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AppleInsider has recently released an article about how the Macintosh's business marketshare almost tripled over this recent summer.

This is a fairly interesting fact. Apple's consumer sales have gone down recently, which is not surprising when considering Apple's prices and the current state of the economy. The growth in small business sales will no doubt help to make up for this. According to AppleInsider, that's an increase from 61,000 units sold to 188,000 for the quarter. In marketshare, this has brought them from 1.9% to 5.6% for small business.

So, while consumers have stopped buying expensive Macs, businesses have started buying them. Interesting, considering how business-oriented Microsoft tries to be with their Small Business Server products. It would seem to make sense that small businesses would turn to Windows-based PCs when considering cost as well as hardware compatibility. One does have to remember, however, that with boot camp and products such as Parallels that Macs can run Windows. Still, that would push up the cost of ownership even more.

So the question is, why has Apple been so suddenly successful in the small business field? There is no clear-cut answer. I have a few theories, however. Perhaps instead of buying new computers with Windows Vista pre-installed, these companies are hoping to continue using Windows XP with a new Mac. Macs have typically had excellent hardware quality, and small businesses may factor in the cost of having a machine repaired if it breaks down when they make their decision to buy. And perhaps the greater initial cost of buying an additional copy of Windows (and sometimes Parallels or a similar virtual machine product for the Mac) isn't so bad after all. The base iMac is priced at $1199, which isn't too bad. And for applications that only require word processing or where a company used to have a computer and still has the old monitor, keyboard, and mouse, there is always the Mac mini which starts at a reasonable $599.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see whether or not this type of growth continues, and whether small businesses also turn to Apple for server products (such as the Xserve with OS X Server).


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