Declining sales does not equal declining installed base

Oh sweet Jesus I’ve heard it so many times from idiots on the Apple subreddit over at reddit talking about how “the PC market is declining so it makes no sense for Apple to invest lots of money into the Mac division” whilst they ignore that Mac sales have been on a consistent path of growth for 20 years (since Steve Job returned then Tim took over). Yes, the PC market has declining in sales but the installation base is still expanding but at a slower rate, the replacement rate is lower because computers can be kept for longer because the benefit of upgrading isn’t sufficient enough for people to invest in replacement equipment at the same rate as in the past. Keep in mind that for many big names like Dell most of their sales are to big enterprise customers and government departments who buy new computers in the thousands and they’re pushing their upgrade cycle out to 3-5 years and replaced on when they’re absolutely had-it rather than whole sale fleet replacements as what was done in the past. The situation with Windows 10 and the move to a rolling release cycle has also changed the game – part of the compelling reason to upgrade has been the new operating system but now you can upgrade for free. Microsoft themselves have adjusted their revenue projection for Windows based on a longer release cycle.

So why should Apple invest into a so-called ‘dying market’? because the market isn’t dying – there is still a large installation base that will need replacing and the question is whether Apple will be there when the computer will need replacing. Apple only constitutes maybe 5-9% of the over all installed base so there is a lot of room to grow into – again, where is this ‘dead market’? Microsoft seems to be making quite a nice little business out of their Surface and Surface Book line – so much for the ‘PC is dying’ brigade. There is still a lot of potential the iPhone is acting as halo effect as the newly emerging middle class in developing markets where people see Apple as an aspirational brand to work towards so in this so-called ‘dying market’ that people love to talk bout so much, there is still a lot of money to be made by those offering the consumer something worth purchasing.

It has been turned into meme that apparently “omg, smart phone are the future, tablets are the future, we’re all going to use touch devices and walk around with augmented reality visors on because that is the future” – really, I wonder how many of these speculators of information technology get up and take a dump on the morning without falling off the toilet seat and breaking their neck. Guess what, almost 10 years ago the same people were saying the same thing, that the PC was dead, that mobiles were the future etc. but here we are 10 years later and it hasn’t happened – tablets are declining and people want hybrid devices such as the Surface/Surface Book or they want ultra-portable laptops like the MacBook/MacBook Air; the ‘PC is dead’ future never arrived but like a true believer they’ll keep repeating it.

Btw, this all reminds me of Thom on claiming that Apple was going to lock down OS X like iOS then force everyone to purchase software through the App Store ( link ). Well, here we are slightly over 4 years since that article was posted and still no lock down. I’ll keep posting and reminding Thom that his prediction never came true – the internet never forgets when you make predictions just as Michael Dell and Steve Ballmer made predictions about Apple’s future and both turned out to be hilariously wrong.

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