Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mac OS X Web Market Share Numbers

Net Applications February Share for OS and Browser Share are out. Same trend as last month, OS X and Safari up:
  • Mac OS X (PowerPC and Intel) - 6.38%
  • Safari - 4.85%
I updated the chart too:

Original Post
This past week it was pretty widely reported that Firefox brower share had gone down, and Safari brower share had risen according to Net Applications and this was startling to some because Safari is OS X only. I hadn't even mentioned it, the numbers obviosly showed Safari at 4.7% in Jan 07 and the trend was clear, slowly but steadily making share gains year over year from Feb 06 at 3.13%.

Of course the other interesting part of the story is OS X's market share. Again according to Net Applications OS Share Numbers, OS X web market share was at 6.22% in January 07, up from 4.31% in February 06. But some people get confused on Net Applications Mac OS share number because they have two numbers, the one labeled Mac OS is for PowerPC Macs, and MacIntel, well that is pretty self explanatory. Too me what is really interesting is that the MacOS number trend. This is impossible to see on the Net Applications chart unless you drill around a lot, so here it is by itself:

See how MacOS was rising until May last year, then took a dip, then rose again, then another dip, and is now rising again. Each time a new Intel-based Mac was announced last year, Mac OS number took a dip as people replaced those machines and eBayed them, but replaced PowerPC machines didn't end up in landfills, people bought them and are actually using them:
  • iMac Core Duo - Released January 10, 2006
  • MacBook Pro - Released February 14, 2006
  • MacBook - Released May 16, 2006
  • Mac Pro - Released August 7, 2006
  • iMac Core 2 Duo - Released September 6, 2006
  • MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo - Released October 24, 2006
  • MacBook Core 2 Duo - November 8, 2006

This makes sense too, given the higher sustained resale value of Macs. Of course, some people see what they want to see, like Paul Thurrott. His weekly WinInfo Short Takes column hits all over the technology map, mostly Microsoft of course, but he mentions the market share numbers being a Firefox fan of course and he is always there to bring "reality" to any Mac market share discussion, because you know the Mac "crazies" might build up to much steam. Here is what he wrote (as of this posting):
Firefox Stumbles as Safari Gains Mozilla Firefox actually lost market share last month, according to Net Applications, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer held steady at about 80 percent market share. Firefox fell a bit to 13.7 percent of the market, down from 14 percent the previous month. But Firefox has had its ups and downs before. The big surprise in January was Apple's Safari browser, which runs only on Mac OS X. According to Net Applications, Safari usage jumped to 4.7 percent in January, up from 4.2 percent in December and 3.1 percent a year ago. This indicates, perhaps, that OS X usage is up a bit, though it's unclear if Net Application's numbers are US-only or worldwide: Net Application's OS share statistics show OS X holding about twice the worldwide market share that Apple actually commands, for example: 4.3 percent according to Net Applications, vs. about 2.5 percent in reality.

And here is what I wrote back to him in the comments:
Actually Paul, on OS X market share according to Net Applications, you got the number wrong. They report it at 6.22%. The number you reported, 4.3, is for PowerPC Macs only. You have to add in the MacIntel number which is 1.88%, bringing you to 6.22%. And if you look at the trend for both numbers, you can see they have both been increasing: You love to trumpet the Mac worldwide market share number, but you are really doing a disservice to your readers because the Mac share numbers have risen, more sharply in the US than in the rest of the world, but to bury your head in the sand and say there hasn't been an upward move is stupid, anyone who wants to can see the numbers. The difference between the Net Applications numbers and the absolute market share might be easy to explain. Since the PC market is comprised of every machine sold, including servers and point of sale and kiosk PCs, the web market share nubmers might be more meaningful for showing the OS trend amongst consumers, and those results are pretty clear year over year: XP - up Win 2000 - down Win 98 - down Mac - up Other - down The most widely used OSes then according to these numbers are XP at 85.02% and Mac OS X at 6.22%

I don't care about personal opinion or subjectivity on whether you like Windows or OS X better when we are talking about data that shows a clear trend. Thurrott just keeps running around saying 2.5%, 2.5%, which is near or close to the worldwide market share for Apple, but you also have to look at the US number, and that is according to Q4 2006 preliminary numbers, Apple has 5.1%, up from 3.7% from Q4 2005, a 30.6% year over year increase. Apple As I See It has a great breakdown and analysis, with charts!, of Apple market share numbers going back several years. He uses IDC, so the numbers I just quoted above are slightly different for US share, but look at the numbers for worldwide share near the bottom. Clearly slower than the US, but still the trend is clear, Apple's worldwide share is up the past 2 years. It may be small, but it's still growth. Also, this post at Apple As I See It makes it pretty clear that making tremendous gains in the PC market for Apple requires massive growth.