Mac Scope

Advantages of a Small Mac Market

Stephen Van Esch - May 15, 2000

The recent fracas over the ILOVEYOU worm caused some backpatting and congratulations in non-Windows circles. People who use Macintoshes, BeOS, and UNIX variants more or less sat back and chuckled as the Windows world went down in flames.

Our only real protection from similar things happening is the minority status of Mac platform.

Sure, the Swiss cheese security of Outlook and Windows has to take a lot of the blame, but it's way easier to shoot an elephant on the plain than a groundhog in the grass. It looks much more spectacular and turns way more heads as well.

The Mac is not immune to viruses or worms. Some vicious ones have made the rounds, the most recent being the Autostart worm in May 1998. Did the Autostart worm make headlines? Nope. So where's the motivation?

Things are changing, however. Macs are winning converts and, while barely putting a dent in the Windows market, are definitely catching attention.

Do people really want the Mac to grow to the titanic proportions of Microsoft if it could be done? What are the advantages?

Some are pretty clear: more developers, more software, more choice, less vilification, and more respect.

Of course the downside is also pretty clear: more viruses, more buggy software, more homogenization and, of course, no cachet.

The benefits of remaining small with around 15% of the market? Fewer viruses, close community, better performance, tighter control, and, of course, the cachet.

So it comes down to this: Would you prefer the Mac to be the dominant platform or would you like to see it stay small? It's always nice to have a goal. For example, the Linux community is very much involved in bringing Microsoft to its knees. Is this a worthy goal? Of course! Would the Linux community lose something in the process? Definitely.

Personally, I would like the Macintosh to remain a minority in the computer market. Not a tiny minority, of course, but small enough to fly beneath the radar while still getting most of the goodies other computer users enjoy.

I also think the Mac could stand a little more growth. A few million more users might convince hardware and software vendors that are currently sitting on the fence when it comes to Mac development might join in the fun.

Realistically I would stay with the Mac no matter how big its market share. The advantages of the Mac interface are just too good to throw away because the environment changed.

So, more users would be great. But total market domination? Not for me, thanks.

What do you think: Do you want the Mac market share to grow? Take out poll at the top of the column on the right.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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Mac Market
Share Poll

Do you want the Mac market share to grow?

No, itís just the right size.

Yes, to maybe 20% of the market or so.

Yes, to at least 50% of the market.

Yes, world domination!


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