Mac sales down! Vista to blame?!

As a teacher of the Macalope’s liked to say, “There are no stupid questions, Macalope. Only stupid people.”

Which brings us to eWeek’s Joe Wilcox who asks Did Vista Sap Mac Sales?

“Sap Mac sales”? What conference call were you listening to?

After a year of gains, Mac shipments declined during Apple’s fiscal 2007 second quarter. Is Vista a reason?

Mac shipments declined? What? No, they didn’t. They were up 36%.

Sequentially, overall Mac shipments declined 6 percent, as measured in units and dollars, between Apple’s fiscal first and second quarters.

Oh, fer…

Not the old “quarter to quarter” crap again. C’mon!

And the “years of gains” part isn’t even correct and Wilcox’s own chart shows that. You know, if you’re looking at sequential quarters — apart from asking yourself why on God’s green earth you’re doing that — you might want to actually look at the data before you make generalizations.

“Years of gains”? No. Mac sales declined slightly a quarter ago and, duh, more significantly… exactly one year ago!

But Wilcox has apparently only just heard of this “cyclicality” of which we speak.

The word from analysts: No impact. The declines are seasonable, and typical for Apple and less than fiscal 2006 second quarter.

Uh, you know, Joe, you can actually do that calculation yourself. You don’t need to call some fancy high-paid analyst. Just get the ol’ slide rule out and let ‘er rip!

What’s funny about Wilcox’s piece is the underlying “Uh… no…” tone in all the quotes he gets.

“I wouldn’t read too much into a sequential decline,” said David Daoud, manager of IDC’s personal computing and PC tracker programs.

You can almost hear Daoud scratching his head and speaking… very… slowly…

This one is better, though:

“Sales always decline from [Apple’s] Q1 to Q2 because of seasonality,” said Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis. “A better question would be if the sequential decline this year was more or less than the sequential decline last year.”

“Sales always decline this quarter, you numbskull, and, uh, your question sucks.”

Now, one might argue that Wilcox only asked a question and faithfully reported the answer.

So what’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong is that the question is so misplaced. Did he really think Apple’s results were a bad thing? How could he have missed the multitude of reports that Mac sales soared? How could he have missed Apple’s stock price ripping past 100?


  • In other news, Microsoft sold way more copies of Vista this month than they did last April.

  • “declines are seasonable”: Very reasonable, seasonable.

  • Don:

    “Not the old “quarter to quarter” crap again. C’mon!”

    This should be the point where Artie MacStrawman whips out a graph of Apple’s quarterly sales for the past 5 years, and points out the “seasonable” [sic] quarter-to-quarter nature of sales. For. The. Past. Many. Years.

    Or maybe the Macalope should whip up such a graph, because poor Artie is just so darn busy advising Teh Steve on how to make the iPhone dialable while you’re driving. That’s a must-have feature, and it’ll take some real magic to pull off before the ship date. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible, even taking RDFs into account, so I’m buying stock in the “Drive Now, Talk Later” sticker manufacturers. Or maybe speech recognition technology. Or something.

    Because if you can’t endanger other drivers with your upscale gadget, there’s just no point in buying it in the first place.

  • monkyhead:

    seasonable |ˈsēzənəbəl|
    1 usual for or appropriate to a particular season of the year : seasonable temperatures.
    2 archaic coming at the right time or meeting the needs of the occasion; opportune. See note at timely .

    seasonability |ˌsēzənəˈbilitē| noun
    seasonableness noun
    seasonably |-blē| adverb

    USAGE Is it seasonable or seasonal ? Seasonable means ‘usual or suitable for the season’ or ‘opportune’:: although seasonable, the weather was not warm enough for a picnic. Seasonal means ‘of, depending on, or varying with the season’: | seasonal changes in labor requirements draw migrant workers to the area in spring and fall.

  • John Kirk:

    I went to read the original article. I was reluctant to do so since I thought the blogger might be fishing for hits. The article was, as the Macalop described, bizarre. The premise that the release of Vista might have somehow sapped Mac sales was contradicted by the interviews and factual evidence.

    Then I read the comments on the article. And then I REALLY entered the bizarro world. Despite the fact that the author was trying to pretend that Apple didn’t have the greatest 2nd quarter in it’s history, the commentators were simply FURIOS that the article’s author was so pro-Apple and anti- Microsoft! I’m looking at this guy and thinking he is a Microsoft tool and they are looking at him and calling him an Apple fanboy.

