"On the crucial basis of attracting newbies, Apple's stores have yet to show any notable progress," states a Business Week report.

"For Apple's retail experiment to be judged a true success, it would need to see some positive momentum in actual Mac market share from reputable sources, such as IDC", according to Business Week.

The report invalidates Apple CEO Steve Jobs claims that 50 per cent of the people buying at its stores are Windows users, saying that "Apple's market share has made no significant advances".

"Apple's piece of the US computer pie slid from 3.5 per cent in 2002 to 3.2 per cent in 2003. The decline speaks volumes about Apple's campaign to woo switchers – if they were coming over in any significant numbers, then Apple would be growing faster than the broad PC market," it adds.

In the aftermath of Gateway's announcement that it will be closing all its shops, Business Week questions whether the retail stores will hurt Apple. It concludes: "At this point, probably not. And they've certainly helped it to more effectively market its products."

But, the report notes: "The stores have hurt resellers." The status of Apple's resellers is a consequence that should be considered according to Business Week: "As Apple opens more and more stores in high-demographic areas, resellers are up in arms. At least five have grown so incensed with what they perceive to be Apple's unfair and potentially illegal business practices that they have filed various suits seeking damages. And Apple's recent moves to add more services to its stores will likely result in even more of these largely mom-and-pop shops flocking to the exits."