When you go get a new computer these days you don't buy a personal computer, you get a Mac -- and with its move to cut prices Apple's (AAPL) is tightening its grip on the ailing PC market.The cheapest MacBook Air yet warns of a huge problem for other PC makers -- and there's almost nothing they can do about it. Add iPad sales, and Apple is already the world's biggest PC maker. IDC and Gartner may resist making that calculation, but Office runs on iPads now and their analytical blind spot doesn't change a thing.
Apple says it sold 4.1 million Macs in its last quarter, up 5 percent. Macs have gained share for 31 of the last 32 quarters - that's in stark contrast to the 1.7 percent decline across the wider PC market. Sure, Apple's 4.1 million remains a minority, but it doesn't sell servers and doesn't compete in budget PC sales -- or didn't...
It does now.
Cutting MacBook Air prices isn't all the company is planning -- there's talk it plans reducing iMac costs this year. MacBook Air and iMac are two of the company's most popular consumer-focused lines.
Consumers on a budget check prices, and they're beginning to get wise to the hidden costs of PC ownership: Software upgrades, application prices and malware protection are extra costs when they look at the PC, but when they look at a Mac they know they also get free system upgrades, productivity apps and little or no malware problems.