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Good grades translate into rising Mac share

Apple's personal computers are taking an ever-increasing share of the academic market, which should translate into rising market share in the larger computer market.

Buried in an insightful Ars Technica article on digital music is this casual throwaway line, "At Princeton, Macs accounted for an astonishing 40 percent of all student computers in 2008."

Forty percent?!? That's amazing. In the general operating-system market, according to Net Applications, Apple commands nearly 10 percent of the personal-computer market, which shows great progress over its formerly anemic market share but which still is a distant second place to Microsoft's 88 percent share.

But that's today. The funny thing about students is that they eventually graduate. With graduation comes jobs, which provide discretionary income to buy more Macs.

Yes, those jobs also often force these former students to "grow up" and use Windows, though this, too, is changing, as BusinessWeek points out.

Assuming that Princeton's Mac market share numbers are even moderately representative of academic adoption of the Mac (and some anecdotal evidence at the University of Missouri suggests the Mac dominates even more than 40 percent of some universities' computers), Apple has a rosy future ahead of it. The more students it graduates, the more Macs it should sell.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.