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Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 12:17 pm PT (03:17 pm ET)

Mac sales to US businesses grow nearly 50%

Sales of Mac hardware to U.S. businesses grew by 49.4 percent year over year in the September quarter, posting continued growth while PC sales shrank.

Needham


Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company highlighted Apple's success in the enterprise as the "big story" regarding Mac sales in the September quarter. With PC sales to U.S. businesses declining 13.3 percent year over year, Apple had a 62.7 percentage point difference.

Overall, the Mac's unit share of the U.S. business market was 9.3 percent in the September quarter. That was up from 5.9 percent of total sales in June, and 5.4 percent in September of 2011.

Apple had an even bigger share of revenue of PC sales to U.S. businesses, accounting for 17.4 percent. That was also up from an 11.5 percent share in June, and 10.7 percent share a year prior.

Needham


Wolf believes Apple's success has come from a focus on adding features to OS X to make it more compatible with Windows infrastructures. He also feels a key step was the 2006 introduction of BootCamp to run Windows on Intel-based Mac hardware.

"For its part, Microsoft added features to exchange and its other network products that more effortlessly accommodated other operating systems, including Apple's OS X operating system," he said. "These steps enabled the Mac to become a more responsible, if not first-class, citizen in Microsoft's network environment."

But the most important factor for businesses has been the "halo effect" of the iPhone and iPad. As businesses have embraced Apple's iOS devices, he believes they've become more likely to place Macs in the workplace as well.

Apple sold a total of 4.9 million Macs in its September quarter, which represented a new quarterly record for the company. Mac sales slightly edged the same three-month span from a year prior, growing 1 percent.

But while Mac sales were up slightly year over year, the overall PC market continued to slump. Total worldwide PC sales were down 8 percent from 2011, making it 26 straight quarters that Mac sales outgrew PC shipments.