Weblog:   Apple and Developers
Subject:   Market Share
Date:   2003-06-30 13:44:19
From:   anonymous2

Market share IS important. Apple needs to grow the base of machines that people are going to buy software for...


If you are a developer, and it's a choice between Windows, Linux, and Mac, some of the reasoning may go like this:


* Windows - well, I can't stand MS, but the hardware is ubiquitous, everyone has the OS, and the software is literally everywhere. I can grab a copy of CodeWarrior, and get going for not too much money...


* Linux - well, it's free, and the hardware is ubiquitous and cheap, and there's a great developer community.. I may not make any money selling my product, but I'll get to go to some really great parties. Maybe I can do well at consulting on it. Maybe I'll write something fantastic, and then I can do a book on it :-)


* Mac - well, it's sexy. It's Unix++ The hardware is pricey, and even with a $3000+ investment in ADC, I'm not getting much of a price break. My product will show up in some stores, but I better be really good at the download sales (a la OmniGroup, AquaMinds, and Circus Ponies) - I'm taking a big risk to develop something on a great platform that has a very small market share. Gosh, I believe, but I gotta eat too. Can't Apple sell a LOT more of these somehow, so that I have many more potential customers? Oh, do I go with my heart, or my head?


Daniel Smith

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  • Market Share
    2003-07-31 00:16:31  anonymous2 [View]

    Since Daniel references us (Circus Ponies) in such a complimentary manner I could not help but chime in with my two cents about the attractiveness of developing a product for the Mac market.

    There is another aspect to the market share discussion that tends to get overlooked, and that is the signal-to-noise ratio in each of these markets. The noise level in both the Windows and Linux markets is deafening. There may be vast numbers of users in these markets, but creating mind share is near-impossible on a bootstrap budget.

    In addition, in the Mac market, where the majority of users really "get it" about great software, your cost-per-meaningful lead is much lower, especially if you have a great product. As Paul Hawken says, what consumers really want is not actually that complicated a sell. Customers are people with problems. In our case, that problem amounts to the difficulty of staying organized while drinking from the digital fire hose. Give people a great solution to their problem and listen to their input and they will bend over backwards to help you to build a market for your product -- and contribute great product ideas in the process. Word of mouth is still possible in the Mac market.

    As far as I am concerned, Apple's #1 job is to build a healthy and thriving market for us to sell into. The customers who buy into the expensive hardware are committed and passionate and are not averse to improving their experience with new software products that get great reviews and offer value for money.

    I have learned that you can succeed only if you are fearless of failure. The Mac market's receptivity to new ideas outweighs its size as a platform for building a software business. All the rest is just commentary and scaling your business model to fit what the market can bear. We have no need to be the size of General Motors.

    Elizabeth Statmore
    Circus Ponies Software

    http://circusponies.com
  • Market Share
    2003-07-01 02:44:52  senjaz [View]

    Hmm, $900 (10% discount from ADC) for an iBook, $500 for Select membership to ADC. So you don't need to spend $3000 to get into Mac development.

    I know PowerBooks are sexy, but if you develop an app to run with reasonable performance on your iBook then you guarantee that everyone else will be able to run it well.
  • Market Share
    2003-06-30 15:36:41  jmincey [View]

    You are right that market share is important, but that's the last thing you are right about. In your characterization of the three platforms, you are not remotely evenhanded. So to balance your view, I offer my own:

    1. A developer can join the legions of those who create products under the Windows platform -- and unless he defines a whole new genre of software unto itself -- he can look forward to utter anonymity by offering one product among hundreds or thousands of competing products.

    2. A developer can join the Linux geek community and code server applets, shell utilities, or scripts in Python, Perl, Ruby, and PHP and the like -- and if he never wants a product to get into the hands of an actual CONSUMER -- he can stay in his geek heaven.

    3. A developer can join the ranks of those who develop for the Macintosh -- a platform which combines the best of all worlds: (1) a consumer desktop platform with an established and dedicated installed base, (2) Unix-based underpinnings for the hacker in his soul with robust support for Java, (3) the education market where -- despite some declines -- Apple remains very strong, (4) power users, and (5) loyal customers in the Mac's strong niches of music, graphics, video, and prepress. In this environment a developer can truly distinguish himself without getting lost amid thousands of other competitors. Here a developer can reach multiple markets -- home consumer, home office, small business, education, and corporate -- as well as focusing on both client and server applications.

    See how easy it is to skew the landscape? Anyone can tilt things to his own point of view. I normally wouldn't describe a developer's options in such biased terms as I have done above, but I do so here for purposes of making a larger point.

    Jeff Mincey

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