Regaining market share remained an elusive goal for the Mac during 1997, according to figures released today by San Jose, Calif.-based Dataquest Inc.
The market research company said Apple (AAPL) and third-party manufacturers of Mac OS systems lost ground in several key segments of the industry. Only in the publishing arena did the platform remain strong, Dataquest said.
According to the survey, which covers U.S. data only, Apple's total share stood at 4.1 percent, compared with 6.7 percent for 1996. Adding in the cloners, the figure rose to 5.2 percent, compared with 7.8 percent for the previous year.
Apple held 2.9 percent of the business market in 1997, the survey said. For the home and education markets, the 1997 figures were 5.5 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively. In 1996 these figures were, respectively, 4.1 percent, 7.8 percent and 41.6 percent.
Looking specifically at the fourth quarter of 1997, Apple held 1.8 percent in the business market, 4.4 percent in the home market and 21.4 percent in the educational sector. In comparison, for the fourth quarter of 1996, Apple had 4.4 percent, 7.1 percent and 35.6 percent, respectively. The total share for Apple and its cloning partners for the quarter was 5.4 percent, compared with 7.2 percent for 1996. Apple's own market share was 3.4 percent, compared with 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 1996.
"Just from these numbers, you can tell that the cloners had a huge impact in 1996," said Dataquest analyst James Staten. "But that's down significantly thanks to Steve [Jobs]." As interim Apple CEO, Jobs sharply curtailed Mac OS cloning in the second half of 1997.
Staten said the one bright spot for Apple remains the publishing market (both print and Internet publishing), where the Mac still holds a 50 percent share. However, he said, the major vendors in that sector now see Windows shipments account for around 50 percent of their revenues. "If that ratio tips to, say, 70/30 in favor of Windows," Staten said, "Apple's in trouble."
Dataquest said the computer industry grew by about 20.8 percent last year, while Apple's share fell by 26.8 percent overall. While a static market share figure could indicate growth under such circumstances, the discrepancy means the market is growing without Apple, Dataquest reported.