Mac sales slow, Windows PC sales grow, says NPD

Apple's US retail sales down 1 percent in November from '07; Windows PCs up 7 percent

Even so, December could be a problem for Apple, Baker hinted. "They just don't run the same levels of promotion that Windows PC makers do," he said, referring to holiday discounting. Although Apple did lower prices about 8 percent for some notebooks and 4 percent for some desktops on Black Friday, it quickly returned to its full list prices in its own stores.

"If December looks similar, if they don't crush the rest of the market [in growth], then that might convince me to say that they need to lower prices," Baker said.

On a related note, Baker said that retail sales of netbooks, the term used to describe small, lightweight laptops priced in the sub-$500 range, were "all hype" so far, and amounted to less than 5 percent of all laptop sales in November.

That figure could put a crimp on speculation that Apple will roll out its own netbook, perhaps as early as next month, to compete with rivals selling Linux- and Windows XP-powered netbooks.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

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