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Apple's global market share is 2.8%, but its share of the US retail laptop market is 17%?

In response to last week's article, Eric Raymond pointed out a computerworld article that claims Apple's market share is actually 17.6%. This would mean that Apple merely has to triple its market share in the next year to hit 50%, not multiply it by a factor of eight.

Unfortunately for Apple, a closer look at the article points out some problems:

NPD, which collects its data primarily from retail sources and excludes most online and all direct sales, said Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops accounted for 17.6% of June's unit sales, an uptick of more than three percentage points from May's 14.3%.

Excluding online and direct sales cuts out Dell, and most of the whitebox market. Pretending your largest competitors don't exist isn't the most accurate way to measure market share, and Dell sells a lot of laptops. Later in the same article, IDC figures put Apple in third place (tied with gateway) at 5.6%, which HP at 28.4% and Dell at 23.6%.

Apple seems quite aware of its finite production capacity, and has explicitly chosen _not_ to perform a "land grab". The cheapest iMac is $1200, the cheapest macbook is $1100, and even the cheapest low-end Mac Mini is currently selling for $600. Back when the Mac Mini was introduced, the entry level model was $100 cheaper than it is now. Apple has _retreated_ from the low end, high volume market segment it would be aggressively pursuing if it considered market share a primary goal.