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 Apple’s Mac sales shot up 50 per cent year-on-year in April, driving a 46 per cent spike in revenue, according to the NPD Group.

NPD also revealed that – far from slowing down – iPod sales also jumped 15 per cent that month. And Lehman Brothers analyst Ben Reitzes reckons new Mac laptops – equipped with MacBook Air-type touch technology – are on the way. (And maybe more).

“Checks are indicating that the attractive look of the Air may make its way into other models in terms of slimmer, metallic designs. We believe these notebooks will be popular for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons,” the analyst said. Oddly, that’s what we were saying last week…pegging the date as July-ish…(We predicted the iMac intro a month early too, fact fans).

It’s just the latest in a string of industry trend-beating news from Apple Inc. As 9 to 5 Mac reported (before the majority of the Mac web) earlier this week, NPD figures show Apple to be the brand of choice in the high-end laptop market. An astonishing 66 per cent of laptops sold in the US costing $1,000 or more are made by Apple. While Apple’s share falls to just 14 per cent  in the sub-$1,000 bracket, it’s an incredibly significant figure all the same. (And yeah, we know those Windows Fanboys will begin to chunder on about how the only Mac we can buy for under $1,000 is the Mac mini, get over it, those cheap PCs just don’t offer the same degree of utility, usability or features as a Mac, and run a second-rate OS).

Apple’s making market gains through a combination of factors: superior operating system, better-featured and aesthetically-designed Macs, a world-class retail store chain, and the increasingly vapid WIndows market. Apple’s iPod and iPhone have put the corporate brand into consumer minds, meaning that 50 per cent of Macs sold through Apple’s retail stores are going to users new to the platform.

High-tech also counts: I think many experienced industry watchers missed the significance of the MacBook Air when it shipped: but the whole notion of a computer you can put inside an envelope has caught on on the streets, people remember this. Which is why Apple’s recent 10Q noted: “The increases in Mac net sales and unit sales were driven primarily by sales of the new MacBook Air, introduced in January 2008, and higher sales of the iMac and other Mac portable systems.”

Proof of the pudding’s in the eating: Mac unit growth reached 51 per cent and 48 per cent in the second quarter of Q2 and first six months of 2008 respectively – exceeding the industry average.

Apple’s laptop sales climbed 61 per cent, with 2.29 million Macs sold in Q2, 1.433 million of Macs sold were laptops.

Surging Mac sales caused Apple CEO Steve Jobs to reflect last October: “The question is, are we headed for a tipping point, it sometimes feels like that.”

IDC claims 23.5 million computers were sold in the first quarter of 2008 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which is equivalent to 19 per cent sales growth over Q1 2007. Apple’s overall Mac sales in Europe climbed 45 per cent in the March quarter.

And the effect? Apple accounted for 7.58 per cent of all US Internet users in March, up near 15 per cent, year-on-year. And Apple is now the leading supplier of laptops within the US education markets.

So while those inexpensive PCs may dominate the market share numbers, when it comes to users looking to make a serious computing investment in order to actually, you know, do stuff, Apple’s growing share and dominance in the $1,000-plus category promises great things…

….and isn’t the Mac mini due an upgrade soon? With near $20 billion in the bank, is there any real reason now Apple can’t ramp-up its competitiveness at the lower end of the market? (Not one they’ve traditionally played in, I agree).

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Is Your Business Really A Small Business?

The SBA defines which companies are officially designated as small businesses.

Your industry determines whether your business’s designation depends on its number of employees or its annual revenue.

You can find your industry code in the U.S. Census Bureau’s NAICS publication.

This article is for business owners who are trying to determine whether their organization is technically considered a small business.

You can call your company a small business, but if you don’t meet the SBA’s definition you could lose out on some opportunities. The SBA’s standards for small businesses are based on three factors: your company type, your average annual revenues and your number of employees. Is your business truly small? Read on to find out.

How to tell if you own a small business

To qualify as a small business, a company must fall within the size standard, or the largest size a business may be to remain classified as small, within its industry. 

