Apple: Keeping Macs Out Of Wal-Mart Has Hurt

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Apple (AAPL) has decided to sell the Mac almost exclusively in its online store or in its small number of company-owned retail outlets. That may turn out to be a significant tactical blunder.

According to analysis done by a professor at San Jose State University, published by him in The New York Times, "the Mac’s worldwide market share was 3 percent as of June 2007." And, "based on the ratio of Windows and Macs actually in use, no gains can be seen for Apple."

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has had much of its success in PC sales because it has a huge network of retailers. This has not been lost on Dell (DELL), which recently cut a deal to sell its machines in Wal-Mart (WMT) and plans to expand into other large retail chains.

The Time piece makes a powerful point. The time for Apple to really go after the PC market was when Windows Vista came out and had enough problems and bugs so that some consumers were unhappy.

But, Microsoft is addressing much of that. Lenovo and Acer are becoming more aggressive by pushing harder in the US and European markets. Dell knows it needs retail to get back some of its lost market share.

And, it may be too late for the Mac to take advantage of the stumbles at Dell and Microsoft (MSFT).

Douglas A. McIntyre