Steve Ballmer: The tide has turned against Apple

Recently, Apple has reportedly been making rather significant gains in market share, with their Mac systems, as well as with the iPhone. Steve Ballmer, however, thinks nothing of this and has reminded everybody about some February sales data that shows a 16% (year over year) drop in both Mac and iPod sales.

According to Business Week editor Stephen Adler, Ballmer said, "Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."

As many point out, while the hardware is architecturally the same, the two systems are not, and calling it "$500 more to get a logo on it" will no doubt get some people rather flustered. Steve's been wrong before, however. He said that the iPhone would not take off or gain market share, so we'll see what happens. It may be worth waiting to see March sales figures, due to newly released computers, to see how things are, also. What's your opinion? Is Ballmer right, or do you think Apple will still keep going strong?

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iMac

2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB SDRAM
640GB Serial ATA Drive
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
-$1999

Dell XPS 630:
Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz
4GB SDRAM
750GB HDD
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
-$1299

With no monitor:

# Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
# 32GB (8x4GB)
# Mac Pro RAID Card
# 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
# 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
# 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
# 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
# 4x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB
# One 18x SuperDrive
# None
# None
# Apple Mighty Mouse
# Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) and User's Guide (English)

#

£11,179.02
incl. VAT
#

# Ships: 5-7 weeks
# Free Shipping

But hey includes free shipping (in potentially close to 2 months) and inclusive of VAT. Bargain!

Money no object I'd still have one, but 11k?!

I'd rather pay $500 more for a piece of hardware just to avoid the hassles of working with Windows. I never have to remove adware, spyware, viruses, nagging or expired software, fiddle with drivers, registry hacks, manipulating default settings just to get the default setup to behave... There are still huge hassles that happen all too often on Windows. If you don't want to pay $500 more for a machine that works, pay $500 less and use Linux. Where exactly is the market for Windows right now? People who need IE6 compatibility and who have locked themselves into active directory? Suckers.

See, now that's your choice to spend more money. That's fine with me. I don't think I'm a sucker for building a quad core with a GTX 260 and RAID for about the same price as an iMac. Hell, the RAID controller is 700 bucks extra and you know I'd have to include a RAID controller!

I need the power, Apple can't offer that for less than 3200 and it would have a crappy GT 120 card... add 200 bucks (total 3400 BEFORE tax) for the 4870 (512 MB) card. Still not equal the power of my 1400 dollar rig.

That's what I'm saying, I've got a few PCs running Linux with some nice hardware, but I've got a MacBook Pro, which I got for the hardware as well (and battery life). I still don't have to put up with Windows and I've got nice hardware.

I have to admit I'm in the Apple camp to some extent, but there's no denying that there is some price premium. Some of that goes into design, which may or may not be worth it to some people, but that's up to the individual to decide.

I'd also say that a $500 premium is a bit exaggerated, but without going out and doing some research I couldn't really say for sure. Anybody have price comparisons for these things?

It's definitely in that $500 ballpark for desktop machines.
Laptops less so. Though, if you buy an expensive laptop it will likely be in that ballpark again. I think it is a percentage premium more than a lump sum premium. Hence, the Apple Tax.

Galley said,
Steve Ballmer is as incompetent as Michael Scott.

Yeah he must be a complete incompetent tool heading a multi-billion dollar company and all.

k7of9 said,
Yeah he must be a complete incompetent tool heading a multi-billion dollar company and all.

Yeah that's never happened before. Ever hear of the credit crunch?

geoken said,
Yeah that's never happened before. Ever hear of the credit crunch?

Yes, that's that buzzword that explains every single question these days right?
Incompetence dit not cause the credit crunch. Greed did.

apple has become a much bigger target now that they have gain market share, not because of what the microsoft guy said.

microsoft is used to being a target for so long, they should know pretty well how to handle them. yet, mr "embalmer" guy seems to have problem preserving his company's share of the pie. ironic.

