At $200-$300, they aren't very difficult to sell. Will they make a profitable long term business is more the question.





    More like $300-500, at least for the most popular ones I see over at Amazon.



    Will it be a lasting market segment? We really don't know. But a major worldwide recession is a perfect environment for something like this to establish itself, no doubt.

    Price will be a big deal for awhile... maybe not for us hardcore Apple maniacs, but for the consumer market as a whole? Yeah.



    Will Apple choose to compete in this segment? Not conventionally, I'd think. Steve loves himself some margins. So if they did, you'd think it'd be with something more 'iPhone-y' than 'notebook-y', if you follow my drift.





    ...
  • Reply 11 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


    Will Apple choose to compete in this segment? Not conventionally, I'd think. Steve loves himself some margins. So if they did, you'd think it'd be with something more 'iPhone-y' than 'notebook-y', if you follow my drift.

    ...



    I agree, cocoa touch will power the 'netbook' when it arrives. I'm placing bets on early 2009, depending on which processor they are holding out for.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The answer offered is instead a complex one based on Apple's long-term efforts. The cost-effectiveness of Mac OS X Server, Xserves, the Xsan storage system and Apple Remote Desktop all established a foundation but have themselves never made much of an impact.



    I believe many of the small businesses Apple sells to are too small for XServes and XSAN.

    A Mac mini makes a great server for many small businesses.

    I would love to see Apple market the new mini as a small business server



    Apple Remote Desktop is the best Apple product that the fewest people know about.

    You would be amazed how many Mac users have no clue what it is or does.

    If more people had a clue what it was, they would switch for it alone.

    Currently there are two version of Apple Remote Desktop



    $299 to manage 10 Macs

    $499 to manage an unlimited # of Macs



    If I was Steve, I would change this to 3 versions.



    FREE to manage 2 Macs (optional install with OS X)

    $299 to manage 25 Macs (the # of computers typically found in a classroom)

    $499 to manage an unlimited # of Macs



    The FREE version would be great for doing administration tasks at home or helping grandma remotely.

    As people experience the power of Apple Remote Desktop, not only would Apple sell more copies but they would sell more Macs to schools and businesses.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    As a small business owner, I can't imagine why a small business would buy an XServe or XSan. I shudder to think that OS X Server might be almost as bad as Windows SBS. The servers are all Linux if they aren't Windows by momentum. With Vista, I can see many small businesses shying away from a Windows server, but not (rationally) towards OS X Server.



    Once apon a time, I was going to buy an XServe for our office; we needed a new file server and it fit the bill well enough. It was 10-20% more than an adequate Dell, but I saw value in being able to run up the street and get a spare if I needed. (Truth be told, on-site support is better piece of mind, but it takes time for a small business owner to come to grips with that.)



    I skiped the OSX Server because it really didn't offer much that BSD or Linux already had. There were some nice GUI tools, and a few things were actually simplified enough to make them workable. Unfortunately, it wasn't thought out as a solid small-business network solution.



    Personally, all we need is a file server with a hot standby. Adding in Asterisk and a Wiki with failover would make it great! Put everything in virtual machine containers and wow! But, alas... OS X tries to be all things to all people just like Windows.



    On the laptop/desktop side though, OS X is great. It will take me time to convert more of the office due to little problems (Quick Books for OS X is awful, AutoCAD doesn't exist, and everybody hates my ._ files). Not having to deal with virus protection for Macs makes life good. The Unix core brings simple commonality between the servers and the workstations.



    I'd say that the reason for the growth in this segment is fairly well understood.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    A Mac mini makes a great server for many small businesses.

    I would love to see Apple market the new mini as a small business server



    After almost losing all our company records when our original Terastation failed after 366 days, I hope Apple doesn't try and emulate that type of hardware. Heck, that even had RAID5!



    What I would love to see is a hot standby integration where two Mini's with 1TB drives can each have two gigabit LAN connections (LAN and Sync/heartbeat). Make it easy to sync and recover (Maybe a third Time Machine Mini?), and you have a fantastic solution.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Even as many home buyers recently suddenly became shy about buying Apple computers in mid-year, small businesses just as quickly took to Macs -- to the point where Apple's market share in that field grew three times larger almost overnight.



    And there goes the prize for the most awkward Lead ever! Impressive.



    That aside - with this new found popularity amongst small business users can somebody please build a GOOD book keeping / accounting / inventory / program that is easy to use. Something that can deal with two tier tax (Canada). And most importantly, something that non accountants can use.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    After almost losing all our company records when our original Terastation failed after 366 days, I hope Apple doesn't try and emulate that type of hardware. Heck, that even had RAID5!



    What I would love to see is a hot standby integration where two Mini's with 1TB drives can each have two gigabit LAN connections (LAN and Sync/heartbeat). Make it easy to sync and recover (Maybe a third Time Machine Mini?), and you have a fantastic solution.



