Apple defies gravity, goes up

Apple defies gravity, goes up

Apple computer appears to have rebounded back into the PC market according to a recent Gartner Group survey that placed it in the top five PC companies in Australia.

It took fifth spot with 5.4 per cent of the market, which equates to 21,000 PC sales. This was behind Compaq which, although losing ground to IBM, managed to retain the top spot with 13.7 per cent of the market. IBM's segment grew to 10 per cent giving it second place, with Hewlett-Packard third and Dell fourth.

Apple's corporate affairs manager Myrna Vanpelt asserts that the rejuvenated Apple is due in large part to two factors, the particular target markets of its PCs and their technical design. "We design products for specific markets to meet specific market needs," which include design and publishing, education, consumers and the high-end corporate market, states Vanpelt.

Vanpelt believes that Apple has no intention of languishing in the number-five spot as "the customer base as a whole is fast emerging". To aid in this rapid development, Vanpelt states Apple is committed to providing "as wide an access to market as possible", and suggests that this could include a re-evaluation of channel strategies if it increased the demand for, and movement of, inventory.

According to the Gartner Group research there was a 19 per cent increase in the sale of PCs, plenty of room for Apple to manoeuvre within. However, the figure is partly in response to the threat of the millennium bug, an issue that is a double-edged sword with year 2000 spending compromising overall budgets. Businesses will need to focus on compliant software, back-up systems and contingency plans, and this will allow only a 5 per cent growth rate this year, just nudging PC sales over the two million mark.

However, Apple is determined to avoid another fall from grace and, according to Vanpelt, the strong focus it has on core products will protect it from moving below the top five again. "We had diversified beyond our means," stated Vanpelt who believes that Apple's latest colour iMacs and the blue-and-white striped G3s provide the direction the company needs.

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