If that "$500" stops me from having to install a fresh system when virus protection fails, or adware attacks my PC then I'll make that payment. Same hardware (maybe), but the diference in OS's and the reassurance that some random script that runs when I open a webpage won't open a never-ending barrage of Internet Explorer windows is enough to convince me to go with a Mac again.

tylershaw said,
If that "$500" stops me from having to install a fresh system when virus protection fails, or adware attacks my PC then I'll make that payment. Same hardware (maybe), but the diference in OS's and the reassurance that some random script that runs when I open a webpage won't open a never-ending barrage of Internet Explorer windows is enough to convince me to go with a Mac again.

I must be exceptionally lucky not having paid the $500 and still not suffering from anything you describe.

I have no malware, virii, slowness, or anything Apple always claims plague Windows machines. I can also even recover my system after throwing vital system files away. Does the Mac still work if you throw away half the stuff in the System folder?

GreyWolfSC said,
I have no malware, virii, slowness, or anything Apple always claims plague Windows machines. I can also even recover my system after throwing vital system files away. Does the Mac still work if you throw away half the stuff in the System folder?

I'm not sure why you'd want to, but yes it would. I'd just restore them from Time Machine.

So basically, if the specs are the same, yer not paying an extra $500 for the logo, yer paying an extra $500 for the OS? Expensive!

Ive always wanted an Apple but the parts are way to cheap in them and they are way overpriced to. Plus you cant even upgrade the things. This will be Apples downturn.

You can't upgrade them? Why the hell not? Just open the case and have at it. Or would you tell me that I couldn't upgrade my PC, either, just because the case was covered by a sticker that said "your warranty void if this seal broken"?

Ledgem said,
You can't upgrade them? Why the hell not? Just open the case and have at it. Or would you tell me that I couldn't upgrade my PC, either, just because the case was covered by a sticker that said "your warranty void if this seal broken"?


Oh sweet! I can upgrade the graphics card in an iMac of MacMini if I buy one. Nice.

See folks, ya be lernin somthin knew everiday. (spits tobacco into tin can and makes the cool spittoon noise)

RAID 0 said,
Oh sweet! I can upgrade the graphics card in an iMac of MacMini if I buy one. Nice.

See folks, ya be lernin somthin knew everiday. (spits tobacco into tin can and makes the cool spittoon noise)


I don't think that's a fair comparison. The iMac and MacMini are more like dressed up notebooks, rather than full desktop PCs. As far as I know, none of the computers of that form factor (those "Monitor-only" computers and those kinds of small PCs) are upgradeable beyond the basics like RAM, hard drive, etc. The only real desktop that Apple sells is the Mac Pro, I think, which can be upgraded.

Solecs said,


I don't think that's a fair comparison. The iMac and MacMini are more like dressed up notebooks, rather than full desktop PCs. As far as I know, none of the computers of that form factor (those "Monitor-only" computers and those kinds of small PCs) are upgradeable beyond the basics like RAM, hard drive, etc. The only real desktop that Apple sells is the Mac Pro, I think, which can be upgraded.


Price wise, I think it's a very fair comparison.

I don't know whether Apple's sales are going to drop, keep or increase. I'm not an Apple fan (I much prefer Windows) but I do have to admit that their OS is prettier and their computers are very, very nice (design wise) IMO, though overpriced as hell. As far as I'm concerned, Apple sells nothing but status as a false sense of almost divine superiority. Nevertheless, I'd hate to see Apple slashing jobs (if they haven't all ready) because of market share loss.

But as much as I'm used to, and as much as I prefer Windows, God... I just can't stand Steve Ballmer. He might be an incredibly effective and proficient executive, he might be the best salesman in the entire galaxy, but, to me, he's disgusting as scheiss and puke together. Somebody please, shot him up!!!

