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Summary:

The latest numbers from Net Applications’ Operating System stats are available, and they provide a nice epilogue to last month’s numbers. In October the Mac’s share was down, and Vista’s was up, prompting some to write about the apparent anomaly. I countered that notion with my own writeup that […]

The latest numbers from Net Applications’ Operating System stats are available, and they provide a nice epilogue to last month’s numbers. In October the Mac’s share was down, and Vista’s was up, prompting some to write about the apparent anomaly.

I countered that notion with my own writeup that showed both Windows and Mac have ups and downs in their numbers, so any single month isn’t particularly relevant. This is also true because Net Applications’ numbers themselves are really just a measure of OS usage hitting their network of web sites worldwide (~40,000 sites). It may be as accurate an OS measure as any, but one would still have to say it’s not conclusive. If anything, since some of those sites could be IE-only, it might even be skewed against any non-Microsoft OS. 

But the data is sure fun to play with.

Looking at November’s numbers for just Windows and Mac we see the Mac back up, wiping out the tiny “loss” of last month while adding over half a point. Meanwhile, while Vista is up again (~1.2 points), XP is down (~1.8 points). This is just additional confirmation of the point in my previous article: Vista’s gains are coming primarily at XP’s expense. Hardly unexpected. 

For even more fun, let’s take a look at Windows (all flavors) and Mac (Intel and PowerPC) over the last two years (in the graph below note that the Windows scale is in the left, and Mac scale is on the right): 

From 12/06 to 11/08 Windows loses 4.2 percent while Mac gains 3.2. Where did the other 1 percent of Windows losses go? Well, Linux picked up nearly half a point, and I assume the other half-point went to the ever-popular — and every statisticians’ best friend — category known as “Other.”

In short, the trends are these: 

  • Vista is gaining share. 
  • XP is losing share as fast (or faster) than Vista is gaining it. 
  • Windows “net” is that it’s losing share. 
  • Mac is gaining share. 

Obviously, these things go slowly. After all, the above graph took two years. It’s not like Microsoft should panic now that that they’ve dipped below 90 percent; nor should Apple crow that they’re up to nearly 9. That’s a 10 to 1 disparity; it’s pretty obvious which one is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. 

Still, the overall trends are not in Microsoft’s favor, and Apple’s move from 5.7 to 8.9 represents a 56 percent increase in two years. That’s impressive no matter how you look at it.

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By Tom Reestman

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  1. I predict Apple will for the 1st time be the #1 computer seller this holiday season in the US, with 30% of new computers for the home going to Apple. If that does come true (and it will, mark my word,) it won’t be just MSFT running scared, but DELL and HP as well….

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  2. I predict that you will be wrong.

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  3. Well, just so as you know, I did not pull that out of my a**. I was looking at the Change Wave poll from this last September:
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/95281-ce-spending-looks-dismal-but-macs-set-to-hit-new-all-time-high
    Where 34% of those planning to buy laptops in the next 90 days said they would buy Macs, and 30% of those planning to buy desktops. While this is just one metric, I have seen the rush to Macs in every circle I turn. If Apple even comes close, it would do it at the expense of DELL and HP – and that would make Apple’s portion of the market pretty damn close to theirs. Scoff all you want, but this may very well happen. I will check back in on this blog when sales figures come out for the CONSUMER holiday season (again, I am not referring to business purchases, JUST consumer)

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  4. Someone’s drinking the koolaid.

    All I know is I don’t need Apple to have a 30% marketshare to enjoy owning and using my Macs. I don’t write software. I don’t own stock. It’s not like there’s any kinda secret club I aspire to join. And, lastly I don’t work for Apple.

    No matter the marketshare as long as Apple can hold on to it’s current customers that seems to be a large enough market to satisfy me with the software I need.

    In all honesty I find marketshare numbers extremely misleading as it can be catered to look good or bad for any segment. Actual usage of systems which is tough to measure is the only real method that matters. And, don’t even bring up the incredibly misleading web browser usage marketshare. It’s pathetic that anyone uses it with any credibility.

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  5. I own a Mac. They are well built machines. However, I have Windows Vista 64-bit on it too. Mac is good for Mac stuff (art/school crowd mostly). Windows is good for everything else (work, games, etc). This isn’t changing any time soon. For every Mac software title out there, there are 20+ Windows titles. In games, it is more like 100 or more to 1.

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  6. E is wrong. Macs will not get 30%. The reasons? Recession and price. If the economy continues as it is computers like the Asus Eee PC will benefit.

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  7. Look, I am NOT trying to be a Mac zealot. I am not disparaging PCs. All I am doing is quoting survey figures about trends in retail sales for this holiday season. Apple capturing 30% of that market would not even have them crack 15% of sales in the US (that sure is NOT happening this holiday season). The survey was of people planning to buy computers in the 3 month quarter, in retail.

    Apple does not need this. If anything, being #1 sucks because then everyone wants to take you down, and everyone does like to take Apple down. It also brings more scrutiny on Apple’s often monopolistic tendencies.

    As for what Tobin says, 20-1? No way. Maybe 3-1. There are approximately 20,000 applications available for Mac OS X. There are certainly not over 100,000 applications for the PC. That would put it at 5-1. As I said, it is more like 3-1. And from being a developer, on both platforms, for years, and buying software for both, for years, I can tell you that much of the software for the PC is really bad…

    As I said, meet you all back here when the figures come out…

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  8. Is this statistically for just the US? Because the world figures are much different from what I have been reading. Apple is more of a US statistic then anywhere else.
    Not to say Apple has not gained significantly in the US market as we see. But to think Microsoft is shaking in its Windows is silly. I would say Apple will be lucky to see 10% market share. They will of course be very happy with that. As for taking over number 1 in computer sales. That is ridiculous, Dell and HP have (last I checked)had over 60% of US sales.
    In a economy where all computer sales will be down I think it’s dreaming to think Apple will gain a lot. Especially when they offer only higher priced computers. As I have seen from Best Buy sales. The best selling were cheaper bottom end laptops.

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  9. Gonna have to agree with Druid Dude on this one – the economy isn’t in a place right for people to go out and pay the Apple Tax for a $1200+ desktop computer when similar spec machines are available for half the price with Windows or Linux. The same goes for laptops, though obviously the EEE PC isn’t the same specs as a Macbook, the majority of internet/email-using coffee shop goers don’t need the power and can’t afford the price.

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  10. Again, I am referring to RETAIL, not to the general market in which Dell and HP certainly dominate. I am talking about people buying them as gifts and for the home. And yeah, those 60% of US sales do not translate to 60 % of HOME sales, and even if they did, if apple had 25%, Dell and HP 50% together, and the rest make up the remaining 25%, does that not put Apple tied for 1st place?
    I am speculating, but we will see…

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