Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ballmer on Market Share Against Apple

Ballmer says his company is gaining share against Apple:
I mean, we’re gaining share. Apple is expensive. And in tough economic environment, people get it. Their model is, by definition, expensive. And we’ve actually held or maybe even gained just a tiny bit of share relative to the Mac in the last 12 months. And it’s not really Snow Leopard. It’s really Windows PCs versus Mac.
Steve Ballmer, TechCrunch interview
Um, wasn't that a headline from the '90s? With 97% of the market a few years ago, wasn't the desktop war over? As proclaimed by no lesser authority than then-ousted Apple founder Steve Jobs: "The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft a long time ago." This was quoted by Fortune in 1996, so it was a long time ago over a decade back.

Yet, Microsoft under Ballmer is still talking about its share against Apple. What? Share against Linux or Chrome, one could readily see: they are newer threats. The fact that Ballmer is claiming current success based on not losing much share to Apple now is just amazing. If Microsoft can worry about Apple's share it is no claim of success, it's an admission the company has snatched the threat of eventual defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

The fact that Microsoft can be bothere to talk about desktop market share says volumes about its worries in this regard. Sure, mobile share. Given the disastrous decline of browser share, even that is open to discussion. But desktop share?

If it can't get its head on straight, Microsoft is in long-term trouble. The future isn't about last year's competition.

UPDATE: Maybe Microsoft isn't gaining share against Apple, after all. Although the article discusses Apple's new operating system version "Snow Leopard", most of the hardware in the market isn't capable of supporting Apple's new operating system (being comprised mostly of non-Apple hardware), so the share numbers are apparently sales share and not OS market share numbers.

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