OK I know I will be smashed, but what you get when you buy a Windows PC, yes you get Windows XP/Vista plus amount of trial software from the manufacturer and you are done. We can argue, but honestly with the software what you get in Vista, you can not make real work with your pictures, music files etc... I speak about a avarage IT person... You have to install a lot of third party software to get your home/multimedia work done properly, and if you are not informed you can lost you self in the amount of applications.... The problem of MS applications in Vista is not that they are primary bad, but their are not working together smoothly...
In Apple you get a interesting design - PC manufactures should rethink their designs... like DELL with Adamo, this is a hell good looking machine.... many PC or notebooks, just look ehm without fantasy/idea (which is cheaper, or you make a horribly looking machine)
Then you get an assortement of applications, which work together without problems, the UI is 99% consistent with near 100% functionality out of the box, you open the box with a macbook and you can start burning DVD, CD, chat, make movies without installing anything.

I think when you would make a PC with nicer design, plus windows without the overhaull of trial software + really usefull consistent applications you would come to the same price as Apple.

RAID 0 said,
I don't get trial software on the computers I build.

OK on Acer ntb I got Trial of CyberDVD, NortonSecurity, Some unknow CD/DVD burning software, plus Acer eManagement soft which is not trial ,
on HP ntbs is the same plus Office 2007 60 days trial Asus gives the full CyberDVD, but also a lot of trial software...
Dell is different, but the prices are higher, Alienware makes computers as you want making Apple prices low...
This is for notebooks, which people are buying and giving them to me to make them go faster, to put sme fullantivirus or just install some software etc... I am not talking here about warez or pirated sotware... I always install either free sofware Gimp, OpenOffice etc or the sotware which they have to buy addiontionaly...

duch [< snipped > - Calum] You're not listening! RAID 0 specifically said "I don't get trial software on the computers I BUILD." I seriously doubt he's building Acer machines (who the hell would want to if you're REALLY into PCs?). Consistency can be achieved on the Windows platform as well. Just do some actual research and learn like the rest of us do. Sheesh. [< snipped > - Calum]

"which people are buying and giving them to me to make them go faster, to put sme fullantivirus or just install some software etc..."

THEN WHY DON'T YOU DO YOUR CUSTOMERS A FAVOR AND DO SOME ACTUAL CONSULTING FOR THEM? I will bet the farm you will maintain a happy customer base if you just do your part and lead them in the right direction.

[< snipped > - Calum] BAH! YOU should know DAMN WELL that "when you buy a Windows PC" you can buy ANYTHING - an HP, DELL, CUSTOM BUILD - or hell - EVEN A MAC! From which cesspool one decides to buy their Windows PC from is the key. If you buy a Windows PC from a brick and mortar store like Best Buy or Office Max you have to keep in mind that businesses such as theirs exist for one reason and one reason ONLY - PROFITABILITY! That includes back room deals with shady 3rd party companies that include throwing SnapFish, iTunes, AOL, and eBay icons on the desktop by default.

Instead you could point your customers towards buying a Mac or even going with an OEM such as Asus for example [< snipped > - Calum]

[< snipped > - Calum] Oh yeah - before I let you go - remember that the cost of iWork and iLife are included in the base price of a Mac. You aren't getting a damn thing for free from Apple and you'd better believe that!

You know what is funny? I'm a fan of both - Windows and the Mac OS. So there.

Geez......

BeatBlaster said,
duch [< snipped > - Calum] You're not listening! RAID 0 specifically said "I don't get trial software on the computers I BUILD." I seriously doubt he's building Acer machines (who the hell would want to if you're REALLY into PCs?).

Personally, I think that was a silly response to make, anyway. Duch wasn't talking about building your own computer and installing the operating system from an official Windows disc (something that is very beyond the average computer user, I'm sure you and everyone else would agree). He seemed to be talking about going into a store and just buying a Windows-based PC.

And to that, his point (complaint?) is valid.

Ledgem said,
Personally, I think that was a silly response to make, anyway. Duch wasn't talking about building your own computer and installing the operating system from an official Windows disc (something that is very beyond the average computer user, I'm sure you and everyone else would agree). He seemed to be talking about going into a store and just buying a Windows-based PC.

And to that, his point (complaint?) is valid.


