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Mac Market Share Hits All-Time High Following Windows 7 Launch

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leopard-vistaMicrosoft’s (s msft) advertising strategy with the latest installment of Windows is basically to none-too-subtly deride its predecessors, and it does appear to be helping Windows 7 gain traction among consumers. Unfortunately, it also might be contributing to the success of Mac OS X, or at least, it isn’t doing anything to slow down the steady progress of the competition from Apple (s aapl).

That’s according to preliminary data released Sunday from a report by Net Applications which breaks down the Internet presence of Mac, Windows and Linux machines for the month of October. Microsoft’s hope that Windows 7 would slow the sure and steady pace of Apple’s growth appears to have been unfounded, at least at this early stage.

Windows still controls the lion’s share of the computer market, of course, with a huge 92.54 percent total share. But that’s down 0.25 percent from September. And yes,  Windows 7 did gain ground during the month, despite being officially available for purchase for only nine days at the end of October, but Net Applications explains that it held more than 2 percent going into the survey, owing to the use of pre-release versions like the beta and the release candidate.

Net Applications also points out, in a separate report, that much of Windows 7’s gain during October (it ended the month at 2.85 percent) came from XP’s market share, so it doesn’t represent the sort of “switch back” users Microsoft was looking for, only upgraders who skipped Vista in favor of the older, more stable OS.

Mac’s share jumped to 5.26 percent, up from 5.12 percent during the previous period. That’s a gain of 2.73 percent overall, which is a good number, but not nearly as high as the 5 percent gain Apple experienced in September. The slowdown might be due to a surge thanks to early adoption of Snow Leopard which is now coming to an end.

Note that Net Applications isn’t taking this data from sales numbers, but from visits to its client web sites, which add up to an impressive 160 million total. That’s a fairly large sample base. Apple 2.0 does point out that this particular methodology tends to favor devices like the iPhone, which account for more frequent web visits due to their ease of use.

The key to the future success of both companies will be converting the large Windows XP user base, which still accounts for 70 percent of all users. Both Apple and Microsoft will be looking to convert those users as they inevitably decide to upgrade. Holiday season numbers over the next few months should give a good indication of who will win out in the competition for those consumer dollars.

10 Responses to “Mac Market Share Hits All-Time High Following Windows 7 Launch”

  1. desinerd


    I agree, the stats could be flawed… and Mac’s actual share could be lower than reported. The reason for that is that Macs are used more at home (for browsing, watching youtube, reading Apple blog etc). On the other hand, offices primarily use PCs and often lock them down so that the employees do not surf web during office hours. Going by that logic, the market share for Mac OS could be artificially inflated. For all we know, it could actually be 3%.

    Like you said, I for one never trust these statistics because there are far too many variables to take into account that most publications fail to explain to the reader.

  2. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    I don’t think Microsoft was necessarily looking for a “switch back” in October right when Windows 7 was released. I think they’re hoping for a more longer term switch; however, that’s no likely unless the people who switched to Mac realize they don’t like the Mac OS or restrictive hardware. I do know a few people who won’t be buying a Mac again, but they won’t be swapping for a PC for at least 2 more years – in other words, the average lifespan of a computer.

    That means that even if people who swapped to Mac have realized they like PCs more during their period of ownership, they won’t immediately go out and just purchase a new PC for Windows 7. In fact, Windows 7 was more of a bait and tackle for XP users to get them onto the current OS.

    Apple has a few good things running for it at the moment. Schools in the US are saturated with Apple computers thanks to the early adoption of the Mac II which lead to the adoption of future generation.

    However, another thing that needs to be taken into account is who Net Applications caters to. They cater to sites like the Wallstreet Journal and New York Times. Those of us who don’t visit these sites won’t have their computers and operating systems counted. As such, the statistics apply mostly to business people. Even if there are people adopting Macs, that doesn’t mean that they don’t maintain a second PC with Windows for specific tasks.

    I for one never trust these statistics because there are far too many variables to take into account that most publications fail to explain to the reader.

  3. It should also be noted that net applications takes those web visits it has and then adjusts the totals, by multiplying the stats of each country based on population (even though it has no data on what the rest of the country went to, and are assuming they all own computers and surf the web equally). Which is why IE6 is generally somewhat inflated if you make websites in a developed country as IE6 is used higher in china, india and some other countries when you are looking for specific countries data you can only access it if you have a payed account.

    Another source with a large user base that allows free access to its data is stat counter, and lets you break it down to time range, country/region and interest. here is a link to the OS data for the 30 days previous to this comment in the USA