Apple computers have long been maligned as the computer for Starbucks aficionados and graphic artists. "Dude, have you used Excel on a Mac? It's terrible," says everyone that owns a Dell. The whole PC versus Mac battle was encapsulated in what I think to be the greatest ad campaign of all time, "I'm a PC and I'm a Mac." And yes, I know that PC really stands for Personal Computer, which means that a Mac would be a PC, but for the sake of the article, it will mean all things non Mac.
While, PCs still dominate the overall market, Apple computers have made big strides in the past few years. According to a Gartner Study, there was a 6.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012 for US PC sales, which makes that seven consecutive quarters of a decline in shipments. On the contrary, Apple computers saw its US market share rise to 13.7 percent during the holiday quarter. If true, that would represent a staggering 28.5% increase over the same quarter last year.
An incredible win for Apple if true. But contradictorily, the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimate puts their 4th quarter US market share at a far lower 9.3%, which would actually represent a 5.7% loss vs 4th quarter 2012. While this is still less of a loss than the average across all PC manufacturers as the mass market moves to purchase cheaper tablets, Dell may still be outselling Apple as one of the only PC manufacturers seeing year over year growth in the US.
Internationally, China-based Lenovo (formerly IBM's PC manufacturing division) has been seeing the biggest growth over the past two years, with Apple not ranking in the top 5.
Apple is set to report its own official earnings on January 27th. So, maybe then we can see what really is going on.