The U.S. Census Bureau provides a list of industry codes to help businesses determine their size designation, and the SBA maintains an extensive list of small business size standards with the maximum requirements to remain classified as a small business in each sector and subsector.

“The definition of ‘small business’ is dependent on which industry code a company is in,” said Molly Gimmel, CEO of Design to Delivery. “My company’s primary code is 541611. In that industry, a small business is defined as one with average revenues, based on the past three completed fiscal years, that are less than $16.5 million.”

Though size standards vary by industry, they are usually measured by the number of employees or average annual receipts. The current SBA business size standards include the following.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: Between $2 million and $30 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction: No more than 250 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. There are four sectors with annual revenue rather than employee limits, ranging from $18 million to $41.5 million.

Utilities: No more than 250 to 1,000 employees, depending on your sector. There are three sectors with annual revenue limits instead, ranging from $26.5 million to $36 million.

Construction: Between $16.5 and $39.5 million in average annual receipts.

Manufacturing: No more than 500 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector.

Wholesale trade: No more than 100 to 250 employees, depending on your subsector.

Retail trade: No more than $8 to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector. Other subsectors have defined employee maximums from 100 to 200.

Transportation and warehousing: No more than 500 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. Some subsectors have maximum average annual receipt limits ranging from $8 million to $41.5 million.

Information: No more than 250 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. The maximum average annual receipts ranges from $9.5 million to $41.5 million.

Finance and insurance: No more than 1,500 employees for direct property and casualty insurance carriers, and a maximum of $13 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts. Certain financial institutions instead qualify as small businesses if they have no more than $750 million in assets.

Real estate, rental and leasing: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts.

Professional, scientific and technical services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, or no more than 150 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector.

Management of companies and enterprises: No more than $34 million in average annual receipts for offices of bank holding companies. Offices of other holding companies must earn no more than $40 million in average annual receipts.

Administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services: No more than $7.5 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Educational services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Healthcare and social assistance: No more than $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Arts, entertainment and recreation: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Accommodation and food services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Other services: No more than $7 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts depending on your subsector.

Benefits of being classified as a small business

Business size classification isn’t frivolous. Being classified as a small business comes with certain benefits, so it’s important to know if your business qualifies. Here are some of the benefits small businesses can enjoy.

Loans: Rather than lending money directly to businesses, the SBA works with lenders and essentially acts as a co-signer for small businesses seeking loans. This provides lenders a stronger guarantee that they’ll be paid back, which gives small businesses access to better rates than they might receive on their own.


If you need to obtain funding for your small business, visit our page on the best business loans.

Opinion: There Are Signs Apple Is Starting To Target Mid

If there’s one certainty in life where Apple is concerned, it’s that it targets the premium end of the market. Apple would tell you that it aims to make the best products, and that these cost money to make. A more cynical observer might say that Apple aims to make the highest margins and makes the products (and adds the marketing) it takes to achieve this.

But either way, the company has always targeted those customers willing to pay the big bucks for premium products. That approach has meant that while Samsung sells almost twice as many smartphones as Apple, it’s the Cupertino company that hoovers up almost 80% of the total profits in the industry.

But there are signs that Apple may be broadening its horizons …

In a way, Apple has long aimed to have a range of products to appeal to consumers at different price points. In Macs, for example, we had the Mac Pro versus the iMac for the desktop market, and within the iMac range we have the 27-inch 5K flagship and the 21.5-inch 4K option at the more affordable end. For laptops, there’s the now very expensive MacBook Pro range at the top end while the MacBook Air still hangs in there at $999.

But the company has more recently been more actively targeting mid-market smartphone buyers by specifically designing products for them. There was the failed iPhone 5c initially, and the iPhone SE today. The latter also emulated the iPad mini in targeting both budget-conscious consumers as well as those of us who prefer a more pocketable device.

