Nobody Uses Macs

Apple really wants you to believe that they matter as a computer company. Every time they make a product announcement, the tech industry buzzes with discussion. All they have to do is announce a press conference, and the pundits come alive with wild speculation about what Apple is up to.

In the current episode of This Week in Tech, Leo and the gang spend 6 minutes talking about Apple’s delay of the new version of the Mac OS and how that’s related to the iPhone, a product that doesn’t even exist yet. Just about every week, they spend a significant amount of time talking about Apple, speculating about its business strategy, and commenting on its various products.

I occasionally listen to podcasts of the Kojo Nnamdi Show. Every Tuesday, they focus on technology. Inevitably, they balance coverage between Windows and the Macintosh. They treat the two platforms like political parties — they have to give equal time to each.

In the education world, we see the same thing. Every time we talk about a resource or application, someone asks, “does it work on the Mac?” or “is there a Mac version of this?” I attended a talk given by Rhonda Anderson last week. She’s one of the founders of Creative Memories, and she was talking about memory preservation. After mentioning their Memory Manager software, someone from the audience piped up. “When is there going to be a Mac version?” Never. She wasn’t quite that blunt about it, but that was the gist of the response.

Nobody Uses MacsHere’s the dirty little secret Apple doesn’t want you to know: almost nobody uses Macs. The Macintosh user community is a very small, but very vocal, minority. Apple is outstanding at marketing. They have always done a great job of creating hype around their products. There’s no other way they could get a million people to sign up to buy a $500 phone that nobody’s ever seen, especially when the cell phone companies will give you a phone for free. They’re marketing geniuses.

Here are some numbers. I installed Firestats on my blog a couple months ago. Of the visitors to my blog, 2.1% are Mac users. Keep in mind that most of my readers are working in the field of education, one of Apple’s traditional strongholds.

Maybe my blog doesn’t get enough traffic to provide a useful sample. Let’s take a look at my web server in general. This server hosts all of our district’s web pages, all of our staff web pages, our e-learning platform, and all of our blogs. I have logs from the period of March 25 – April 18, a period of 24 days. During that time, we logged 2.7 million hits on our site (more than 100,000 per day). Of those, 2.4 million (89%) were from Windows machines. The Mac clients made up 2.7%.In fact, we received more hits from Google’s indexer bots (2.8%) than we did from Macs.

Just for a bit of perspective, Ralph Nader took 2.8% of the popular vote in the 2000 US presidential election. Macs are less relevent to the computing community than he is to the political one.

So what does this mean? If you’re Mac user, recognize that you’re in the minority. There is no “Mac side of things” and “Windows side of things” anymore. There’s the Windows side, and the Windows side, and maybe the Mac edge.  Don’t expect the software developers to write for both platforms — it doesn’t make economic sense for them to do that. Don’t assume that professional development is going to be platform agnostic. It really doesn’t need to be anymore. You’re a foreigner in this land. We welcome you, but please understand that you’re going to have to adapt to the environment. It’s not going to adapt to you anymore.

3 thoughts on “Nobody Uses Macs

  1. I left the following comment on Trusty’s blog regarding the Cancel or Allow Post, and the commericial ads that Apple has been running. I guess I agree with John.

    The only way Apple can compete, in my opinion, is to launch these commercials trying to tarnish Windows. I have had experience with both platforms and of course I am a Windows man. Microsoft should not waste the time or resources to even acknowledge these ads. It makes for good entertainment and a lot of it is true, but are people actually going to consider switching to Mac…- I seriously doubt it.

  2. I think you posted this just to get a comment from me!

    I’m the first person to always say, pick the right tool for the job. We run all three operating systems at Kenton, with Mac OS X on the majority, and then Linux, and finally a small minority (less than 20 machines out of 650) running some variation of Windows. One of our goals is to provide a reliable technological experience for our students and teachers, and OS X and Linux gives us this for practically nothing.

    What I don’t understand is people (Windows/OS X/Linux users alike) attacking other operating systems. Maybe it’s some way to validate their own insecurities in the OS they run? 🙂 I also believe that it is something to do with the area. Almost all of the education blogs I read are written by Mac users, but I only know of two other mac districts near me.

    Anyway, Apple is now the 4th largest PC manufacturing in America, according to IDC and Gartner. If Apple’s numbers continue (shipments are up 30%), they will surpass Gateway, becoming the 3rd largest behind Dell and HP. Obviously someone is buying millions of machines.

    It is amazing what the Intel switch has done for Apple and OS X. I can run any application I need now on one machine.

    p.s. Your blog numbers don’t represent my viewings unless I make a comment since I read your posts in Google Reader. 🙂

  3. Al Gore uses a Mac. Doesn’t he count for a few percent?

    p.s. I’m viewing your blog from eight different PC’s every day. So I’m inflating your PC numbers.

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