Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked yesterday about its top competitors a couple of days ago calling piracy and Linux as its top competitors. Ballmer all but dismissed Apple’s market share gains as insignificant. He makes the obvious point that Apple only gained 1 percent of 300 million PCs worldwide. He’s exactly right that Apple has a very insignificant hold on the market (around 7 percent), however, can Microsoft dismiss them the way Ballmer did? He placed Linux and piracy as the biggest competitors and Apple coming in third.
The problem with dismissing Apple like that is that market share is viral and Apple is a cult. Of course, Microsoft has nothing to worry about immediately, but the whole reason that Microsoft has the market share is because “the rest of the world uses it”. End users are going to buy what everyone is using. If Apple can gain enough market share to change the perception the market could swing the other way. Granted, this is a long way down the road, but when I, for one, switched to Apple I also brought several people with me. Granted, I was a Linux user (and still am somewhat on the desktop and almost exclusively on the server), but I brought a lot of users with me who used to be Windows users.