Having seen the NPD report which claimed Apple’s retail market share has dropped, John Gruber takes issue:
“It’s never been clear to me why reports like this are reported as fact. NPD doesn’t have some sort of magic access to Apple’s sales numbers, and Apple does not release monthly sales data.”
Which is interesting, given this report that John ran last May:
“The idea that Apple now sells two-thirds of retail computers costing $1000 or more is simply stunning… I strongly suspect that if NPD’s numbers were more granular, Apple’s share would be even more dramatic at higher price ranges: $1500+, $2000+, etc.”
Or this one, where he approvingly writes of Ina Fried’s report on (you guessed it) NPD numbers:
“It is entirely possible that hell has frozen over: there are PC industry analysts saying sensible things about Apple’s market share.”
Or this one, where he reports NPD numbers on the iPhone:
“The NPD Group is reporting that the iPhone 3G is now the top-selling consumer mobile phone in the U.S., beating the Motorola Razr for the top spot.”
In fact, a Google search shows the number of references to NPD on DF – mostly, approving of the positive figures about Apple market share they’ve consistently produced over the past few years – now goes on to two pages.
Of course, picking out old posts where people got it wrong is easy (there’s plenty of them here, if you care to look). And everyone has the right to change their mind. John would probably argue that he’s caveated most (but not all) of his posts about NPD numbers with “NPD is reporting that…”
But this doesn’t change the fact that John has been happy to lean on NPD numbers and talk about them as if they were fact for a while.
It looks pretty odd start to question the veracity of a research company you’ve been happy to report on before at just the same moment their numbers change direction. That’s doubly true when those numbers challenge the hopes and desires of a big chunk of your readership.