November was not a great month for Apple, at least according to web metrics firm Net Applications. While one could argue the launch of Windows 7 in October may have negatively impacted market share for OS X, Safari also lost ground to Chrome, and even the iPhone OS saw a slight decline against competitors.
For OS X, the decline could actually be good news. In the first full month since the release of Windows 7, OS X declined to 5.12 percent of the overall market, down from 5.27 percent last month. That’s not so bad. However, if Windows 7 is to blame for that modest decline, it’s a little difficult to understand how Linux saw an increase of 0.04 percent, to an even one-hundredth of overall market share. More positively, Snow Leopard continues to account for an increasing share of the OS X user base.
From September through November, OS X 10.6 represented 18 percent, 22 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of the OS X user base. Those are impressive gains after launching on Aug. 28. In contrast, Windows 7 launched on Oct. 22, and nearly six weeks later is just reaching 5 percent of Windows market share. Faster uptake of OS X means new technologies see more widespread support sooner; slower for Windows 7 means more support headaches for Microsoft.
Similarly, Safari 4 has become the standard among Mac versions of the web browser, accounting for more than 80 percent of Safari users since launching in June. In terms of overall market share, Safari, including the Windows version, represents 4.36 percent, down slightly from 4.4 percent in October. Still, that percentage is moving slowly upward over time, though not nearly as fast as Google’s Chrome. Chrome is now at 3.93 percent, up from 3.57 percent for the previous month, and will almost assuredly pass Safari on the desktop within three months. Of course, some solace can be had in that Chrome and Safari both use WebKit. More WebKit users, and Gecko users with Firefox, ultimately mean a greater adherence to neutral standards for web browsers.
As for the iPhone, November was one of those rare months that saw the iPhone OS lose ground. In terms of overall market share among operating systems, iPhone OS may be insignificant, but the actual number of users probably exceeds 60 million. Nonetheless, market share for iPhone OS was 0.43 percent in November, down from 0.44 in October. Competing mobile operating systems like JavaME, Symbian, Andriod and RIM, all saw increases of 0.01 or 0.02 percent, minuscule changes, but still increasing.
It should be noted, though, that Net Applications data this month comes with a “preliminary” warning label. That could mean there are still slight variations to be found. For a month that showed a little decline for Apple, it might turn out to be more of a plateau.