appeared, IBM and the early clones already had 32% of the market. Apple ][ was 16% of the market and the new untried Mac was 6%. Apple had no idea if Mac was going to be a hit or not. Nobody else thought so. Icons on screen, mouses for pointing, white WYSIWYG displays (What You See Is What You Get) were all new to a world that was used to typing obscure computer commands on green phosphorescent screens. Pundits and reviewers mocked the silly icons and mouse and called the Macintosh a toy com- puter for people who weren’t smart enough to use an IBM PC clone.
Compaq Portable 1983 The first legal IBM clone. Extinct.
But, Apple believed and began phasing out the successful Apple][ line. They put all of their faith and effort into the new Mac.
Apple ][ 1977 The first of the Apple ][ line. Extinct.
If, at this time, Apple had tried to sell li- censes to Mac OS, they would have run into another problem. Only Apple had the technology to run Mac OS. IBM clones were not powerful enough to do the job, so any computer maker that wanted to make a Mac clone would need to use special, cutting edge technologies. This would have meant that Mac clones would be more ex- pensive than Macs made by Apple. There wasn’t any good reason for a cloner to in- vest so much in an computer that may turn out to be a commercial failure.
Macintosh Plus 1986 The third Macintosh model
It wasn’t until 1992 that Macintosh style computing was finally accepted by the mainstream of computing as a success and something that other computer makers would want to buy into through a license. Macintosh had a 12% market share. IBM and the clones had an 88% market share. The race was already long over. Licensing, when it was finally tried in 1995, almost put Apple out of business and came very close to killing the Macintosh.
Be Box 1995 The last serious challenger to WinTel and Apple. Extinct.
Also in 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95. Now the IBM clones** could use Mac- intosh style computing. Windows 95 was roughly equivalent in usability to 1986 vin- tage Macs, but that was good enough for
**By now IBM itself was re- duced to less than a 10% market share. The clone makers and Microsoft were fully in charge.
The BBB period lasted from 1976 until 1985. During this time the market share leader- ship was held by many companies.
From 1977 until 1979, Radio Shack’s Tandy TRS-80 models outsold everything else by a wide margin. Every city, town and village had a Radio Shack store, so TRS-80s be- came ubiquitous. They enjoyed a 48% share.
1980 through 1982 saw no clear winner. Atari saw shares in the mid 20s. Radio Shack’s TRS-80 share fell from almost 50% to 10%. The winners were the small makers like Commodore, Kaypro, Osborn, Compaq and others. All added together, they aver- aged about 50% of the market.
Then came the Commodore 64. For two years (1983 and 1984) the C64 was the king with 40% of the market. By comparison, the Ap- ple ][ held 10%* and the new IBM PC was just making its mark with an impressive 28% share.
By 1985, the BBB era was over. Compaq successfully (and legally) cloned the IBM PC which allowed Compaq’s computers to run the same software as the IBM PC. Compaq then licensed this technology to other man- ufacturers and the ABB era began.
With the coming of the clones, the computer market broke into three pieces. There was IBM and the clones (since they all ran the same software they are considered a unit), Apple, with its Apple ][ and Macintosh models, and the independent manufactur- ers that didn’t choose the IBM clone route.
1985 saw IBM and the clones take a 49% market share. 1986, 56%. 1987, 65%. 1988, 80%. By 1988, Apple][ was less than 1%. Macintosh was there at 5.5% and virtually everyone else was out of business.
It all happened so fast that there wasn’t time for Apple to consider licensing. Keep in mind that in 1984, when Macintosh first
*Apple ][’s highest share during the BBB era was 16% in 1984.
Special report Why Macs Have 4% Market Share ©2005 California Computer Care