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Macintosh sales hit the skids

Sales of Apple's Macintosh have dropped 20 percent below analyst predictions.

Sales of Apple Computer's Macintosh lineup, already sluggish, are now plummeting and could make a comeback by the embattled computer maker more difficult than previously thought.

Market research firm Computer Intelligence reports that Macintosh sales dropped 30 percent to 50 percent in April and May over a year ago, much worse than the 20 percent drop forecasted by analysts, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple will announce second-quarter financial results this month. The company's sales dropped 9.7 percent in the first quarter.

Part of the slowdown may be a result of product recalls and an overall slump in the PC market.

But even Macintosh loyalists are beginning to bail out. A February survey by Computer Intelligence of 3,000 corporate sites using Macintoshes showed that 38 percent of all new PC purchases were Macs. That figure dropped to 14 percent in April.

Apple executives have predicted year-to-year sales declines throughout the remainder of the year. The company reported a $740 million loss in March, and CEO Gilbert Amelio has been scurrying to assemble a new management team and sales plan to turn the company around.

Today, Apple announced that it has hired former IBM executive Ellen Hancock to serve as executive vice president of research and development and chief technical officer.