Snow Leopard Leaps in Market Share

Eighteen percent of Mac users are running Snow Leopard just one month after its release, according to Web metrics firm Net Applications. That’s a remarkable upgrade rate for the latest iteration of OS X, especially considering Snow Leopard is Intel only.

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Overall, OS X now represents 5.12 percent of the worldwide OS market, up from 4.87 percent in August. While that might seem like a small increase, it’s up 37 percent from a year ago, and the platform is seeing a continuing a steady rise. In contrast, Windows has now fallen below 93 percent, though the release of Windows 7 will likely result in a temporary spike. Nonetheless, OS X is moving up, as is iPhone OS.

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Somewhat surprisingly, the increase from August to September was not as great as one might expect for iPhone OS. Despite the recent release of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, iPhone OS is now at 0.35 percent, up from 0.33 percent last month, with the iPod touch remaining at 0.07 percent. Still, 0.4 percent of OS market share represents more than 50 million users, and with the introduction of the iPhone in China, the growth rate will likely increase soon.

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As for Safari, version 4 continues to increase its share among Mac users, with three out of four now running the latest version. Considering Safari 4 was officially released in June, that’s an impressive feat. However, Safari still lags far behind Internet Explorer, even losing ground to competitors challenging the dominance of Microsoft’s web browser.

Safari, including the Windows version, now holds 4.24 percent of the overall market, up from 4.07 percent last month, but that increase is small compared with Firefox, which jumped about 1 percent. Even Chrome grew faster than Safari, which showed about the same increase as Opera — ugh. What this means is that there are probably more than a few Firefox users on the Mac, and that Safari for Windows has been an utter failure in taking market share from Internet Explorer.

Nonetheless, September once again demonstrates OS X is running strong on Macs and handhelds, and that’s what really matters.

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