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Microsoft Vista Overtakes Apple OSX in Only Eight Months 2 October, 2007

Posted by paralleldivergence in apple, Brad & Phil, Internet, Life, mac vs windows, vista, windows.
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Microsoft Vista was released publicly and globally on January 30, 2007 and it’s taken only eight months for this troubled operating system to overtake Apple’s computer flagships, the iMac and OSX. In fact, as the graph below indicates, percentage-wise, Apple has either been stagnant or declining over the past five months while in the same timeframe, Vista has shown steady if not strong linear growth throughout each survey.

Vista vs OSX - click for larger view

Despite all the media reports continually bagging Windows Vista, there is clear evidence that the take up of Vista is not slowing. And despite the worldwide Mac vs PC television ad campaign, it appears that comedy and insults have not converted too many PC users.  While you might think that Vista is solely taking marketshare from its older siblings, (Windows 2000 and Windows XP) as users upgrade, both are experiencing only slow declines. Vista also seems to be taking market share from OSX. Of course, we must remember that personal desktop computing is a growing marketplace. Interestingly, over the same time period, all flavors of Linux have seen a ten-percent increase in their own market share, but when you only held 1.25% of the market in the first place, 10% doesn’t account for too much.

These are pretty damning claims that I’m sure most Apple users will vehemently dispute, but unless most Apple users do not connect to the Internet, then they are probably quite reflective of the real state of play out there in the connected world. These figures come from the respected W3Counter website. Every 10 days since May this year, W3Counter has been reporting data based on the last 35,933,003 unique visits to 5,899 different websites. So when they refer to Operating Systems percentages, they mean “what OS was on the computer that just visited that site?” – then they tally the lot. Assuming most computers that are used by people would connect to the Internet, we have a great representation of what’s actually out there in the wild. W3Counter also track some other interesting statistics, including browser-type and country of origin.

As for Windows XP, it remains by far the most widely-used OS with 83% of the market. Over the five months of this survey, XP has lost 1.26% of its formidable share. Amazingly, Windows 2000 is still used by more people than Apple OSX, but it looks like natural attrition is Win 2K’s biggest enemy.

So where to for Apple from here? It’s hard to believe that a company as instrumental as Apple in defining and innovating in the desktop computer arena over more than 25 years could be in the position it’s in today. It’s fair to say that Apple’s place as king of MP3 players and on-line music sales has turned the company around, but could the world cope if Apple were to throw in the towel on their computer division? Maybe Brad has the right idea. What do you think? UPDATE: My response to the comments is at #40 below.

Brad & Phil #24 



1. Art - 2 October, 2007

Interesting concept this – instead of looking at sales figures (which are probably impossible with all those Windows OEM vendors out there), you look at how many people are actually using computers and their platform breakdown. It would be good to know what type of sites those 5,899 sites are that W3Counter is tracking. I mean if there are many WIndows-specific sites included where Apple users wouldn’t go, it would lower the figures for Apple. But I guess the exact same could be said if there are Apple-specific sites in the list.

2. Henriok - 3 October, 2007

Didn’t Microsoft sell 40 million Vista licenses by May 15:th? I think 60% of all statistics are wrong

3. Chuck Cribbs - 3 October, 2007

Net Applications says Windows usage overall is going down (-.42%). And OS X overall is at 6.6%, up almost 7% from last year, while Win2000 is at 3.2%.

Apple now has 17% market share in laptops in the US. And Apple should throw in the towel on the Mac? They will sell more Macs than they ever have this quarter (over 2 million). I guess if you were running Apple you would kill the golden goose.

4. Zeke T. - 3 October, 2007

W3Counter’s number don’t jive with similar reports by their competitors, prompting me to look a little deeper. Examining the raw data they’re using disclosed the following inexcusable anomaly: they claim that residents of Latvia (population 2.2 million) visited their monitored sites more often than residents of Canada (population 33 million) or even France (population 66 million), making Latvia the fourth most represented country online.

These guys are either monitoring a very strange group of sites or don’t know how to add.

5. jk - 3 October, 2007

Pathetic analysis.
First, the numbers don’t back you up, and your graph is wrong. As I saw the market share data a couple of days ago, OSX was in two components, ppc and intel. Collectively they add up to over 6%. You must be showing a plot of only one.
Second, to make a claim like you are making you must show that individuals are going from OS X to vista. A cross-sectional analysis can’t be used. Sometimes a cross sectional analysis can support a claim, but in this case it doesn’t even do that.
Third, as Chuck Cribbs points out, the Mac OS market share is growing. As long as your are growing, good things are happening. But growth in inconsistent with your thesis.

6. MaX - 3 October, 2007

Actually, if you realize how many XP users there are (and MS has extended the selling period for this OS), then Vista is a very slow sell.
Eight months, and every PC comes with it standard.
There are 100’s of PC sellers, but only one Apple… So, I think it is fair to say, that Apple is showing quite impressive sales figures.

7. MaX - 3 October, 2007

Actually, if you realize how many XP users there are (and MS has extended the selling period for this OS), then Vista is a very slow sale.
Eight months, and every PC comes with it standard.
There are 100’s of PC sellers, but only one Apple… So, I think it is fair to say, that Apple is showing quite impressive sales figures.

