The colorful charts are pretty impressive and the percentages are pretty big. But reports about surging Mac sales in the enterprise are a bit misleading.
That's not to take away anything from Needham analyst Charlie Wolf, who analyzed IDC's second quarter report on PC shipments, or Fortune's Phillip Elmer-Dewitt, who shared the details of Wolf's report today on his blog. But any comparison of growth rates for two competing sides - in this case Mac vs. PC - must consider the starting point for both.
The PC has a huge market share lead over the Mac and, as such, even a small percentage gain in shipments can be significant. At the same time, the Mac market is much smaller so, a brisk number of sales in a particular quarter could lead to some impressive growth - as its measured in percentages, that is. Consider the bullet points that Fortune used from the Needham and IDC reports.
- At 35%, Mac shipment growth in June easily exceeded the market's growth rate of 20.9%.
- Mac shipments grew 31.4% in the home market, topping the market's growth rate of 25.2%.
- At 49.8%, the Mac's growth in business was three times higher than the market's 15.7%.
- Mac shipments in government grew 200%, sixteen times faster than the market's 12.1%.
Better yet, let's look at one of the colorful charts that give us a visual picture of what's happening in PC shipments. As a Mac owner, I've certainly done my fair-share of converting others to dump Windows and buy a Mac. And on its quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts, Apple regularly offers some insight into the number of new Macs that were sold to first-timers. In that respect, I'm not looking to rain on Apple's big-headline moment.
I'm just saying that, when you're looking at percentages, colorful charts don't always tell the full story.
(Image credit: Fortune.com; Image source: Needham, IDC)