The iPhone SE has been a big success for Apple. It became the third best-selling smartphone in the U.S. and achieved even higher satisfaction ratings than later and more expensive models. It’s almost certain we’ll see a new model next year.

And just this year Apple launched a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad costing just $329, less than half the cost of the cheapest iPad Pro model, and roughly a quarter of the cost of the most expensive one. The company’s recent earnings reports strongly indicate that this has been a massive hit.

Finally, we come to services revenue. Tim Cook noted in the company’s Q2 earnings call that Apple’s services business was ‘well on the way‘ to the size of a Fortune 100 company in its own right – and confirmed that it hit this milestone in Q3.

Services revenue climbed 22% year-on-year to total $27.8B in the last 12 months. That’s not just a Fortune 100 sized business, but – as the WSJ noted – more than Facebook’s total revenue for 2023. As the above Business Insider chart shows, services are now worth more to Apple than either Mac or iPad.

The WSJ again:

“The business is really impressive when you think about it in terms of scale compared to other publicly traded companies out there,” said Jeff Dillon, chief executive of Jackson, Mich.-based Dillon & Associates, which counts Apple among its largest holdings. “There’s a long runway to go there.”

That ‘long runway’ is another way to say that the more hardware devices you sell, the more money you stand to make from services. Apple’s 30% share of app sales is a big chunk of it, of course, but there’s also its take from other iTunes sales, Apple Pay, iCloud storage, Apple Music and its doubtless profitable AppleCare business.

In fact, if you look at the trends in Apple’s income, growth in iPhone, iPad and Mac sales is all below that seen in 2023. But services revenue is soaring.

That’s not to say that Apple is going to head too far downmarket. The App Store makes twice as much money as Google Play despite a much smaller market, and that’s precisely because Apple targets better-off consumers who are willing to spend more on apps and other services. But targeting the mid-market should significantly increase its market for services income.

And the killer feature of services revenue is that it’s recurring – and even does so reliably in the case of subscription services like iCloud storage, Apple Music and Apple’s cut of in-app subscriptions. That’s particularly important at a time when people are holding onto hardware longer.

And there’s one especially attractive element of the mid-market: students, and those early in their careers. There’s a decent chunk of these people who would like to buy Apple kit but can’t quite manage or justify it at present. If you can bring them into the ecosystem now, they will become premium product customers in the future.

So it makes perfect sense for Apple to broaden its target customer base. It will never go after the budget market – the hardware margins are too slim, and the prospect of significant services sales too poor. But going after the mid-market is a gain in the short-term, and likely a far bigger win in the long-term.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

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Microsoft Mobile: ‘Danger Is My Business’

Microsoft has spent more than eight years and millions of dollars developing both its Windows Mobile smartphone technology and an enterprise marketplace for it.

Despite that hefty investment, the company says it is now poised to push into consumer markets — but not using Windows Mobile.

Instead, it plans to turn to Danger, Inc., a vendor of consumer smartphone software. Microsoft said Monday it would acquire the privately held firm for an undisclosed sum.

Since its founding in 2000, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger has established a platform, a reputation and an audience for its popular consumer handset technologies — embodied in the Sidekick, a phone sold by wireless carrier T-Mobile, built by Motorola and powered by Danger’s systems and applications software.

Now, Microsoft has decided that Danger is a must-have purchase if it wants to speed up its quest to become a heavy-hitter in the high-volume, less-expensive realm of consumer smartphones and their accompanying services.

“We’re broadening our customer base, trying to nail the business requirements [for enterprise customers] and we also know we need to address the consumer space,” Scott Rockfeld, group product manager with Microsoft’s mobile communications group, told chúng tôi

Long road ahead for Microsoft

The announcement comes on the heels of a report last week by analysis firm Canalys that put Windows Mobile-powered phones in a distant second place globally for 2007.

The report found Windows Mobile held 13 percent of the market, far behind Symbian OS devices, at 67 percent.

On top of that, in the higher-end smartphone and “converged devices” category, Microsoft actually came in behind Apple’s iPhone during the fourth calendar quarter of 2007, the report states.

