People who reflect negatively on Apple's low market share are missing the point. Fewer Macs are sold because it is not a competitive marketplace thanks to the Microsoft monopoly, according to a US newspaper.

"Comparing a free-market product to a monopoly product that's forced on consumers is a difficult task. Many buyers have no idea that they have a choice of operating systems and platforms. They walk into a computer store at the mall and buy what's there, and that means in most cases a Windows PC," says a report in The Post Standard.

The newspaper picks up Apple's frequently used line on Apple's market share – that it is larger than BMW's in the automotive business – and notes: "Nobody makes wisecracks about BMWs low market share. Most people drive Toyotas or Hondas or Fords, but that means nothing to the people who own BMWs. Right?"

The reporter considers that claims that Apple currently only has a 1.7 per cent market share are incorrect. "My own rough calculations indicate that 8 per cent of the personal computers used today in homes – leaving out all the computers used in offices and businesses – are Apple Macintoshes.

"The 2003 figure of 1.7 per cent counts only the number of new computers sold month by month. It does not count the number of computers that are in use. You don't have to be a genius to realize the fallacy of this sort of statistic. Macs last longer than Windows PCs and don't need replacing as often. So Mac users aren't ever going to buy new computers at the same rate as Windows users.

"If you and I both sell our own widgets but yours last five times as long as mine, I'd have to sell five times as many as you do just to keep the same market share," he concludes.