8. Don - 3 October, 2007

Considering that the Windows hegemony and illegal monopoly is more than fifteen times the size of the Mac’s, I’m surprised that it took so long. However, considering that most purchasers who get Vista do so through a corporation’s purchase of a new computer, I’m wondering how many copies of Vista have been sold without a computer compared to the number of people who independently purchased OS X.

Oh, and if Vista is so good, why was Microsoft forced into extending continued sales of XP for al least an additional and unwanted six months?

Seems to me that Brad and Phil are functioning as Microsoft fanbois hoping they can get some MS money or free booty.

9. Jp - 3 October, 2007

I have to laugh at websites who allow outside people to post. I mean seriously.. If you spew B.S., you’re going to get called on it by truly smart people. …Which makes this article’s author just look like a major idiot.

Oh well… Keep writing…. 😉

10. DB - 3 October, 2007

Wow. This really is an idiotic article. Truth is, who knows if the author’s conclusions are correct or not. What’s clear is that he reaches conclusions without apt data from which to draw such conclusions. Either the author was charged with simply making a statement, and didn’t have the time to find corroborative evidence (and therefore fudged things), or he is really quite incompetent. I don’t know which to believe, but the stupidity of the article makes me hope and pray that it was an intentional scam. After all, there is no author attribution, suggesting that that the person who wrote it understood his or her reputation would be blackened by it.

11. jbelkin - 3 October, 2007

Apple & MS are similiar companies but unlike 20 years in completely DIFFERENT markets now. Within a few years, Apple will pass MS in revenue even though they might at best have 10% of the OS marketplace but because Apple has the highest margins of the OS market, on the internet, market share of the OS hardly matters … when Apple releases a new OS, it either sells a new machine – a typical selling Mac now being the Macbook or imac (yes the mini is around but sales do not match the imac or macbook) so their generated revenue is around $1,400 USD and margins of @30% while an OEM return of Vista or XP is around @25-@75 in terms of revenue – again, similiar markets but completely different in reality.

12. mike ohara - 3 October, 2007

Microsoft is floundering, many of us would abandon the platform if we could. I’m sure they COULD write a good, new operating system. But they don’t, do they? Because then they’d be starting over. And it’s the applications on windows that keep us there.

In the meantime, Apple is doing some decent work, even if it’s not perfect, it’s pretty decent overall, stable and not too likely to be overrun with virii and spyware (for the time being). And they keep growing.

Now if you’ve ever studied the dynamics of complex systems, you’ll understand me when I say that the base of applications is the hard part of the “gravity well” equation that Apple has to provide. This is getting better. Eventually if current trends continue, Apple will gain more “mass” and users at a faster and faster rate.

Microsoft knows this and is… well… floundering.

13. Sebhelyesfarku - 3 October, 2007

Dumbass Maczealots always remind me of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

14. SL - 3 October, 2007

I would like to know how many of those millions of Vista machines have been “downgraded to XP” by the businesses that don’t want to run Vista.

15. Timmy - 3 October, 2007

Yeah your article blows. Thats my intelligent response to your data frigging.

16. luis - 3 October, 2007

Dumbass MS zealots always remind me of emo fags, constantly happy of their suffering.

Trash this BS already. I don’t have macs, so don’t call me a fanboy, but to backslash the Mac just because Vista is so shitty (and it is, I have one copy of it in my home and it just blows pretty hard) is LAME, asshole.

You’re playing the bully who’s being spanked by his mom and then goes after the little good student for spanking relief.

Cause that’s what MShit is, a bully who’s bullying us all. And I can’t stand that there are still sites who only not take it gladly, they even prostrate themselves to please Gate’s john john.

And no, I couldn’t care less of OS X. I would get it, if I didn’t have already a PC, but here’s a prediction:

This fall, with Leopard, and all the hype around iPhone and iPod, we’re gonna see Mac OS X jump even a little more. I’d say, they are going to sell the double they sold last year. Or close.

That’s not bad. At least, OS X is without viruses. I can’t stand people that complaint about OS X security as being “naive” and “childish”. If OS X security is naive, then XP or Vista is not even visible in the negative naiveness charts.

Seriously. If you like Vista, that’s fine. But don’t go after the others just because they don’t bend the elegant way you do.

17. loki - 3 October, 2007

Are they Mac ‘zealots’ just because they speak valid points against an obviously shortsighted article?
Step outside of your little tunnel-vision cave and look at the big picture and reality and you will see that MS is not doing a very good job of innovating or implimenting their new softwares.
Apple really has no desire to have a monopoly of any market. They simply want to create quality products that are easy to use and enjoyable to own. If that makes them profitable, then even better! They’re not here to prove they’re better than anyone other than themselves!
Use a Mac for a couple weeks for your daily routines and then tell me you still prefer to suffer throught the Windows experience. It probably won’t happen. Apple has a monopoly on people who’ve used both platforms. That much is certain.

18. Shawn - 3 October, 2007


And people such as yourself are the ones standing on the tracks not hearing or seeing the train coming.

This article is BS, sales of Macs have continued to grow at a rate nearly 3 times as fast as the rest of the industry. VIsta is, despite what everyone thinks, a flop. MS counts “sales” as “product pushed through sales channels” not actual physical sales to consumers. That’s how they’ve also “sold” 1 million Zunes. Uh huh….

The point is that now that more and more consumers are being educated on their options – that pesky word that MS hates – they’re not going with the trash they’ve been addled with for the last 10-12 years. I bought my first Mac ever in November and it only took 8 months for me to completely and totally see just how terrible Windows – any flavor – is designed.

