The Silent Majority (of laptop users)

I’ve often wondered how it is that Apple remains in the single-digit percentages of market share, while any computer-related event I attend (even open-source software related conferences) seems riddled with MacBooks (and PowerBooks, though to a less extent these days).

Who’s the other 95% of the market? Well, I am, for one (a happy ThinkPad user running Linux). However, I couldn’t figure out who the other 94.99999% were.

Then, I piggybacked into the fancy-pants Maple Leaf Lounge at the Toronto Airport with a friends’ membership. Side-note: the Maple Leaf Lounge is where rich people wait in the airport for Air Canada flights – free food, magazines, wifi, etc.

Here I found the other 95% and he/she is the Business Traveler.

The lounge was riddled with laptops, but there was but one MacBook (proudly carried by the good Rob Patterson, in this case). The rest were a slurry of Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM, and mystery-machine models.

Note: The market share percentages I’m using here came out of my “derriere”, so don’t bother correcting me. I do suspect Apple has a larger chunk of laptop sales than desktop.


7 thoughts on “The Silent Majority (of laptop users)

  1. Its funny, I noticed the very same thing last year, while on a business trip.

    When you think about it, its not shocking. People, when given the opportunity to make their own decision, often choose quality over price. A laptop is a big purchase that impacts them very personally, and they want the best that they can afford to buy. The same can rarely be said about businesses, especially when you are talking about IT departments. In my previous job, after a lot of moaning and groaning, I convinced them to buy me a MacBook, and when we went to purchase it, the IT manager complained about how it was $108 more than the Toshiba laptops he had been purchasing for the employees. One hundred and eight dollars!

    I’d be willing to bet that Apple’s laptop market share for home users is staggeringly higher than its overall market share.

  2. It appears that the percentage of mac laptop users is starting to climb. An article on PC World from August lists new sales at a little over 14% of total laptop sales. Not the 5% you attribute in your article, but still not that high…

  3. I’m guessing the vast majority of business travellers are travelling with business provided laptops, a market that Apple doesn’t really compete.

    Jonathan makes a really good point: a lot of companies try and get the cheapest laptop they can before IT starts convulsing on the floor.

    I’m lucky – my work provided laptop is a Mac. Then again, I don’t travel business class…

  4. Another possible reason that there are few Mac laptops in the business community (and thus overall) is that they don’t have a lot of good quality business software. It makes it a lot harder for an IT department to support another platform if it can’t play nicely with the file formats and network services of your primary system (Microsoft, in most places.) Sad for the Mac Kool-Aid drinker and us Linux users, but true.

  5. You’re talking about the difference between folks whose laptops were chosen vs. issued. Developer conferences are magnets for “chosen”. The rest of the world is like the rest of the world.

    But now I’m thinking. Where I work, we get Windows desktops and cobble our own Linux machines from scraps, often for our primary machines. It’s as though you should have a late-model Windows box for reference, but don’t want to live there. I’ll bet the boys in the back have an x86 laptop on their bone pile, waiting for a wake-up from me and Debian. I’m sure they do. Hadn’t thought to ask.

    This’ll be fun.


  6. the mac books look sleek but they are very expensive.may be thats the sole reason. also other laptops offer the same functionality at a very affordable price

  7. Majority of us don’t have much choices as we can’t afford to have choices and we have to be satis fied with what we have.

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