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The data from Apple's previous fiscal quarter was highlighted on Friday by analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company. He said though he originally viewed success in the enterprise as a "one-quarter blip," it now appears to be a "durable platform" for Apple.
"Mac shipments in the business market grew at a torrid 66.0% pace, an order of magnitude higher than the 4.5% shipment growth rate of the business market," Wolf wrote.
The trend is particularly interesting because between 2007 and 2009, Mac sales in the enterprise stagnated even as the platform was taking off with consumers. The trend has only reversed over the past four quarters.
Mac sales are now estimated to be 3 percent of total PC business sales, which is the highest total Apple has seen since the second quarter of 1997.
Broken down my market segment, Mac shipments grew 94.7 percent in the "very large business" category, 75.5 percent with "large businesses," 58.1 percent with "medium businesses," and 90.4 percent with "small businesses." All of those totals well exceeded growth in the overall PC market.
Apple's newfound success in the enterprise helped the company outpace its already tremendous growth in the consumer market. Last quarter, Mac shipments in the worldwide home market grew 21.6 percent, while the overall PC market dropped 4.4 percent.
Apple also saw a whopping 155.6 percent growth in Mac sales to governments, compared with just 2.3 percent for PCs. And while education sales grew just 1 percent for Apple, the overall market saw sales slide 6.5 percent last quarter.
"Notwithstanding its premium prices compared with Windows PCs, the Mac should continue to grow faster than the PC market, propelled by the halo effects now emanating from the iPod, iPhone and iPad along with the international rollout of Apple Stores," Wolf said.
In its second fiscal quarter of 2011, Apple reported sales of 3.76 million Macs, a year over year increase of 28 percent and the best-ever total for March quarter. Mac sales helped Apple's profits to grow 95 percent in the three-month frame.
During the company's quarterly earnings conference call, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook acknowledged the success Apple and the Mac platform have had lately in the enterprise, though he did not delve into specific numbers. He did state he believes that the iPad, which has seen swift adoption among major companies, as created a "halo effect" for the Mac, resulting in even more sales for the platform.