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iPod to boost Apple's desktop share

Thanks to iPod success, Mac maker could soon control 5 percent of the desktop computer market, Morgan Stanley predicts.

Apple Computer can look forward to gaining market share on the desktop as iPod users ditch their PCs in favor of Macs, according to a new survey.

Analyst firm Morgan Stanley forecast Friday that the Mac, which currently makes up 3 percent of all desktops, could win its way to 5 percent of desktop sales this year. This was based on a survey of 400 iPod users, 19 percent of whom expect to convert from PC to Macintosh. This conversion factor is double that previously expected by analysts.

Statistics released by other analysts suggest the iPod may already be having a healthy effect on Apple's desktop business. According to figures from IDC this month, Apple's desktop market share in the United States was 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, up from 2.2 percent the previous quarter and 2.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2003.

The trend is expected to be a long-lasting one as the iPod has become so well-established. The well-received Mac Mini has not yet had the chance to impact sales figures, as it was only launched in January, but it's also expected to help a Mac resurgence.

The hardest-hit PC vendors will be those that rely most on their brand, such as Hewlett-Packard, said Morgan Stanley. HP sells a branded version of the iPod, but analysts think it's unlikely that many consumers would credit HP for the player's design and usability.

Peter Judge of ZDNet UK reported from London.