BusinessWeekis Alex Salkever says the jury is out on Appleis retail store effort. This is partially in response to many in the Mac community gloating over Gatewayis decision to shut down its remaining 188 retail stores. Mr. Salkever says that not only should we not be so quick to judgement, but that Appleis market share numbers show that the Apple Stores have not been the success they need to be. From the article:
All this is somewhat unexpected. Although always intended to be profitable eventually, Apple stores were envisioned mainly as showcases for Apple wares, aimed at drawing in new customers.
But hereis perhaps the biggest surprise: On the crucial basis of attracting newbies, Appleis stores have yet to show any notable progress. Despite Jobs & Co.is claims that 50% of the people buying at its stores are Windows users, Appleis market share has made no significant advances. So while comparisons to Gateway might seem easy and feel good, they only go so far.
Still, the proof is in the number of new Apple users, and that remains discouraging. In tech tracker International Data Corp.is latest tally of computer market share, Appleis piece of the U.S computer pie slid from 3.5% in 2002 to 3.2% in 2003. The decline also speaks volumes about Appleis campaign to woo switchers -- if they were coming over in any significant numbers, then Apple would be growing faster than the broad PC market.
For Appleis retail experiment to be judged a true success, it would need to see some positive momentum in actual Mac market share from reputable sources, such as IDC. Absent these third-party judgments, Appleis own claims about switchers lack credibility.
Thereis much more in the full article, which we recommend as a very interesting read.