Canalys’ figures nearly match numbers from analysis firm Gartner, which found Symbian held a 62 percent share during third quarter, while Windows Mobile had only 12.7 percent.

In what might help Microsoft gain a greater foothold in the market, Danger is primarily a software and services company. As a result, it could fit tightly into both Microsoft’s emerging software-plus-services initiative, while boosting its consumer-focused mobile device strategy.

It’s unclear how the deal with T-Mobile and the Sidekick itself will figure into Microsoft’s plans. Part of that may also be contingent on whether Motorola spins off its mobile phone business — a move it’s considering.

For now, however, Microsoft plans to continue the T-Mobile deal.

“We have no plans to change those relationships, but what we do want to do in the future is take those consumer assets and combine them with the enterprise apps and provide a unified device — one phone for your entire life,” Rockfeld said.

Microsoft has made significant headway in recent years with Windows Mobile, carving out a niche in the smartphone marketplace, even out maneuvering established rivals in what has primarily become a market for high-end phones with enterprise applications such as corporate e-mail.

In that regard, the company has done well recently. For example, Gartner puts Research in Motion’s Blackberry — a popular device with business users — at 10 percent share for the third quarter of 2007. (Canalys lists a similar figure for the entire year.)

However, due to the relative expense of the devices and the services, as well as Microsoft’s focus on enterprise customers, the company has been largely stymied in marketing Windows Mobile devices to consumers so far.

That may change with the purchase of Danger.

“If you’re Microsoft and you have a big pot of money, you can start investing in some alternative systems,” Roger Kay, president of consultancy Endpoint Technologies, told chúng tôi “Buying their way into consumer electronics is an interesting play for them.”

That’s in contrast to other Microsoft consumer electronics ventures, such as the Xbox game consoles and Zune music players. In both cases, the company developed and built the devices itself, while also writing the software.

Meanwhile, the Danger acquisition signifies a willingness for Microsoft to buy its way into the consumer mobile handset software market, jumpstarting its efforts with an already-established player.

“One of the big things is Danger brings an immense knowledge of young consumers [to the table],” Rockfeld said.

Among the capabilities that Danger’s software and services provide are instant messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, social networking and personal information management — all in a consumer-friendly device, he said.

“We realize that we need to capture consumers’ hearts and minds,” he added.

Additionally, Microsoft recently moved to beef up its executive ranks to strengthen its push into the consumer phone market. Among other changes, Microsoft in late January hired Todd Peters, a former Staples exec to serve as vice president of marketing for Microsoft’s mobile communications business.

While at Staples, Peters championed the office supply firm’s “easy button” marketing campaign.

Danger will be integrated into Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, headed by division president Robbie Bach, who Peters reports to, according to a Microsoft statement.

Alongside those changes, Microsoft also is setting aggressive sales targets for itself, even within the coming months. Rockfeld said the company expects to have sold 20 million new Windows Mobile-based phones during its current fiscal year, which ends June 30 — an increase from 11 million a year earlier.

The Google factor

Perhaps more than a little ironically, one of the original co-founders of Danger, Andrew Rubin, sold his latest startup, Android, to Google in 2005.

These days, Google and Rubin are behind the Open Handset Alliance. The group has adopted Android technology as its integrated, open source mobile operating system stack — a threat to Windows Mobile, and possibly to Danger, in the future.

Google has yet to signal that it plans to mount a challenge to the Danger acquisition on antitrust grounds — as it has Microsoft’s separate purchase offer for Yahoo. Even if it doesn’t contest the Danger bid, Google’s growing clout in mobile and the burgeoning interest in Android may spell trouble ahead for any competing offering.

Additionally, another fact about the Danger acquisition might make Microsoft swallow hard as it gobbles up the company: the smaller firm’s software is built on Java — anathema to Microsoft.

Despite assertions that longer-term, Microsoft is looking to create a unified offering, how Microsoft will deal with Danger’s reliance on Java remains unresolved question.