He (Duch) responded to what I said. Before I could respond, BeatBlaster
said the absolute right thing in response to Duch. I was not talking about Dell or HP, I was making the point- If you build your own computer, you will not get trial software.

His point is not valid in response to my statement. If that was a statement made on it's own, I would agree that Dell, HP and most OEMs put crap trial software on the machines. It sucks, but that's why I don't buy OEM PCs. It's not Microsoft that's doing it.

You said, "...installing the operating system from an official Windows disc (something that is very beyond the average computer user)..."
Yeah, that is something that many people can't do nor CARE to do. That's why they call guys like us. We come in and tell them the best course of action according to their situation... and we make money. But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone that Windows is our life blood.

RAID 0 said,

He (Duch) responded to what I said. Before I could respond, BeatBlaster
said the absolute right thing in response to Duch. I was not talking about Dell or HP, I was making the point- If you build your own computer, you will not get trial software.

His point is not valid in response to my statement. If that was a statement made on it's own, I would agree that Dell, HP and most OEMs put crap trial software on the machines. It sucks, but that's why I don't buy OEM PCs. It's not Microsoft that's doing it.

You said, "...installing the operating system from an official Windows disc (something that is very beyond the average computer user)..."
Yeah, that is something that many people can't do nor CARE to do. That's why they call guys like us. We come in and tell them the best course of action according to their situation... and we make money. But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone that Windows is our life blood.

Ok first things first, sorry for the English I am from Europe Slovakia, so my english is possibly not that good. Second I was writting my comment at 2.00am so I was I little bit tired, writting my comment without spell check on, possibly not catching up completely your answer (no excuse I think), for that I am sorry...

Next I don't work in Best Buy :)

You wrotte that you build computers, so you surely know thinks about them. But did you ever considered the fact that 90% of the population don't care about windows, about linux, about Apple, about the browser or OS wars. They just go to a shop, look for a computer and buy it. Price is the first concern, functionality the second. Apple has high price tag so he is the last to be considered... OEM's have the right price tag, but trial crap and OEM sotware which is 80-90% unusable. Vista Capable Case is one of the many examples... When I build a computer or buy a notebook for somebody I choose the right components or notebook, buy preferably OEM Windows (price) + Office (if there is the need), install it personally, drivers etc... I have a lot of work with it, sometimes I do it for a friend, familly members or colleagues in work so I don't get my work paid.. But If I would the final price tag would not be far from Apple's. Many people come to me that they bought an Acer (price) but it's slow, windows goes often into bsod, the antivirus is past the point to be able to do any good... Malware trojan' etc are happy there... For this people is Internet the blue "e" and skype is the peak of complexity... These people don't know anything about other browser, they just get "new" pirated Windows, Office, Multimedia software from another friend with cracks full of trojans etc...

Yes you buy a cheaper PC, with less addons, with OEM software, and if you don't have anybody who knows thinks you have a huge problem... You can use piratet software or go to store and buy applications for again high price tags... My point is that sometimes when you buy cheaper you buy then twice the price you would pay for e.g. the extremely expensive Apple, which you just open and you can start doing thinks, without calling your friend, hi how I burn a CD/DVD form my new PC...

Sorry for the large post, but think about people without the slightest or very low knowledge of computers..

Ledgem said,
Personally, I think that was a silly response to make, anyway. Duch wasn't talking about building your own computer and installing the operating system from an official Windows disc (something that is very beyond the average computer user, I'm sure you and everyone else would agree). He seemed to be talking about going into a store and just buying a Windows-based PC.

If a user can actually *read* and is capable of using a screwdriver, they can build a Windows PC (or Hackintosh, for that matter), down to installing the operating system.. The problem with most users *isn't* that they aren't capable of using a screwdriver (Philips-head, at that; there generally are no non-Philips-head screws anywhere in a PC); it's that all too many are incapable of comprehending what they read.

And to that, his point (complaint?) is valid.


And that excuses user/purchaser stupidity?

