In 2006 I Said This

The bell curve is a graph that shows distribution with a result that looks a lot like — you guessed it — a bell.

I think it was in WW2 when the US government asked for helmets for its new soldiers. A study was done of hat sizes; thousands of heads were measured and the result was the famous bell curve. It showed that the vast majority of Americans had heads of a fairly standard size (the meaty part of a bell in profile), while about five percent (the lip of the rim on the left) had unusually small heads, and about five percent (the lip of the rim on the right) had unusually big heads.

It turns out that this pattern of distribution turns up everywhere — about five percent of movies are remarkably bad and five percent are remarkably good; about five percent of employees are inept and five percent are exceptional…

So, getting back to Apple.

Their hold of the personal computer market world-wide is around five percent, and their pricing, build and packaging are at the high end. If the distribution of the makeup of computer buyers results in a bell curve as well, then Apple probably owns that top five percent.

In other words, they aren’t struggling against Dell and HP — they actually totally dominate their target audience.

Looks like it worked out pretty well for them.

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