“Those decisions have not been made yet,” Rockfeld said.

Details of the Danger sale were not disclosed, nor was a timeframe for when the deal will be finalized.

Rockfeld said the proposed acquisition is currently under regulatory review.

This article was first published on chúng tôi

Opinion & Poll: Will In

iBeacon seems to be making a pretty rapid transition into the mainstream, with stores like Apple, Macy’s, American Eagle, inMarket and bars all adopting it – as well as non-retail applications like Major League Baseball parks.

If you’re still not familiar with it, our iBeacon briefing provides the low-down, but the tl;dr summary is that when you walk into a retail store equipped with iBeacons, you’ll be invited to allow alerts to be sent to your iPhone. Say yes, and the store will be able to send you messages and invite you to view content based on anything it knows about you and where you are in the store.

The question is: will iBeacon alerts be a welcome way to add value to our visit, or just a new form of spam … ? 

My own view is it will very much depend on how intelligently retailers implement the system, and that personalization is key. Let’s start with examples of iBeacon alerts I’d welcome.

Store-wide offers (eg. spend $50 today and get 10% off)

This is about the only type of generic message I would welcome. It’s equally relevant whether we’re in the market for a new gadget or a new pair of shoes. Almost everything else, though, I think needs to be targeted based on either what the store knows about my purchase history, or from my in-store behaviour.

Specific product offers relevant to me

If stores use apps linked to loyalty memberships (or Apple ID in the case of Apple Stores), they ought to be able to base offers on purchase history. For example, if Apple knows I recently purchased an iPad Air but no case, it could send me offers on those.

Brand new products relevant to me

If a store knows I bought a bicycle GPS device there three years ago, and now there’s a much better model just out with a bunch of new features, it would be reasonable to let me know about it. Ideally, it would then use its awareness of my location in the store to guide me directly to the product. (Note to gadget retailers: I very specifically do not want to know when there’s a better model out than the one I bought just three weeks ago …)

Information & videos on products I’m looking at

If I’ve been standing in front of a product display for 30 seconds or more, it’s reasonable to assume I’m interested in it – and I’d welcome being sent a link to more product information or to a demonstration video.

What I don’t want to see

But what I don’t want to receive are offers on random products, ‘just in’ news on products that are of no interest to me, and links to product information just because I walked past a display.

I don’t want to know that it’s the store’s fifth anniversary, that there’s a live demonstration of a new Lego toy about to start, that there are hair-care representatives available for free consultations or that I can get a store card right now on the fifth floor.

Send me alerts relevant to me, and I’ll be a happy customer and you’ll probably sell me more stuff. Send me junk, and I’m going to decline future invitations and you’ll probably make me feel less inclined to shop in your store into the bargain.



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How ‘Both Ways’ Leadership Is Everyone’s Business

A new educational platform aimed at teaching First Nations children about their culture could help organisations looking to understand more about the rich Indigenous history of the country they operate in.

When Bangerang custodian Kobe Atkinson was still a teenager, he realised that there wasn’t a written record of his peoples’ language. His response – at age 19 – along with his cousin Roland – was to create a dictionary, to avoid his people’s language being lost.

Atkinson, along with not-for-profit foundation – SharingStories – knows the value of educating First Nations children about their history and culture. Without sharing and recording that knowledge, thousands of years of history and language is at risk of being lost for future generations, he says. But the opportunities, he says, go beyond First Nations communities – to non-Indigenous Australians and business.

Atkinson – now a policy and business analyst – has worked with SharingStories for several years, in a bid to help the organisation build an ongoing, sustainable education platform for teachers and school aged children. SharingStories has recently launched Jajoo Warrngara: the Cultural Classroom in partnership with more than 10 Indigenous communities across six states and territories to provide units of work, resources, cultural films and multi-touch books for teachers and students.

Co-CEO Sharon Williams, a Pitta Pitta woman, says first and foremost, SharingStories has a mission to educate First Nations students – “without education, First Nations people will not be able to have self-determination and have better employment opportunities”.

