Apple called BS last week to the U.S. Mac sales numbers IDC and Gartner sent to clients two weeks earlier, AppleInsider‘s Daniel Eran Dilger reported Saturday. The two market research firms had sales falling. Apple had them growing by “strong double digits[s],” according to the earnings call transcript [see note below].
It’s not the first time Gartner and IDC have been caught with their methodological pants down. In November 2010 Asymco’s Horace Dediu was aghast to discover a 77 million unit discrepancy in their mobile phone data — data he depends on to draw his famous charts and graphs.
“Our methodologies, which are continually updated and improved, are among our most valuable assets,” according to Gartner, which goes on to describe them in the vaguest possible terms:
It’s even squishier than that, according to a former IDC researcher who spent eight years with the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
After I posted a story about the 77 million missing phones, he described in some detail how IDC goes about estimating sales.
According to my source, who for legal reasons asked that his name not be used, here’s how it worked:
[Note: The language Apple CFO Luca Maestri used in his prepared remarks — “We achieved strong double digit Mac growth across many countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, China, India and the Middle-East” — is open to interpretation. Does the growth rate apply to the set of countries listed, or to every element in the set?
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed Monday that the growth was double digit (i.e. 10% or more) in each of those markets.]