Apple Falling, Netbooks Soaring – Economy brings Mac down to earth

In this economy it’s all about value for your dollar.  And “the mac” finds itself on the short end of the value proposition.

Gartner says worldwide PC shipments declined 6.5 percent in firstquarter of 2009 with PC shipments in EMEA totaling 22.7 million units,a 10.2 percent drop.  In the US, a total of 15.3 million units in thefirst quarter of 2009, a 0.3 percent decline.  These numbers arecertainly much different from a year ago, but if you take a step backand consider the economic realities, they could be a lot worse..The fact is, the sector is still strong, and in the U.S, almost flatyear over year for the quarter.  Clearly, PC’s are an essential toolfor knowledge workers, entrepreneurs and virtually everyone in justabout every line of work outside of sectors such as manufacturing andagriculture. And for the first time (in a long time), Mac sales aremoving in the wrong direction…

US PC Shipments Q1 '09US PC ShipmentsUS PC Shipments Revenue

Do you know who Joe Wilcox is? I’m a big fan, and follow his blog and posts on eWeek’s Microsoft Watch, and more recently discovered his Apple Watch blog.  You might have caught his post on Tuesday titled Wall Street Takes Charge Of Apple,hot on the heels on the “generally agreed to be Apple planted” storylast week about how the magical Jobs is still “in control” of the Applesteamboat in“Jobs maintains Grip on Apple”.Imean really, the man is on medical leave – has this company heard ofsuccession planning? Who’s running HR at Apple anyway? Maybe it’s Jobstoo?? Unbelievable.

I would ask you, the reader, to join me as we travel back in time to about a year ago, when Joe wrotethis articleat a time when I was also scratching my head, waiting for Rod Serlingto perhaps come around the corner and explain that I was part of a Twilight Zone episode — trapped in some kind of odd parallel universe, where common sense was replaced with “Jobs Sense”.

Another “let me unequivocably date myself” Aside:What ever happened to “quality” shows like the Twilight Zone…just classic.

The fact is, NetBooks work, PC’s do the job and even the IPhone,which I *love*, is neither an inexpensive device nor is it the“ultimate mobile device” with “IPhone Killers”circling all around like vultures waiting for their moment to attack. Ultimately the mac line of pc’s are at a premium price point, andthere aren’t as many people out there willing to pay that premium forthe “label”.

This is a big problem for Apple, and I don’t believe that even ahealthy Steve Jobs would be able to do much to counter the economicgravity of the situation.  Apple is being brought down to earth, andyou know what, in the small and insignicant microcosm of “personalcomputer” economics, this is great news.  As a consumer, this meansmore value for our dollar than ever before – and as an early adopter ofNetbooks, I have to say,  I don’t think this sector has ever been assolid from a price/performance/choice perspective at any time.  It’shard to go wrong these days, regardless of what you choose, and youdon’t need to break the bank.

Sorry Apple – this will probably be the “worst of times” for you. We’ll be watching.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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