“You come out of school not knowing how to pay your taxes, how to vote, or the history of the country you live on,” Miller says. “We are trying to change that.”

Williams – whose mother was Stolen Generation – says her mother knew the value of education, despite being only educated to Year Three herself, and encouraged her daughter to get a university education.  

She says the reach of Jajoo Warrngara has the potential to go beyond educating Indigenous children about their culture. The platform has the ability to teach non-Indigenous people and businesses about First Nations history – something that non-Indigenous Australia has been in need of for many years. A recent survey by SharingStories found that just 2% of teachers identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, however 79% of all teachers want more of an emphasis on First Nations’ history and culture in future learning. 

“It is important that people understand who we are, of our true history and also have an understanding of why things are the way they are. It is really important for us to have an understanding of this Country that we all live on,” Williams says.

“Some teachers believe they have adequate resources to teach an Indigenous perspective … however, they might get it wrong. They might do something very generic, or they might not understand that they shouldn’t be re-telling that dreaming story because it isn’t their dreaming story to tell. Everything we do is co-created with First Nations community partners, because we really want teachers to be comfortable teaching First Nations perspectives.”

Jajoo Warrngara is accessed via a 50-50 subscription model – where revenue is directly paid back to the communities that have helped to create the platform. The remaining 50% is used by SharingStories to reinvest in the platform, co-CEO Taz Miller says.  

“You come out of school not knowing how to pay your taxes, how to vote, or the history of the Country you live on,” Miller says. “We are trying to change that.”

SharingStories has partnered with Deloitte for four years as part of its strategy to build its social enterprise models and it is something that it wants to continue with Australian organisations. The Deloitte partnership has been crucial to the development of SharingStories, Miller says.

“From 10 years ago when we had these ideas, to developing Jajoo Warrngara we would never have gotten to this point without the help of Deloitte. We work side-by-side with them – in shared value – and it’s been special.”

Williams and Miller – who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous respectively – were recently appointed as co-CEOs of SharingStories (and pictured at the top of this article). They describe the move as part of the not-for-profit unique “both ways” leadership.

“It is important that people understand who we are, of our true history and also have an understanding of why things are the way they are,” Williams says.

The organisation itself was started in the same way around 15 years ago through a conversation between SharingStories co-founder and creative director, Liz Thompson and Nyikina Elder, Annie Nayina Milgin. Annie came to Liz with the idea of using digital technology to educate her community’s children about their culture and history. 

Both ways leadership – it’s about Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together and using all our skills to achieve an outcome. Because cultural continuity is not just an Indigenous problem to solve – it’s everyone’s, according to Yuin man and SharingStories Chair Tim Goodwin.

“Both ways leadership can impact a business. It has been great for us – it’s how we started. In western hierarchy, the responsibility of a business ultimately sits on one person’s shoulders. But the way it is in community – governance is shared across people. When it’s your right and your turn, you become the person to speak, and when you’re on someone else’s Country, they become the leaders,” says Miller.

Both ways leadership – it’s about Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together and using all our skills to achieve an outcome. Because cultural continuity is not just an Indigenous problem to solve – it’s everyone’s, according to Yuin man and SharingStories Chair Tim Goodwin.

Where does business fit?

SharingStories co-CEO, Sharon Williams, currently conducts culturally safe scans for an education environment. It is spread over four main areas: how does the environment work from a culturally safe perspective, what does it look like (can a child see themselves represented in the classroom), the content of the curriculum and community engagement.

The cultural scan is something that SharingStories hopes to develop for companies, along with an online training platform, designed with communities and providing culturally appropriate education resources.  It is currently working with online learning provider, Go1, to develop the program.

“Businesses think: how can we achieve our RAP? But in real terms, they could be thinking: ‘how can we be authentic in our engagement with community? Businesses don’t have the skills to do that, but we do,” Miller says. “We know how to work with community in a respectful way that’s going to have real, lasting impact.”

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