The View from the Middle

1998 July 4

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This is a Sign of Life?

Apple seems to bring out the extreme in people. Those who hate Apple and its products are vehement and usually wrong - but those who love Apple are almost as vehement and often just as wrong when trying to defend their favourite company.

One entertaining example comes from the pages of MacAddict, a magazine which tries to capture the fanatic Mac user market with its goofy in-your-face style of reporting. Personally, I like MacAddict's style and the content is often both amusing and useful, but sometimes you do have to wonder.

In their July 1998 edition, they show a chart of recent unit sales and conclude that Apple's sales are showing signs of life after a long dead period. Here's their chart:

From this, they've concluded that Apple's sales are showing signs of life. In fact, the upswing in 98Q2 is barely noticable over the noise. While it's true that 98Q2 is definitely up from 97Q2, none of the quarters from 97Q4 forwards beat 97Q3. What's really amazing is that this all ignores the fact that Apple's sales dropped by 30% between the 1995 and 1996 sales year and then again by another 25% between the 1996 and 1997 sales year. The only good news is that so far, with one quarter in 1998's sales year, it's looking like at the worst, Apple won't see another significant loss in sales. That's nothing to sneeze at, indeed, but hardly the same as 'showing signs of life'.