Apple floats through the channel


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

The company stands out in a Morgan Stanley survey of the PC distribution channel

It's not hard to spot the outlier in the chart above, taken from Morgan Stanley's quarterly survey, released Thursday, of the PC distribution channel -- the chain of intermediary companies whose job it is to carry finished product from the manufacturer to the customer.

As far as the distributors and retailers are concerned, there's Apple (aapl), which is growing, and the rest, which are not.

Of course, Apple makes a lot more more than just computers. But so do Dell (dell), Hewlett-Packard (hpq) and the rest. Just not as profitably.

And the while the distributors may be savvy observers of the PC business, they don't have a crystal ball. As the chart below shows, Apple's revenue has grown considerably faster quarter to quarter than the channel's expectations.

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