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In Business This Week
APPLE'S SHARE OF THE PIE PICKS UP
FINALLY, APPLE COMPUTER CEO Michael Spindler has a little breathing room. Faced with what he had called "the most challenging quarter in our history," Apple ended a year-long slide, boosting its share of personal computer sales to 9% in the third quarter from 7.4%, says market watcher Dataquest. The secret: the most aggressive pricing in Apple's history, plus some creative procurement techniques. Confronting widespread parts shortages, Apple agreed to longer-term contracts with suppliers and resorted to barter, trading memory chips for CD-ROM drives in one case.
Without the supply problems, says Dataquest's Kimball Brown, Apple could have picked up another half-point of share. "There's more demand for Macs than they can handle," he says. The downside: Gross margins fell to 20.7% from 27.2% a year ago.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS