Macs reach 14% of U.S. Computer Market, Propelled by MacBook Air

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The NPD Group said on Tuesday that Macs reached 14 percent of the U.S. computer market in February. Thatis up from 9 percent in February last year. Notebooks did particularly well, and sales were boosted by the MacBook Air which did not appear to cannibalize other products.

"The MacBook and MacBook Pro did pretty well and made a smooth transition to the Penryn," said Stephen Baker, an NPD analyst. "And Apple got a nice bump from the MacBook Air."

The MacBook Air accounted for about 20 percent of Appleis notebook sales last month. "It looks like the Air is giving Apple an incremental volume opportunity," Mr. Baker said. Appleis sales for February were three times the growth rate for other laptop sales in the U.S.

"Regardless of the month, when Apple comes out with new products, they get a big bump in sales," Baker said. "Theyire just much more focused when they have a new product to announce."

Mr. Baker, according to the Computerworld report, said that Appleis successes are due to many factors, but the most important is the retail buying experience. "The market sometimes discounts this, but Appleis stores are key to what they do," Mr. Baker added.

When Apple introduced the MacBook Air, some advanced users thought it was underpowered and not suitable for them while others raved about its design and light weight. That collective reaction was probably a key indicator that Apple had found a new niche in its product line that would add incremental sales instead of cannibalize them.

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