19. randy - 3 October, 2007

And, how many of those users are running Vista in Boot Camp/Parallels/VMWare? But, seriously… web stats? Laughable at best.

20. CJ - 3 October, 2007

Well duh!

Here’s an interesting thought exercise.

Let’s suppose windows has an 85% share of the PC OS market. And if all new windows machines have an average 3.5 year lifespan, and all new PCs come with Vista as an option, then in eight months you would expect up to 16% of all PCs to be running Vista (.85 * (8mo/42mo)) just based on new hardware sales alone.

If all Vista can get in 8 months is 4%, and that includes hardware upgrades AND software upgrades … then Vista isn’t exactly seeing stellar adoption.

21. Uncle Pual - 3 October, 2007

Nice flamebait!

22. luis - 3 October, 2007

CJ, good point.

Furthermore, if in 8 months, the best they can do is 4%, will they have to wait 160 months to get past the 80% mark?

… and I thought windows 7 was just 18 months in the future…

4% actually begins to sound VERY VERY BAD.

Nah. Can’t be THAT bad.

Could it?

23. mark collinson - 3 October, 2007

Does it matter any more? (I guess if you are a shareholder it does.)
Who cares if i run linux, vista, osx, xp, or 2000? My life is online, not on the desktop, and it will not be tied to a vendor.

24. Gary - 3 October, 2007

Without knowing the methodology behind the data that W3Counter presents, you can’t draw any conclusions, whatsoever. For instance, what are the 5,899 sites they monitor? Are those sites more likely to be visited by Windows users than Mac users? Are they more likely to be visited for business purposes than personal use? After all, Macs have a higher percentage of the home market than the business market.

The more important question (IMO) is not whether usage of Vista is growing faster than Mac OSX. It’s how widely accepted is Vista over XP. After all, XP users should be Vista’s primary customer base. Expectations for Vista conversion had to have been better than 5% after nine months. I don’t have the data, but I suspect that adoption of Windows 95, Windows 98, and XP was much better than Vista.

But, of course, the W3Counter data is meaningless, as I previously stated, so the adoption rate of Vista may be entirely different. But, even if you’re going to use worthless data, at least use it for the more important argument.

25. JulesLt - 3 October, 2007

SL – those businesses will eventually run Vista. We took years to make the migration to XP (between SP1 and SP2) but when we did we upgraded EVERYTHING in one go – because IT want to support a consistent deployment – and I don’t blame them. Most corporate XP installs are quite stable in terms of security, etc, and there are about zero Vista only apps out there at the moment, so there is really little impetus.

Also – the Net Application stats (which indicate OS X at about 6%) do back up the Vista growth shown above – about 1% a month – largely coming from XP, with a small amount from Win2000.

As for Mac share – Mac sales can be growing at the rate they are (which they are) and the overall marketshare decrease so long as overall global PC sales continue to outpace Apple’s growth. Mac sales growth is largely focused in wealthy economies, particularly the US, while there is still large user growth in developing nations. It’s also focused on profitable sectors – there is no OS X Basic, no $600 OS X laptop (well, except the iPod touch).

I will say one thing – if I was a shareholder I’d be disappointed if Apple threw in the towel on the Mac – it accounts for a lot of their revenue, and I know which stock I’d have preferred to have held over the last 5 years.

As for the cartoon – well Brad’s obviously one of those people that thinks that brains and beauty can’t go together. I met an IT guy the other week who is still suspicious of XP! It’s all been downhill since DOS.

26. liskid - 3 October, 2007

How is the Zune doing?

27. Paul - 3 October, 2007

Your figures are flawed, a statistically significant number of computers were sold with Vista and XP, it is quiet possible under these dual-boot machines, that some are using either one at any given time to go about their work.

Furthermore, you have not taken in to account Windows XP users who are running trial versions of Windows Vista.

Should an upgrade to an operating system with 80% of the market share take over those under 10% ? Of course it should, but the fact that it has taken it this long to do so, speaks volumes about the ineffectiveness of Vista. The admission by many OEMs who are also shipping XP installation disks alongside Vista is a glaring testament to Vista’s lackluster demand.

28. edtajchman - 3 October, 2007

I think the Mac vs Windows debate ended years ago, that graph doesn’t really say much because they don’t really cater to the same markets anymore, not entirely anyway. Bill Gates even owned 10% of Mac a number of years ago. Mac is the standard in the graphic design industry, and user friendly computer market, Windows is the universal personal computer obviously, like I said, I think this debate ended years ago.

29. Cliff - 3 October, 2007

The assumption that OS X users are LEAVING for Windows Vista is ridiculous. Maybe new users or current M$ users are going to Vista, but I highly doubt anyone running a Mac would actually leave and go back to Windows.

That’s very laughable.

30. zahadum - 3 October, 2007

1) as the other posters have already pointed out: this website is full of shiite – they didnt even bother to review the data before regurgitating the press release from a second-rate analytics shop.

