iPod tipped to boost Apple's desktop share

Apple could soon control 5 percent of the desktop computer market, Morgan Stanley predicts, thanks to the success of the iPod

Apple can look forward to gaining market share on the desktop as iPod users ditch their PCs in favour of Macs.

Analyst firm Morgan Stanley forecast on Friday that the Mac — currently on three percent of desktops — could win its way to five percent of desktop sales this year. This was based on a survey of 400 iPod users that found that 19 percent expect to convert from PC to Macintosh. This conversion factor is double that previously expected by analysts, and over three times the six percent effect reported four months ago.

Statistics released by other analysts suggest that the iPod may already be having a healthy effect on Apple's desktop PC business. According to figures from IDC this month, Apple's desktop market share in the US was 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, up from 2.2 percent the previous quarter and 2.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2003.

The trend is expected to be a long-lasting one as the iPod has become so well-established. The well-received Mac Mini has not yet had the chance cause any impact on the sales figures, as it was only launched in January, but is also expected to help a Mac resurgence.

The hardest hit PC vendors will be those that rely most on their brand, such as HP, said Morgan Stanley. HP sells a branded version of the iPod, but analysts think it unlikely that many users would give HP the credit for the player's design and usability.