Plenty of people were looking for an excuse to buy into the Apple dream. Wednesday’s decision to let Microsoft Windows run on its computers, alongside Apple’s own operating system, could be a helpful trigger for both customers and investors.
For large enterprise customers it is unlikely to make a difference. Decisions are made centrally and supporting both Macs and PCs would increase complexity. For small businesses and consumers, however, it removes a barrier that potentially kept them from switching to Apple. Previously, they might have feared not being able to use software only compatible with Windows. Also, long-term Windows users might have feared buying a Mac and having to get used to a different operating system. Now they will be able to buy a Mac for its attractive design and software – arguably less prone to virus attacks – while retaining the option of using Windows if necessary.
In practice, it is unlikely to catapult Macs into the mainstream. After all, they are still a more expensive option and most people remain content with the performance of a PC. But Apple accounts for less than 3 per cent of the computer market. While there is little negative for Apple from the move, a small rise in its market share would have a big impact on revenues.
For investors, the announcement is an excuse to buy back into the stock which, before Wednesday’s bounce, had fallen 29 per cent since mid-January. On top of a potential increase in unit sales, investors can take heart from the fact that turning 30 has not affected Apple’s readiness to adapt. In fact, getting into bed with arch-rival Microsoft suggests its willingness to embrace change has increased.