2) however, the pertinent issue is to seprate vista’s sales into two parts:

* the organic run-rate (ie built-in pem slaes)

* discretionary retail sales

If you only look at the latter, then the fate of vista is VERY anemic!

out of the windows users i know (say, 100 persons), i have not met a single person in 5 countries in 8 months who bought vista (at $300, $400, $600 or whatever edition) …

no body is standing in a linebeating down the doors to buy this thing.

moreover, in additoin to a lack of end-user entusiasm, there is the extra side-effect the vista has on the tining of the rsplacement cycle: many people and companies are deliverately PLANNING to simply make-do with XP for an extra couple of years than they would otherwise (because of the steep resource requirements of uncrippled vista).

the only way vista will achieve any penetration is by the intertia of the replacement cycle of the captital budget … in other words it will take YEARS before new computers are alot more than 50% of the installed base of pc’s.

personally i think some of vistas features are actually credible (though not exactly spectular) — but the elimination of the embded database-orinted file system is huge loss of what little technical momentum microsoft had going for it.

nonetheless, the market is making apretty loud statement:

apple’s retail marketshare for the dominant platform (leptops) is going to hit 20% next year … and its marketshare for the legacy platform (desktops – i dont mean workstations, i mean desktops) is ready to bursting through 10%.

on the other hand, apple’s non-retail marketshare is log-jamed up by the intransigence of MIS: there huge swaths of windows tech support staff that have an entrebched self-interest in excluding the mac from the enterprise because many TENS — no, SCORES! –OF THOUSANDS of them would be soon out of job …. since the mac’s superior TCO (total cost of owndership) doesnt require the army of hand-holding that the windoze quagmire does.

however, CFO’s will not sit idly by forever as CIO’s remain asleep at the switch: sooner or later the demand for rational, effcient use of IT resources will force the feather-bedders to release the death-grip thau have on their sinecures … and to make way for a platform “that just works”.

unlike the self-indulgent fantasies of the linux fan-boys (who seriously expect a breakthrough any day now on the desktop front), the time will come when the enterprise & apple are forced to take each other more seriously (right now they are both busy with other fish to fry).

at that time, appel’s corporate marketshare will start to achieve parity with its retail marketshare.

sure, vista will eventually achieve > 50% marketshare ….

but by the time that occurs, the mac will have reached > 20% marketshare (as will linux – though that penetration will be concentrated mostly just in the third-world, as the OS that ships for free on mediocre, bare-bones pcs).

microsodt’s loss is definite;y apple’s gain.

31. Yoyomonk - 3 October, 2007

well… duh
a lot of people updating to windows vista from xp, resulting in windows still having more numbers than apple as usual. This isnt surprising, its just obvious that as people upgrade, vista will be higher than xp, since its all former xp users.
apple still isnt as popular as windows

32. yellow jacket - 3 October, 2007

i find these figures to represent the real state of affairs. in the home computer market anyway, i have definitely noticed a steadily increasing switch over to mac over the last few years. maybe large organizations that mainly still use windows are buying more computers or something…

33. chico - 3 October, 2007

Windows vista is an advance operating system but apple is easier to moniter but then again there is more software for windows

34. Justin Kistner - 3 October, 2007

Windows has a 90%+ market share and Vista is their latest version. How could it not overtake Apple? It says nothing about a shift in market share or about Apple’s strength. However, given that it took 8 months, it does say that Windows users were *slow* to adopt. Remember how people were lined up all over the world when Windows 95 came out? Vista adoption is going so poorly that Microsoft extended the timeline for selling XP.

35. Jhon Boobot - 3 October, 2007

If the Vista on store shelves was the Vista that MS originally promised you wouldn’t need the graphs and lame BS. Sales would have passed Mac OSX in the first month. Even Mac users might have agreed that Vista was a very good OS. But thats not what happened.

Microsoft is so dependent on big business that it can’t change anything without some big account screaming bloody murder. Big business doesn’t like change. Change costs money.

36. WT Snacks - 3 October, 2007

Forget the Apple side of things, there is NO way that Linux numbers are that low.


37. BlogD - 3 October, 2007

The author here made the exact same mistakes as Gregg Keizer at ComputerWorld made in an article two and a half months ago, except that Keizer at least used more reliable data–though he did so either ineptly or dishonestly, just like here. Full refutation with charts and graphs can be seen here.

38. Phormic - 3 October, 2007

Hmmm. Net Applications see things somewhat differently.

Net Applications’ Operating System “Market Share” for September 2007:
79.32% – Windows XP
7.38% – Windows Vista
6.61% – Mac OS X (Intel Macs: 3.23%, PPC Macs 3.38%)
3.32% – Windows 2000
0.89% – Windows 98
0.81% – Linux
0.61% – Windows NT
0.49% – Windows ME
0.13% – Pike v7.6 release 92
0.12% – Nintendo Wii
0.10% – Unknown
0.07% – iPhone
0.06% – Windows CE
0.03% – Series60

Just slightly different wouldn’t you agree? I mean above we have Mac PPC useage at 3.38% and your data has it at 0.03%? A little more than a statistical anomaly.

You’ve done very well here in generating traffic. Shame you’ve done it at the expense of looking like a complete goose.

39. luis - 3 October, 2007

WT, you’d be surprised. Sheeps are a lot.

40. paralleldivergence - 3 October, 2007

Thanks everybody for the comments. Here are a few clarifications because some people have decided to jump to their own conclusions, just like they feel I have.

1. These are raw figures taken from the W3Counter site, put into a graph to see what they looked like. There was no press release from W3Counter – I just looked at the figures and made my own assessment. I have no affiliation with W3Counter.