    Honesty, I can’t express how strange the comments are. You just have to read them yourself. Don’t worry about giving the author unwarrented hits. When you read his article you’ll see that he clearly is not intending to bait Apple supporters.

    My head is spinning…

  • I love headlines that ask a question. Only a very stupid or a very dishonest writer would ever do it if the answer was in fact a clear “no” – otherwise, why not just say “Vista Sales Don’t Sap Mac Sales”?

    Hitler Alive In Israel?
    Vista Actually Norton Commander Repackaged?
    Mac Computers Made Of Dead Puppies?

  • Steve W:


    My mom had a saying for every occasion. One was, “Why be difficult? With a little more effort, you can be impossible!”

    Here’s hoping Apple makes it impossible to dial and drive. It might not be good for sales, but it would be great for your fellow road runners.

  • After all that fuss about how Apple was not launching anything specifically to compete with Vista’s launch earlier this year, it seems from their Q2 figures that not doing anything much worked out pretty well.

  • Dai Jones:

    To be fair to the guy, he does say in his comments that he started out expecting to write about vista’s impact on Mac sales, but effectively changed his mind after talking to the analysts. Now, we can question why he needed analysts to point out the truth of the situation, but I think he did a fair job in the end. And now the poor sod’s getting it from both ends!


  • Bill Coleman:

    The terribly revealing part is a comment written by Joe (whom I assume is Joe Wilcox — the reporter for his story):

    “When I saw Apple’s numbers, I very much expected to write about Vista’s negative impact on Mac sales. The top section was written with that expectation.

    However, the consulted analysts had a different interpretation of the numbers, which I was obliged to write. Reporting leads the story.”

    What he’s saying is that he had already written half of the artlcle beforehand. He doesn’t say it, but I would gues he had the “top section” written before Apple even posted their numbers. He then expected to call up a few analysts and get some quotes to round out his reporting. Very nice.

    So, when the numbers didn’t fit his story, that didn’t deter him. And when the analysts couldn’t provide him with a money quote (was Rob Enderle not available?), he just put in what they said without reconsidering the topic of the article.

    In short, he may have saved some time doing it this way — but it’s just bad reporting. If the facts don’t support your thesis, you must reconsider your thesis.

  • Piot:

    Sorry to repeat myself (I replied to the original article), but you don’t even have to use the seasonal vs sequential argument.

    Mac sales declined 5.5% (sequentially)
    All PC sales declined 8.5% (sequentially)

  • John Kirk:

    To Bill Coleman:

    You’re right on the money. He clearly expected Vista sales to have an impact on Mac sales but the facts didn’t support him. So he came out with an honest report in a back asswards kind of way.

    But did you read the comments left on his site? The Microsoft fans were absolutely insensed with him for being pro-Apple. Stranger and stranger.

  • Steven R W:

    “declines are seasonable”: And what’s more.. if properly seasoned, they are delicious!

  • cutemartin:

    In other news this week:

    European Ski Resorts in meltdown

    Bosses at beleaguered ski resorts across Europe are holding crisis talks this week after shocking preliminary surveys show bookings for the next 6 months have plummeted to less than 10% of the figures for the previous 6 months.

    “We don’t know what went wrong,” said Mr. Jobsworth, of struggling tourism operator Alp-ple. “All our customers are abandoning us in favour of going to see the Meditterranean Vista. Hopefully they’ll come back next winter when we launch our new Snow Leopard package.”

    Analyst Paul Thurroughlywrongasalways thinks he can explain what’s happened: “It’s nothiing to do with warming” he said from the deck of his yacht, the MS Whore, in Monte Carlo. “Now that the Med has built its own mountains and stolen much of the world’s snow, the game’s up for the Alps.”

    “People catch skin cancer every day now, in the Alps” added Meditterranean chief Bill Everyoneevenfortheairtheybreathe. “That never happens on a beach holiday. We offer the Worst of alll Worlds. The Woaw starts noaw.”

  • Adam:

    “What’s curious is that one of those high-tech companies providing training, personnel, and support to the task force is Apple Inc.”

    So this task force, specialized in high technology crime, should never investigate any case related to Apple or any other steering-committee member, big tech companies like Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe, Cisco, etc.? In that case, what the hell are they going to investigate?

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