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October 2nd, 2007

Remember this story from ComputerWorld a few months back? I wrote this blog post on it. The article basically used cherry-picked data to suggest that Vista was booming while the Mac was languishing in flat sales, pretty much the exact opposite of what was true. One quote in particular:

According to Net Applications, in June Windows Vista accounted for 4.52% of all systems that browsed the Web, up from January’s 0.18%. Vista has grown its usage share each month since its release to consumers Jan. 30, hitting 0.93% in February, 2.04% in March, 3.02% in April and 3.74% in May. Apple Inc.’s Mac OS X, meanwhile, accounted for 6.22% in January and hit its high point of 6.46% in May, but it slipped back to 6% in June.

Here’s the chart from which he chose his numbers, with his quoted Mac numbers circled in red:

See what he did with the Mac numbers? He chose the January number, which was near the end of a 6-month climb, and then compared it level summer numbers through May, and a small drop in June, citing a 1-month fluctuation as if it were signs of a trend. He did not report that year-over-year, Mac market share has been increasing rapidly: 20% from 2004 to 2005, 26% from 2005 to 2006, and now 40% from 2006 to 2007. Not only is the growth rapid, but it is accelerating. I charted this out:

He used this data to make this conclusion:

Windows Vista’s share of online users has increased every month this year, while rival Mac OS X — to which Vista has often been compared — has shown little, if any, growth, a metrics company reports.

But what about that downswing at the end of the Mac OS chart? Two and a half months ago, I noted:

For example, if you just trouble yourself to get the Net Applications numbers for the Mac OS for the previous year as well, you’ll notice a pattern: Mac OS share rises in the second half of the year, then stays steady in the first half of the next year. The numbers for the Mac have shot up starting in August for the past two years–which means that Mac OS share, as reported by this source, should start to jump again in the next few months….

And guess what? Well, here’s the chart, extended into September of this year:


And of course, just as predicted, the numbers have shot up. If they continue to follow that same trend, we should see Mac OS X market share reach over 8% by the beginning of next year–and Mac sales seem to indicate that this is pretty much what is happening. If the trend continues, Macs should have between 12% to 15% market share by 2010. If you really want to go far-reaching, the same trendline shows Macs reaching over 30% by 2015. However, considering that there is only 3 years of data from which to extrapolate a future trend, that’s kind of reaching too far; even 2010 is a stretch, and who knows what events can and will affect the trends in the future.

That is, however, the current trend. I was right in predicting the upswing beginning in August; let’s see if I’m right about next January before I start getting excited about anything farther down the road.

Nevertheless, you can probably see why I am definitely holding on to my Apple stock; despite having risen 65% and reached an all-time high since I bought it, Apple has so much more room to expand–not just with computers, but with cell phones and all the other markets they can enter–that it’s not even funny.

It should also be noted that the data comes from Net Applications, and the share is calculated by measuring visits to web sites which are more oriented towards Windows PCs.

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