My first Mac– a 128k model with ImageWriter printer and an external floppy disk drive– was purchased in March 1984, less than two months after the launch. For much of the first year, the Mac was a waste of money, more a clever curiosity than a useful tool.
Rise And Fall And Rise To Domination
For much of the two decades following the Mac’s historic introduction, Apple’s fortunes would rise and fall almost as rapidly as changes in technology.
When co-founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the Mac was about all the company had (other than a long line of failed products; printers, cameras, Newton, et al).
Even the Mac’s hey day of the late 1980s to early 1990s produced modest profits and nominal marketshare. Even Steve Jobs acknowledged that Microsoft won the desktop OS wars.
That was then and this is now.
The Mac’s marketshare remains modest relative to all the Windows PCs still manufactured each year, but Apple walks away with half the industry’s profits.
While Google’s Android OS may be the most prolific personal computing platform, it’s less a platform than it is an individual manufacturing platform enabler. When it comes to using Android to grow profitable products, Samsung is the only winner.
In other words, Android’s position is hardly the financially dominant position Microsoft’s Windows enjoys with personal computers. As to a dominating computing platform– defined by revenue and profits, and covering PC, smartphone, tablets, and apps– Apple is the big winner.
What Steve Wrought
Not only does Apple– from OS X to iOS, from Mac to iPhone to iPad and associated apps– rule the revenue and profit categories, app developers, peripheral makers, and manufacturers ride Apple’s growing wave to even more profits.
As much as critics like to say that Android is the new Windows, that is definitely not the case. With Windows, Microsoft dominated the market segment in revenue and profits. Android, despite a marketshare which approaches that of Windows in total numbers, has yet to bring the riches of substantial revenue and profits to any company other than Samsung.
For now, Apple’s computing platforms compete successfully with Android’s fractured and fragmented marketshare, and just as successfully against Microsoft and the Wintel hegemony. By leading in mindshare, revenue share, profit share, and with a growing prosperity among developers, how can Apple’s OS X and iOS note be considered the dominant computing platform?