2. I have no idea what the 5899 sites are, but with 36 miliion unique hits being analysed, it’s a fair subset.

3. People seem to think that there is a static number of Windows computers out there and people are just updating to Vista. The number of PCs being sold continues to grow and their impact plays on the marketshare percentages. Apple may very well have sold more computers than ever before, but they are still being outsold by Windows at the same rate as they used to be. This is not an analysis of physical sales, it’s an analysis of market share based on one set of data.

4. The Net Applications figures posted by Phormic above (#38) still show Vista above OSX, even though OSX is shown higher than with W3Counter. The Mac PPC stats at W3Counter refer to OS9 and earlier – not OSX. WT Snacks (#36) if you didn’t like W3Counter’s Linux stats, don’t look at Net Application’s! 🙂

5. I am in no way an MS fanboy. If you bothered to read the article, I linked to Vista Criticisms. I did not praise the Windows product in any way.

6. I wrote this article – and this comment on my Intel iMac after having just installed the iLife 08 update.

My point is (and the point of Brad in the cartoon), maybe we should forget about trying to take over the world. We have a great OS and that’s our reality.


41. mark - 3 October, 2007

Didn’t all of Vista’s growth come at the expense of other older Windows versions?

Or are we in some non-zero-sum parallel universe where Mac OS X can grow 40% by percentage and still lose percentage points to Vista?

42. Charles Rost - 3 October, 2007

I’m always amazed at how PC centric reporting compares Apple’s ‘share’ with Microsoft’s ‘share’ . . . even more baffling is why none of the hospitals, accounting, or law firms I’ve been in use a Mac?

But yet virtualy all the advertising, printing, design, multimedia, and creative environments swear by that?

Why is that oh great one?

Hey, did you hear the one about how the Zune is overtaking the iPod in share ‘growth’??

Oh yeah . . . .

43. paralleldivergence - 3 October, 2007

No Mark, see my comment directly above yours.

Charles, why talk stupidity on the Zune? I’m using real numbers here.

44. Scott Brookes - 3 October, 2007

what does this matter….. we all know apple doesnt have a 90% market share…. obviously Vista is going to sell more copies… there are more computers that can use it……

This doesnt mean OS X is somehow of lower quality then vista

45. ascended_master - 3 October, 2007

Mac’s are for people that matter.

46. mark - 3 October, 2007

Let me edit that – “Didn’t all of Vista’s growth come at the expense of other older Windows versions, according to NetApplications stats?”

47. hammerhead - 3 October, 2007

a lot of people are also voting with their dollars both on Apple’s products and stock. Apple’s market cap is now up to half of Microsoft’s.


48. Alain - 3 October, 2007

This debate is stupid (and the whole story by the way) just because you don’t know what numbers means.

Just consider that the renewal of pc and in a single year, Vista will overtake Mac OSX.

If you see an OSX growht in the whole market, it means fabulous growht. Just think of it.

49. paralleldivergence - 3 October, 2007

Alain, I do know what the numbers mean. If OSX has maintained a 3.75% market share over this time period (according to W3Counter), but the total number of computers connecting to the internet has grown over the same period, then of course, Apple has sold computers. But the point is, they don’t seem to be making a dent in the Windows share, despite the failings of Vista. Simple as that.

50. An Observer - 3 October, 2007

How foolish man can be. It seems these days a more than natural act to secure a dead fast dedication to a particular OS and stick with it, through the good and bad. As the brute was relating in the above article, Vista is vastly superior to OS X because it has more market share. Excellent for Microsoft and Bill Gates (I love that guy), but this does not mean in any way it is a superior OS. Steve Jobs himself likes to relate back to cars, saying Vista is better than OS X because they push more units is like saying the Ford wagon is vastly superior to the Audi A6 because they sell more. That is unconcievable. I use both Windows and OS X, I find the mac OS to be vastly superior, but Windows is still an incredibly solid, diverse and multi-funtion OS. However, OS X is simply elegant and refined. Thus I beseech you, through down the PC who hath corrupted thee minds and embrace true computing. Visit apple.com/store. Awake Masses!

51. Kevin Boggs - 3 October, 2007

I’m not sure that these numbers have that much meaning. There are other figures that pretty much contradict them. I often wonder what the numbers would look like if we subdivided the market. I mean computers are used for so many, varied applications that it seems to me that we should subdivide sales/use figures. How about something like Home, Business, Professional and Education segments? As someone else said, Macs seem to be doing quite well in the growing laptop segment, so I think to get a more accurate picture of how the OS is doing we need to look at things from more angles.

52. Dude who gave up on windows - 3 October, 2007

paralleldivergence, like your avatar…

53. Jim Trebilcock - 3 October, 2007

Sorry, maybe others have made these points, but your analysis of the numbers is so off that it makes me wonder if your article is nothing more than flame bait.
Also, do the rest of you see the clever approach? If I confront the false numbers with actual stats, then I’m clearly a fan-boy, eh? Sheesh.
The reality is that Net Applications says that Mac market share among web users has increased from 4.7 percent last year to 6.6 percent now. That’s a significant increase in anyone’s book but yours it would seem.
All forms of Windows still hold 91 percent of the market, but this is down from 94 percent a year ago. Where, again, is that gain for Vista at the expense of OS X? Hummm.

54. Rhys L - 3 October, 2007

Lol, I wonder if the above comment was good ol’ Fake Steve… hmmm….

