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"But half a billion doesn't seem like so much when it's compared with the $1.4 billion Microsoftspent in fiscal 2009, or the $811 million Dell spent on ads I can't remember ever seeing," Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes in a Fortune report.
In fact, he notes that, as a percentage of revenue, Apple has actually been decreasing its ad spending every year for the past eight, from nearly 5% in 2001 to 1.37% today. That's about half the 3.6% Research in Motion's spends advertising BlackBerries.