Apple had a blow-out quarter, seeing growth in Mac sales despite the potential slowdown that might have been caused by the announcement of Intel-based systems for 2006. With more than 200,000 additional CPUs sold in the fourth quarter of 2005 compared to the first quarter, it appears Apple has grown its market share by about one percent, which I predicted in a posting at the end of 2004.
I wrote (projecting forward to January 2005):
With this gain in U.S. PC market share, along with additional gains in European Mac sales and the iPod’s formidable portable music player market share, Apple will likely finish the year with revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and a profit of almost $525 million in the trailing 12 months (the company’s fiscal year ends in September).
I was below the actual growth Apple turned in for fiscal 2004, when revenues turned out to be $13.9 billion with profits of $1.335 billion. But I did predict a multi-OS system (granted, PowerPC-based, not Intel) that was discussed in August and which comes out next month.
So, I'm bragging a bit. And putting more on the line.
Even if management is expecting a "pause" in Mac sales, Apple will continue to grow market share as Microsoft stumbles on the launch of Windows Vista, which carries so many unknowns for IT managers and users, not to mention that it will require hardware upgrades for many users. That means a lot of users are going to be thinking about a new computer purchase. Some will go with the Mac who would have stayed with Windows.
Since the new MacBook Pro will run Vista, and we can expect other Intel Macs introduced this year to do the same, I'm looking for an increase of more than one-and-a-half million units in Mac sales in 2006. The prospect of running Windows and Mac OS on the same box is too attractive for users seeking greater flexibility—it will tip the decision for many people who have heard the praises of Macs and resisted before.
Then there is the iPod. Sales will be slower during the first and second quarters than during the holiday season, of course, but on a recent trip to Europe I noticed that the iPod was barely marketed there. With iTunes launched for Europe in the middle of 2005, the iPod will find greater traction there this year. Overall, iPod sales will increase by at least 50 percent on the year while few competitors develop relatively meager presences in the market.
We'll see if I can brag next year.