55. paralleldivergence - 3 October, 2007

@Dude who gave up on windows said: “paralleldivergence, like your avatar…”

Yes, “Made on a Mac!” – gotta love Photobooth. 🙂

@Jim Trebilcock:

I was working with one set of data and showed that more people now connect to the Internet using Vista than OSX. Your figures from Net Applications show the same thing. I do not know if W3Counter are only showing Motorola-Macs or Intel-Macs or both. I just reported on those figures as they are. Take it up with W3Counter? Remember their market share back in the 80’s and early 90’s? Hmmm?

56. Fred Hamranhansenhansen - 3 October, 2007

The funniest thing about this post is the way you burned the Windows text rendering into the chart. It’s like a joke inside a joke. You’re arguing for the superiority of Windows 2007 by showing its most obvious 1980’s quality. A “just kidding” that Windows users won’t catch. Very dry. Bravo.

57. jo jo the dancer - 3 October, 2007

“Vista also seems to be taking market share from OSX”

hoooo – wheeee

that’s a knee slapper 😉

58. DWalla - 3 October, 2007

I’m a Mac fan and truthfully, I hope Apple never gets more than 15-20% of the marketspace. As long as they are the minority they will always innovate… I don’t want them getting fat, lazy and incompetent like their Microsoft counterparts.

59. paralleldivergence - 3 October, 2007

Thanks for the affirmation Fred. I try. 🙂

DWalla, I think your absolutely right. The innovations that Apple has brought the world have really driven progress – progress that would otherwise stagnate if MS had no competition whatsoever.

60. andyfox1979 - 3 October, 2007

Vista has some very simple, crappy flaws, is unnecessarily overweight, but otherwise its not too bad.

OSX is great if you use a mac, if you’re “that type”.

I don’t know why everyone is getting all frothy over this one. If you’re a hip Mac user, it will make you vastly less hip if everyone starts using em.

(this comment was written on an HP DV6000 running Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux, rarely)

61. eLo - 3 October, 2007


Eat shit man, 1 billion of flys can’t be wrong….

62. Pete - 3 October, 2007

Ooohh hit a raw nerve people

63. paul - 3 October, 2007

Oh who cares?

Now where did I put my iPod?

64. Kikimomabantot - 3 October, 2007

Guys, the desktop wars is over thanks to Microsoft’s monopoly and IBM’s partnering with MS back in the 80s. Microsoft (fortunate for Bill) controls the world… it controls your minds and people just take whatever is shoved down their throats. We just love Microsoft products and so we bend over and take it up the yin-yang. So what? Vista is just a Mac OS version for the PC, a Mac OS X copycat, no more, no less. What is a real computer? It’s between your ears… beat that! Lets all look for that company that will bring the real desktop in… 3D holographic stuff, where you can actually touch it, this is where the real innovation is. Ok boys, back to work, don’t forget to change your diapers!

65. Top Posts « WordPress.com - 3 October, 2007

[…] Microsoft Vista Overtakes Apple OSX in Only Eight Months Microsoft Vista was released publicly and globally on January 30, 2007 and it’s taken only eight months for this […] […]

66. kmfurr - 3 October, 2007

This data is clearly not meaningful.

OF COURSE Vista is gaining market share — perhaps you haven’t heard, but Vista became the default installed OS of every computer maker in the world except Apple this year. It’s market share is necessarily climbing from a recent base of ZERO, and Vista will necessarily outsell OSX unless and until Apple achieves greater than 50% market share — just as, say, Chevrolets outsell Ferrarris.

That much is obvious, but the REAL problem with your graph is that it shows OSX and Windows 2000 moving almost in tandem. In the real world, millions of new Macintoshes are being sold versus zero new PCs with Windows 2000. Windows 2000 is only being retired. Any data that shows them continuing to have equal market cannot be representative of the real world, and therefore is suspect.

67. chris - 4 October, 2007

this is hilarious

68. spurius - 4 October, 2007

This only goes to show that popularity does not equate to quality. We all know why Vista is gaining popularity: it is now installed on most of the new computers sold. OSX is just installed on Apple computers. Linux is only installed on a few Dells and System 76 has also a few models that come with Linux.

MacDonald’s sell billions of burgers but are they the best? I don’t think so. I’m sure that if Apple would make OSX compatible with all PCs their market share would increase.

Linux has a hard time because there are to many versions of it out there and the general public believes that it is very hard to operate.

I am sure that Windows overall market share will go down. Who would have thought a few years back that Internet Explorer would loose market share. in 2002 IE had a 88% share, now as of June 2007 IE has a 66% and Firefox has 25% (w3counter stats).

69. Jak - 4 October, 2007

lame post. apples and oranges. vista is pretty horrific. people have to upgrade to it in PC land.

70. andrewtatum - 4 October, 2007

i don’t usually read blogs of this nature but I had to share my two cents…I am a Mac user. And I sit behind quite a few Windows Vista users in my courses and what I have noticed is this: Windows Vista bears remarkable similarity in both layout and functionality to Apple OS X. While your post claims that people aren’t switching, I would say that the vast majority of students in my courses who buy new computers are buying Apples. From my perspective, it seems that the only way that vista might have been able to “get ahead” is that it bears such remarkable similarity to the Mac OS yet doesn’t require people to pony up the dough for a newer, more sophisticated, and (frankly) better computer running Apple with OS X.