PGHammer said,
And that excuses user/purchaser stupidity?

It's not stupidity. It's just people don't feel it's a valuable use of their time. I spend time picking out components, assembling them, dealing with RMA issues with bad mobos or ram, and installing the OS because I enjoy it and it saves money to boot.

There are, however, many things in my life which take less time and skill then building a computer but I happily pay the premium to have someone do it for me because I don't care to learn about them or spend my extremely limited free time dealing with them. I pay to have someone do my taxes, I pay to have someone roof my house, I pay to have someone re-upholster the ripped seat in my car, etc., etc. I could learn to do all those things myself, but it isn't worth the time for me.


And again, PC vs Mac ... Mac users pay and only "get" what Apple wants you to get. Pc users have "freedom", sometimes this freedom can be negative if you want to achieve stability, etc... but nowadays, PC's and Mac in terms of hardware are not that different.
In this financial crisis... I would like macs being more cheap.

A PC is a PC whether it is an Apple, Linux, or Windows machine. They all do the same thing, and that is run applications/programs. You can use them to play games, movies, surf the internet, or as business machines. The only real difference is in cost. Now there will be those who will say that the OS on a Mac is prettier, there will be those who say Linux is free and open source is the only way to go. Then finally there is windows the number one operating system in the world. The issue is mute people in must cases are going to rule with their wallets, thus is the reasons why Dell, HP, Asus, etc. out sale Apple's line of computers. Until Apple comes down to earth with their prices they will continue to be out sold. Apple makes an excellent product, but so does Dell, HP, and other companies that create computers for Windows, and Linux.

+1

personal computer: a small digital computer based on a microprocessor and designed to be used by one person at a time
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

I wouldn't say it's $500 JUST for the logo, but be honest, both OSes do everything a user could want. In this economy, I'd want value over glitz.

Essentially they are the same as PCs now baring a few things that allow them to run OSX. Though even before this I never felt like I wanted to pay the apple tax when buying its hardware. I can go to ASUS or Dell and get the same things spec wise for less. The only real thing you are paying extra for is the OS its self. And if you want proof of this, look at the OSX86 project. Its possible to run OSX on non apple hardware, and I know someone is going to say well its illegal. What I am trying to do is prove the point that besides wanting to run OSX there really isn't a reason to buy a Mac. Now other products vary and all depends on the competition, but more or less you see what I am getting at. When you buy apple computers, you are paying more for apple with the same spec machines than non apple; simply put it's the apple tax.

As many point out, while the hardware is architecturally the same, the two systems are not, and calling it "$500 more to get a logo on it" will no doubt get some people rather flustered.

They aren't the same? Absent Windows they are the same aren't they? What else is different besides the OS?

What would be the point of asking that question? You're basically saying;

"absent the thing that differentiates them, what differentiates them?"

geoken said,
What would be the point of asking that question? You're basically saying;

"absent the thing that differentiates them, what differentiates them?"

I can put OS X on my PC. So they're the same, right?

geoken said,
What would be the point of asking that question? You're basically saying;

"absent the thing that differentiates them, what differentiates them?"


The author said they were the same, but not the same. I'm basically asking what he really meant. So I asked my question, reiterated his question, then shared my observation as a question. A typical way of asking for clarification where I'm from (Philadelphia, PA USA)

Frazell Thomas said,
The author said they were the same, but not the same. I'm basically asking what he really meant. So I asked my question, reiterated his question, then shared my observation as a question. A typical way of asking for clarification where I'm from (Philadelphia, PA USA)

He asked a question, while excluding the only possible answer. The fact that you realized, and excluded, the differnce means you didn't need any clarification.

RAID 0 said,
I can put OS X on my PC. So they're the same, right?

If you have a fully functioning OS X install and relatively similar hardware, then yes, they'd be the same.

all hail S.B. ! all hail S.B. ! all hail S.B. ! :P

devolper devolper devolper devolper hehe

ah yes i am with him , forgot to say

PuttPutt said,
Apple products are nice but too overpriced and using cheap parts- exploding batteries


Don't forget they can't cool a mediocre GPU like the 9600.