    Exactly.

    Two Mac minis and a real storage solution(Time Machine doesn't count).

    I would like to see Apple make something like the DROBO but with FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet built in.



    The Mac minis(iServes) should have solid state HDs for the OS and all the data on the iSAN.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    After almost losing all our company records when our original Terastation failed after 366 days, I hope Apple doesn't try and emulate that type of hardware. Heck, that even had RAID5!



    What I would love to see is a hot standby integration where two Mini's with 1TB drives can each have two gigabit LAN connections (LAN and Sync/heartbeat). Make it easy to sync and recover (Maybe a third Time Machine Mini?), and you have a fantastic solution.



    The problem with solutions like Terastation is not having a full blown OS. Network appliances are not secure enough for any business.

    A real data storage solution should always consist of at least two parts:

    1- Server Computer

    2- Data Storage device



    Server Computer:

    Always get hot-swappable drives and always install the OS internally on a RAID1 setup. This way you won't have to reinstall your server software and re-setup permissions or share-points if a drive should fail. Also if the hardware fails, you can pull the drives out and insert them in a new computer.

    MacMini's uses notebook drives which are not server grade, they have a higher failure rate and the Mini cannot be setup as RAID1 for there is no space internally.



    Data Storage Device:

    Always get hot-swappable hardware RAID enclosures. Apple's recommendation in using the Promise system is a bad one, look into Winchester Systems. There are several ways to setup a secure RAID, the most secure is to create two RAID5's that Mirror each other and 2 live Failover drives in the same enclosure. DROBO is more of a workstation RAID than a server RAID.



    Data Security:

    If you decide to use OSX Server, be forewarned of Permission problems and be prepared to go through long long long periods of time without serious bug fixes. As a supplier, Apple is not dependable when it comes to server software. Having said that OS X Server has some excellent features, especially TimeMachine Server. While a RAID system will keep your data safe from hardware failures, TimeMachine will keep your data safe from files being accidentally erased. TimeMachine Server will also backup remote Macs (only); however, you may need to remount your TimeMachine sharepoint each time you restart your workstation because of Keychain issues that cropped up in OS X 10.5.



    Always setup high-end file servers even for small businesses. Neither tape nor DVD backups are appropriate for a drive failure, they are ok in recovering lost files or keeping a copy of your data offsite for insurance purposes but not a practical one when your system fails.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


    More like $300-500, at least for the most popular ones I see over at Amazon.



    Will it be a lasting market segment? We really don't know. But a major worldwide recession is a perfect environment for something like this to establish itself, no doubt.

    Price will be a big deal for awhile... maybe not for us hardcore Apple maniacs, but for the consumer market as a whole? Yeah.



    Will Apple choose to compete in this segment? Not conventionally, I'd think. Steve loves himself some margins. So if they did, you'd think it'd be with something more 'iPhone-y' than 'notebook-y', if you follow my drift.





    ...



    I agree... we won't see anything like a 'conventional' netbook from apple. (it probably reminds steve too much of the emate), just as there is going to be no iTablet (in a MacOS desktop with touch interface sense). i think anything from apple will toss out the concept of simply shrinking a laptop.



    instead we are slowly being hooked on the way things work on the iphone/ipod touch and once it's clear to everyone that there are better ways to do things on a handheld than simply transplanting a desktop metaphor when you have no desk, we will see that concept expanded. something that apple has some experience with.



    i'd personally like an iphone with a screen size of the newton MP2000. Pair it with an Apple bluetooth keyboard and i wouldn't need to lug my laptop half the time... it's practically there. but a bigger screen would seriously help. oh yeah - and a decent headset - after all we still want to make phone calls.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    I agree, cocoa touch will power the 'netbook' when it arrives. I'm placing bets on early 2009, depending on which processor they are holding out for.



    Possibly an ARM-derivative of their own design?



    Breaking Windows-compatibility would perhaps be a dealbreaker for biz, though. It would at the least have to be clearly marketed as not a Mac, since the assumption nowadays is that Macs can run windows perfectly well. Cocoa Touch could give that impression, I suppose. And the 'iBook' name is available now..
  • Reply 20 of 42
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    With Boot Camp now a permanent feature as of Leopard and supported by the increasing use of Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion -- both of which can now run Mac OS X virtual machines as well as Windows and Linux -- smaller companies can run a second operating system and ease the pain of converting some or all of their operations to the Mac platform.



    This makes it seem like the only reason more businesses are even looking at Macs is their ability to run Windows, rather than the merits of Apple hardware and Mac OS. So in effect, these people are buying Macs just to run Windows. If that's the case, don't expect third party developers to improve their Mac OS support any time soon.
Sign In or Register to comment.