71. Mike Conlen - 4 October, 2007


1) we are looking at percentages not raw data.
2) we don’t know what the margin of error of the % is because we don’t know what the number of users is as opposed to number of unique visits
3) 36 million visits may look like a lot but that’s what two website I’ve worked on handled in a week.
4) once you filter down from unique visits to unique people the number gets much smaller.
5) without knowing the websites it’s impossible to tell what biases there are in the user base (and there are going to be some no matter what).
6) from May 10 to now (the earliest they have on their website right now) Apples numbers are static, so there is heavy cannibalization of other windows OS, particularly when you consider Linux gaining a small amount.

Also consider that when I go to a website with a Win2k, WinXP or WinVista browser I’m doing so from my Macintosh. Not a lot of computers are running OS X inside Windows.

Apple sells hardware. If you want to believe they sell an operating system go right ahead, but they sell hardware primarily to the home user. When you look at their market share in their target segment it’s clearly going up.

There could possibly be some loss of market share since January but again without knowing the bias and N all statistics are just lies.

72. jsg - 4 October, 2007

To the guy saying Apple has a 17% marketshare, I think you need to go back and check your numbers.

According to the stats, XP still holds 83% of the market… and ALL OTHER OPERATING SYSTEMS are in the remaining 17%… along with Windows Vista, Windows 2000, OSX, Windows 98, Teh Lunix, etc… and the slice of that slice of pie is ranked pretty much in that order.

As of today, only 3.74% of people tracked by W3Counter are using OS X… which means there are more web users using Windows 2000 than OS X (to say nothing of all the Windows 2000 Servers still out there).

I’m willing to bet that if we had the stats on all computers used in the world, Windows NT 4.0 would be beating out OS X as well.

73. jsg - 4 October, 2007

“4) once you filter down from unique visits to unique people the number gets much smaller.”

Wrong, because you are still working with percentages. As with all statistics, the more your base of data is, the more accurate your stats will be.

The only skew would be collecting site data with a built-in bias… like seeing what % of visitors to Apple.com or Microsoft.com are using what browser or OS. But probably less so with Apple, since people using Windows at work may be checking there… so their work computer shows up in the stats, and thus actually makes the figures MORE accurate. Statistics are funny like that.

74. Mike Conlen - 4 October, 2007

JSG: My point is that is that N is smaller than the original number implied. If I have 1000 users who make 10000 visits and I’m looking at what % of people use a Mac my result is 3 out of 10 not 30 out of 100.

Using 3.85 Mac and 96.15 “everything else” (used because the calculations are way more involved for three ways or more) the standard error of the difference of the percentages is different for visits than for users. For visits the standard error of the difference of the visits of 93.3% is 0.3848%.

On the other hand the standard error for the difference of the users would be 1.21%.

The writer is using metrics of how much a type of computer is used and trying to correlate it to how many of that computer there are. Apart from all the sources of bias my point is that we don’t even know what the actual statistic is and what the margin of error of the difference is. You can’t tell how many people own an item based o how much that item is and more importantly you can’t know how good the statistic is unless you know what N is. He’s using the number of “visits” to talk about the number of “users” and he has no way to present the number of total users in order to do an analysis with the numbers.

I’m not saying the results are wrong, I’m saying the results are meaningless because they have no basis in given values. His conclusion might be right but not for the reasons for which he’s concluded.

In conclusion despite working with percentages which gives you the same median we don’t know the margin of error to conclude that a particular value has really increased or decreased.

In addition the results come from the last 25,000 visits to some number of websites. This does not give a random sampling at all because for many large websites 25,000 visits happen in less than an hour. We don’t know what time of day the results were taken from. If the distribution of Macintosh users isn’t even across all timezones (and I’ve read it is not) then there’s a bias for the time of day the result was taken from. If the result was taken during work hours the results are going to be skewed towards Microsoft since most people would be using their computer at work instead of their home computer. If the results are taken from the MSDN website the results are going to be skewed.

In order to draw his conclusion the websites would have to be chosen at random. The sample would have to be long enough to consider weekend, week day and time of day usage and would have to identify unique computers, not unique visitors. It doesn’t so you can’t draw this conclusion.

The only conclusions you can draw are that the numbers are correct to some degree for the visits to specific websites at specific times and that’s a far cry from what the author of this article has stated.

75. Mike Conlen - 4 October, 2007

JSG: to your earlier point on market share. This doesn’t represent market share as it’s used in the industry. Market share is a measure of your share of sales within a market. There are many different markets. Within global personal computer sales Apple has a very small market share. If you remove the individual markets for which Apple does not seriously compete in you get a different number. In the market for all UNIX based computers Apple has a huge market share. In the market for computers which run IE they have no market share.

Apple’s primary markets exclude most manufacturers biggest markets.

As for 17% Apple does have > 17% of the US retail notebook market and the notebook market has become the largest part of the US retail computer market. They sold more laptops than Gateway! Dell and HP are the only companies to sell more laptops but if you remove the retail business sales numbers Apples share increases dramatically above 17%.

Year over year apple increased shipments by 33% which is 2.5 times the industry growth rate These numbers stand in direct disagreement with the measurements presented in the original article.

Apple doesn’t compete to sell more operating systems than Microsoft. They are competing to put more computers in to homes, primarily in the US, than Gateway, Dell, IBM/Levono, etc. The OS market is secondary for them.

