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Gartner Predictions: Apple Doubles Market Share, Laptops Lose Ground

By Jim Offner MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Feb 1, 2008 12:07 PM PT

If Gartner proves prescient, there could be some heady times ahead for Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm figures prominently in a list Gartner released Thursday of predictions on 2008 and beyond.

Gartner Predictions: Apple Doubles Market Share, Laptops Lose Ground

The predictions focus on specific areas in which IT leaders will have to make adjustments, and many of those areas concern the decreased emphasis on hardware and the adaptability of software.

Gartner, which issues periodic forecasts about the IT world, highlighted 10 predictions among more than 100 it made this year.

The firm emphasizes that the predictions stem from trends in various stages of development and may take years to fully unfold.

"These areas of focus imply a significant groundswell of change that may in turn change the entire industry," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president for the firm and a Gartner Fellow.

Integrating Technology a Key

Apple will double its market share in the U.S. and Western Europe in computers by 2011, thanks largely to its success at integrating its software across multiple devices, including the iPod and iPhone, according to Gartner.

"It reflects Apple's success in providing a good user experience and also its ability to integrate computer products with other devices in its ecosystem," Charles Smulders, Gartner's vice president for client computing, told MacNewsWorld. "I think Apple has done a very good job of serving that up and, at the same time, its competitors have done a poorer job."

However, that prediction is tempered in context, he added. "Apple on a worldwide basis has maybe a 3 percent or 4 percent market share, so doubling that would take them to only 6 percent or 7 percent."

Apple's rivals, specifically Microsoft, would be well-served to look at that kind of change, Smulders noted.

"I'd think there would be concern, but they need to focus on how to deliver higher value to their customer," he said. "Apple is a pretty good model in the sense of delivering a simpler computing experience. It allows you to focus on what you're trying to do and not have to wait for the machine to work. You're aiming for an appliance-type model. Like a TV, you switch it on, and it works. The PC industry is a long way from that."

Leaving Laptops Behind

Gartner also forecast that by 2012 half of business travelers will leave their laptops at home as they access data on smaller -- even pocket-sized -- units with Web-based applications that can be reached from anyplace.

"You don't always need to take your full laptop with you, and there will be an increasing number of (smaller) products taken on shorter trips," Smulders commented.

Apple is indeed poised to take advantage of changes in the marketplace, Philip Leigh, host of Inside Digital Media, told MacNewsWorld. "People wanting to abandon their laptops is something Apple is very much aware of."

Another prediction: By 2012, 80 percent of all commercial software will include elements of open source technology, a concept that already has proven cost-efficient.

At least a third of business application software spending will be as service subscription instead of as product license, which Gartner says would be a dramatic change from traditional fixed-price perpetual licensing system.

Leigh supports that trend. "I've gotten to the point where I don't want to download any new programs because it will screw up something on my computer, which is a significant problem for people who want to sell new applications. Just make it operate on the Web itself so the Web itself becomes a platform."

A Greener IT World

Other predictions focus on increasingly environmentally friendly corporate policies. By next year, for example, more than a third of IT operations will have begun to factor green-friendly concerns in their purchasing decisions, Gartner said.

"Everybody can make a prediction, but we went through a process of looking at historical numbers, growth trends [of] what we understand to be key issues in the marketplace," Smulders said. "Five years is a long time, and the predictions are indicative of the market direction and user needs, and I think that's what's important here."

Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Has technology made transportation more or less safe?
Traveling by all modes of transportation has become riskier with each passing year.
In general, transportation safety has been improving steadily, despite some failures.
Some modes of transportation have been improving while others have become less safe.
We may have reached a tipping point where more tech means less safety.
Don't blame the tech -- greedy companies haven't done adequate testing.
Government regulators have not been playing a strong enough oversight role.
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide