The recent increase in Macintosh shipments has focused attention on the newfound potential for Apple to chip away at the dominant position of Windows-based PCs. But buried in Microsoft’s most recent quarterly report is a reminder that the Redmond company also benefits from increased Mac sales, albeit in a very small way, relatively speaking. The quarter to which this sentence refers is roughly the same period in which Apple reported a 43 percent increase in Mac shipments:
This is something I’ve actually long wondered about: Would Microsoft actually end up making more money if Mac sales increased? The average OEM pays $70 for Windows on a new PC. The cost of Office is minimal – in bulk, you’re probably talking $100 or less. Even the cheapo student/teacher edition of Office for Mac costs $139, and the development costs on it are considerably less than on Office for Windows. Of course, Microsoft makes a lot of money from selling software that depends on Windows being the dominant platform, but I’d bet that if Apple doubled it’s market share MS would still end up making more money as a result.