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Vista to bite into Apple's Mac market share

The Highlander

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The launch of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system will have a negative effect on Apple's share of the personal computer market over the next several months, according to checks performed by research and investment firm PiperJaffray.


In a research note released to clients on Wednesday, Sr. Analyst Gene Munster said that while a survey of 50 Best Buy retail stores around the country found that Vista sales have not met expectations, PC sales have still risen as a result of the software roll-out.


"Of the 50 stores we surveyed, 80 percent of Best Buy stores indicated that they have sold less copies of Vista than they had expected," the analyst wrote. But at the same time, he said, 72 percent of the stores saw an increase in Windows PC sales since the software launched.


Munster, who attributes the surge to pent-up demand for PCs with Vista pre-installed, is forecasting for a spike in Windows PC sales during the March calendar quarter, which "could put downward pressure on Mac market share." More specifically, the analyst expects Mac market share to decline from 2.5 percent in December to 2.3 percent in March.


"Historically, from December '04 to March '05, Mac units increased by 2.3 percent and the market share increased by 0.3 percent," he wrote. "During the Intel transition, from December '05 to March '06 Mac units fell by 11.3 percent and market share was flat."


Still, Munster said he remains confident that Apple in 2007 will gain share overall, helped from the industrywide shift toward portables where it currently excels. The analyst also sees potential for Apple to seize the opportunity presented by the launch of Vista to gain mind share with consumers.


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