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Apple Mac Market Is On The Move

Thursday, 31 Jan 2008 | 4:02 PM ET

Sure we keep hearing about the iPhone and the iPod, oh, and the Mac as well, but while we're fixated on where Apple's products have been, a new study suggests where Apple's products are going, and it can be summed up in one word: Mac.

Gartner is out with news today that shows Apple capturing 12 percent of the U.S. personal computer market by 2011, better than double the market share the company enjoys today. Not bad for a company that's spent the last three years doubling its market share already.

No question the Mac momentum is here to stay. Every quarter when Apple reports earnings, the Mac numbers only seem to strengthen. Not too long ago, the company reported its first 2-million Macs sold quarter, and now it seems it just keeps happening.

Apple's Mac sales growth is dwarfing sales gains at companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell , and while Microsoft keeps trumpeting the quick and broad adoption of Vista licenses, none of these companies' growth comes even close to what Apple is enjoying.

According to Gartner, Apple is enjoying a perfect storm of sorts: failures by the PC side of the business to offer compelling, consumer innovation, focusing instead on the enterprise; while Apple is seizing on the biggest trends going, including social networking and digital entertainment and photography. Not to mention the Intel microprocessors inside that now make the platform a little more compelling for business users as well.

Says the report: "Apple is challenging its competitors with software integration that provides ease of use and flexibility, continuous and more frequent innovation in hardware and software, and an ecosystem that focuses on interoperability across multiple devices (such as iPod and iMac cross-selling.)"

Wow. Remember all those stories we did on the so-called iPod halo effect? Where people come into to an Apple store looking for an iPod, then see all the other cool products and decide to snap up some of those too? It was great for Mac, at the time, but now that Mac snowball is careening down the mountain, gaining strength and sales-size all its own. Call it the new Mac-halo effect that could do wonders in keeping iPod sales strong, and continue to generate ongoing interest in iPhone.

Don't underestimate the power of the platform. Apple is no longer a one-trick pony. It's got more momentum--whether the stock reflects it or not--than just about anyone else in the sector.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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