Does Apple's Market Share Gain Really Matter?

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

By Carl Howe

Wednesday, Bryan Gardiner over at Wired noted Apple's recent market share gains reported by Net Applications (which personally, I don't put much stock in, since they are largely browser-based). But Bryan was also kind enough to also reference my recent article citing Wharton's study debunking of market share strategies (Thanks Bryan).

Here's a quick question that will demonstrate how little effect market share has: Think about the manufacturer of the most expensive product you own, which is probably your car. What market share does that manufacturer have? If you're like most people (i.e., not a marketing and technology geek like me), you probably have no idea; you bought the car because it met your needs. So why should products that let you drive on the internet be any different than those on the highway?

But forget cars and browers; anyone wanting to figure out Apple's influence has only to look at 1) how crowded the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores were over the holidays, 2) how many white headphones they see in crowds, and 3) how many Apple laptops they see at conferences. This is a company making 14% net profits on revenues growing 40%+ a year, while competitors like HP and Dell are living on single-digit profit margins and much flatter growth. I predict we'll see Apple report fiscal Q1 earnings of more than $1.3 billion on $9.6 billion in revenues. And with a strong new product pipeline ahead, including a 3G iPhone, new Macs, and a host of new media services, 2008 is going to be a very good year for Apple -- regardless of what its market share numbers look like.

Disclosure: Auhtor is long AAPL.