Geez, I better hand back my 4 macs then if they're over priced, use cheap parts and have exploding batteries.

(For the record, none of the above have applied to my Macs. Oh and yes, my main computer is a PC I custom built, and no, it won't be replaced with a Mac lol)

that's true, but Microsoft is even worse, look at Windows 7, everyone loves it, but has anyone notices it runs the same as XP? the same as a 10 year old OS? where's the future? willl we still be praising MS when Windows 9 runs as fast and responsive as Windows 7?

While I don't like Apple's forced mentality, you can't say these guys aren't taking the lead in computers, hardware and software, and thanks to their choice of leaving custom hardware for traditional pc parts, the geeks can make our own macs, should that be your choice. Look at all the iPhone clones there are now, Now even you don't wanna buy Apple, you have a ton of innovative designs you can choose from, not to mention it opened the door for Google and Palm (which was pretty much done) to get inside cellphone markets, and have people expecting good innovative products. Instead look at Windows Mobile, even with so much market and investments, was forced to go back to the drawing board and make a really good competitive product.

In conclusion, Microsoft the one that should be throwing the first stone since they have yet to prove to can tame Apple, or even get some of their marketshare back.

Raa said,
Geez, I better hand back my 4 macs then if they're over priced, use cheap parts and have exploding batteries.

(For the record, none of the above have applied to my Macs. Oh and yes, my main computer is a PC I custom built, and no, it won't be replaced with a Mac lol)

They are overpriced and use the same old stuff that comes in every day PCs.

Vakerorokero said,
that's true, but Microsoft is even worse, look at Windows 7, everyone loves it, but has anyone notices it runs the same as XP? the same as a 10 year old OS? where's the future? willl we still be praising MS when Windows 9 runs as fast and responsive as Windows 7?

Yeah, because bolting a cutesy interface onto an OS designed back in the '70s is truly revolutionary. Just like cramming laptop components into a desktop computer in order to conform to some fruity aesthetic that is only understood by those with Liza Minnelli CDs in their music collection.

Vakerorokero said,
that's true, but Microsoft is even worse, look at Windows 7, everyone loves it, but has anyone notices it runs the same as XP? the same as a 10 year old OS? where's the future? willl we still be praising MS when Windows 9 runs as fast and responsive as Windows 7?

lolz...what do u want? apple had to rewrite their Mac OS caz old Mac was really crappy. But Windows..huh?? and speed issue depends on Hardware, if u would get 10GHZ cpu, Windows will run on it at that speed...so it's no a big deal.

Vakerorokero said,
that's true, but Microsoft is even worse, look at Windows 7, everyone loves it, but has anyone notices it runs the same as XP? the same as a 10 year old OS? where's the future? willl we still be praising MS when Windows 9 runs as fast and responsive as Windows 7?


I thought Vista = Win 7. So according to you: Win XP = Win Vista = Win 7?

What MS did with Vista was tons of new features, what they did to Wni 7 was same features with improved performance. That's the future.

FoxieFoxie said,
I thought Vista = Win 7. So according to you: Win XP = Win Vista = Win 7?

What MS did with Vista was tons of new features, what they did to Wni 7 was same features with improved performance. That's the future.


They introduced a lot of new features in Windows 7 as well. Aero Snap, Aero Peek, federation searching, the new taskbar and many more which I don't have time to mention.

Vakerorokero said,
that's true, but Microsoft is even worse, look at Windows 7, everyone loves it, but has anyone notices it runs the same as XP? the same as a 10 year old OS? where's the future? willl we still be praising MS when Windows 9 runs as fast and responsive as Windows 7?

I wasn't aware the windows whistler beta was even made let alone available 10 years ago, which was an early beta to XP, so how is XP 10 years old ?

Oh and MS doesn't need the market share back, gates is still the richest person, jobs is still 'ill' and businesses continue to use windows