Analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco has put together a chart showing the sales ratio of PCs to Macs each year from the early 1980s. The chart includes only Mac computers, not iPads or iPhones. It shows the peak of Microsoft’s dominance in 2004 and the temporary fall of Apple, followed by Apple’s comeback over the last eight years.
In the beginning, the two companies were more or less equal in terms of the sales of individual operating systems on computers. Over the 80s and early 90s, the ratio of PCs sold compared to the number of Macs was around 15 times as many PCs until around 1997.
In 1997, Microsoft sold 30 times as many PCs as Macs were sold. This number steadily increased when, in 2004, Microsoft had almost 60 times as many PCs sold compared to Apple’s Mac computers. At this point, Apple began to grow in popularity while Microsoft PC sales began to decline quickly.
In 2005, there were 45 times as many PCs sold as Macs and this number continued to decrease through 2011 with only 17 times as many PCs sold as Macs, reflecting numbers not seen since 1985.
Assuming this trend continues, the sales ratio of PCs to Macs could begin reflecting the numbers seen 1984, and possibly declining even further.