November OS Share Numbers: Should Microsoft Be Scared?

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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