Now, you can use bad statistics with bad sampling to draw the conclusion that Apple is loosing ground but the reality of 33% growth rates and growth rates in their primary sector of 2.5 times the industry can’t be denied. You can dislike Apples all you want but you can’t deny that more and more are being used every day.

76. kevintracy - 4 October, 2007

That’s not really fair. Its almost impossible to get a new PC without Vista.

For those poor souls that needed to get a new PC after Jan. 30 – most of us HATE vista. I had to buy an iMac just to do basic things that Vista was taking way to long to do. And in the end, many of us UPGRADED back to XP anyway.

I’m surprised you don’t see more people buying Macs after Vista came out, but besides that, this graph really isn’t anything interesting.

77. Angry Chinese Driver - 4 October, 2007

Being a university student, I’ve noticed that for every Mac used, there are only about three or four PC notebooks. The “Once-you-go-Mac-you’ll-never-go-back” rage is spreading like wildfire amongst young adults, and it doesn’t seem like Apple’s going to be doing anything but gaining more ground. I can’t say the same for iMacs, but Macs are a definite score.

78. -kf - 4 October, 2007

Count me as a PC user who will be switching to Mac when my current Windows machine dies.

79. Another Future Mac User - 4 October, 2007

Another Windows user since 1995 that will be going MAC as soon as Leopard is released.

I use bootcamp to maintain my present winxp until all my applications are eventually replaced on the OSX.

80. Rom Rim - 4 October, 2007

“OF COURSE Vista is gaining market share — perhaps you haven’t heard, but Vista became the default installed OS of every computer maker in the world except Apple this year.”

OF COURSE IT IS — because those anal retentive dickheads in Cupertino put limericks in their bloody kernel code to beg people not to run the OS on non-Apple hardware. Because Steve Jobs has such a history of dicking over companies that want to do business with him, because despite Dell and most likely both HP and IBM’s Lenovo wanting to ship OS X they won’t BECAUSE STEVE JOBS DOESN’T LIKE IT AND STEVE JOBS CONTROLS EVERYTHING.

I’m just wondering what sleeping draught Steve Jobs gave to the Apple board and shareholders – in other words when the F they’re going to WAKE UP.

81. paralleldivergence - 4 October, 2007

Gotta love this video all about Vista:


82. kamx3 - 4 October, 2007

Who cares? If you like Windows, fine. Personally, I’d prefer OS X not get too popular lest the malware merchants turn their attenton it. Windows keeps them too busy right now because that is where the $ are. Fine by me!

83. Tom Robinson - 4 October, 2007

I’d agree with kamx3, there are plenty of advantages to being the minority.

That said, Vista’s “overtaking” of Mac OS X isn’t exactly a fair comparison since there are far more previous Windows users who are simply upgrading to the new Version.

Compare new Windows users (not previous Windows users upgrading to Vista) to new Mac OS X users and I think you’ll find something very different.

84. You are a shmuck - 5 October, 2007

You friggin’ moron. That’s like saying China has more people than Texas. Like everyone else has said in earlier posts Vista works on a multitude of different companies’ products while Apple is a company.

85. Grumpy - 5 October, 2007

Wow you really stirred up the Mac community. Their responses overall reminds me of the lunatic religious fringe. I thought Macs liked to have the image of being for intelligent, thoughtful and creative people. It looks like the things you shouldn’t discuss at parties should be religion, politics OR computers.

As a teacher who uses Macs at school every day (I am in charge of over 40) and who uses Windows at home every day (XP I see no need to go to Vista yet); I feel that I have a fair picture of both sides of this debate. I would not consider buying a Mac for myself at this stage, I see no advantage in it.

I would prefer it if the OS i used was not an issue at all, which it is becoming with the internet. OS X is ok but is not perfect. Windows is in my experience at home just as reliable (using anti-virus software and being careful). Love your blog.

86. paralleldivergence - 5 October, 2007

Hi Grumpy. Glad you like the site. You raise a great point when you say: “I thought Macs liked to have the image of being for intelligent, thoughtful and creative people.”

I use both Macs and Windows everyday and I’m happy with both – they serve different purposes for me. But some people can’t stand being shown how small a minority their favorite platform actually holds and are quick to abuse and insult when it’s pointed out to them. The article says nothing about one being better than the other, just the state of play in the world. You can disagree with the figures if you want to and you can show alternative figures if you have them and they can be discussed. But people like #84 above have no clue and they probably didn’t understand the article’s points at all.

There’s a lunatic fringe in every group. 🙂

87. luzee » Microsoft Vista Overtakes Apple OSX in Only Eight Months - 22 October, 2007

[…] all the details here […]

88. country » Microsoft Vista Overtakes Apple OSX in Only Eight Months - 27 October, 2007

[…] the rest of this great post here […]

89. Chris - 15 December, 2007
90. Microsoft..Your potential..their passion - Home - 16 December, 2007

[…] Microsoft Vista Overtakes Apple OSX in Only Eight Months […]

91. ... - 19 June, 2008

I’m so tired of hearing this. Windows is the better system and always will be. Look at the facts, Windows has 90% market share to Apples maybe 10%? Thats a joke. Not only that, Dell computers with Vista look and work better than crappy macs. Sophisticated? Maybe Sophisticated crap from apple. Apple just wants more money and they’ll always be like that. Microsoft cares about what you the consumer wants and gives it to you. And Microsoft doesn’t make you get things you don’t want. Macs only allow you to use what apple says, and thats not right.

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