Home > Mac News > I’m Right Some More: Apple’s Surge, and Vista’s Epic Failure

I’m Right Some More: Apple’s Surge, and Vista’s Epic Failure

February 9th, 2008

If you recall, in July 2007, there was a story in Computerworld magazine that used cherry-picked data to make it look like Vista was a winner and the Mac OS was failing. The report said:

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. … Vista has grown its usage share each month since its release to consumers Jan. 30 … Mac OS X, meanwhile, accounted for 6.22 percent in January and hit its high point of 6.46 percent in May, but it slipped back to 6 percent in June.

This chart shows the cherry-picked data points:

As I pointed out, the Mac data was carefully chosen to give the impression of a declining market share, when in fact, historically, Mac market share had a tendency to flatline in Winter through mid-Summer, but to shoot up in late Summer through the beginning of Winter. I predicted in July of 2007 that the numbers would start to rise in “the next few months”–and I was right. In fact, the trend has just now begun to reach its full peak:


If it continues to match the trend, the market share has either peaked or will peak in February (perhaps March), after which it will stay level until July or August again. So far, my predictions have been almost spot-on; I predicted a rise to just over 8% by the beginning of 2008; while that is still possible, right now it is at just over 7.5%–not too far off, and certainly a hell of a lot more accurate than the paid prognosticator over at Computerworld.

I also pointed out that Vista sales were “increasing” only because (a) Vista started at zero, (b) is being sold by default with new computers, (c) and has a 90% market share to fulfill. In fact, relative to where it should have been, Vista sales were sagging, and people were asking that a 6-year-old OS (XP) be installed on their computers rather than a brand-new one (Vista), and that certainly held true. There is now a petition with nearly 80,000 signatures demanding that Microsoft abandon plans to stop selling Windows XP after this June, and with so many businesses refusing to switch to Vista, Microsoft is in the embarrassing position of actually having to consider keeping an old product alive and thereby admitting that their new product is a complete failure. Even the much-awaited Vista SP1, which was supposed to fix so many of the bugs in Vista and make it at least bearable, is failing to impress early testers. Analysts are now telling Microsoft that they should keep XP alive and on store shelves until 2009–when Vista’s successor is slated to arrive. (Though you shouldn’t bet the farm on that promise!)

All this probably explains why, as the Mac market share expands, Windows market share drops:


Ooo, and look! Microsoft’s market share is dropping exactly as Apple’s is increasing! What a coincidence!

Sure enough, Vista’s share expands only as new computers are sold to suckers who don’t know they can and should demand and get XP, so Vista’s market share continues to grow. But it’s anemic growth, at best: after one year on market shelves, Vista is only at a pitiful 12%. At this rate, it should reach 50% in only 3 more years, in March 2011–by which time, the next version of Windows will be two years overdue. How pathetic is that?

Following various trendlines, the Mac market share by early 2011 could be anywhere between 12% and 20%, probably landing somewhere in the middle of that. (My prediction: 15% by January 2011. That’s pretty realistic, and yet still allows for the possibility of the far-reaching prediction I made of 30% market share by 2015. But few trends stay that true for that long.)

Long story short: Me right, Computerworld dead wrong, Vista bites big hairy donkey balls. Not that this makes me Nostra-freakin’-damus (anyone could have crunched the numbers), but it might suggest that Computerworld should stop paying the hack they have on their payroll and instead mail his paycheck to me for writing this blog.

In a perfect world, that is.

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  1. alex
    February 9th, 2008 at 10:11 | #1

    Great Blog I always enjoy the commentary, it is very informative and entertaining.

    I was wondering if you or your readers knew a good place to find an easy, simply read place to find out where the candidates stand on global warming.

    I saw the earthlab poll and it is obvious that people care but the candidates websites have so much other information it is hard to find what I need with out being preached at. Earthlab.com also has candidate information that’s pretty good: http://www.earthlab.com/articles/PresidentialCandidates.aspx . Does anyone know of another website to find this information? Any other good resources where we I can find out how my candidate votes?

  2. Eric
    February 12th, 2008 at 19:02 | #2

    Vista isn’t going over well, obviously, and for good reason; it’s bloated, it’s shitty, it’s easily hacked (not that any sane person would WANT to), and it’s made by Microsoft. However, this isn’t the complaint most end users have with Vista – from what I can tell, they just don’t like that it’s at all different from WinXP. You make a valid point that many of those disillusioned with Windows are switching to Mac, but you don’t mention why – it’s not Mac’s own merits (that file system is a load of shit), but marketing and the fact that both Microsoft and Apple do their best to keep people from remembering Linux exists. I don’t like to sideline other OSS operating systems like the BSDs, but in this case, Linux is the only real alternative for the average user to getting stuck with either Microsoft’s bullshit or Apple’s. The only major problem left is a lack of hardware compatibility by default on many computers, and that’s mainly due to hardware manufacturers (and those who make the drivers for that hardware, more specifically) being a load of money-grubbing bastards and not licensing their code fairly. I love your blog and you make a lot of valid points, but please stop pretending (not deliberately, I know) that Microsoft and Apple are the only viable sources of an operating system. You and any other reasonably tech-savvy person would almost definitely be more comfortable on Linux, and that will be true for the average user as well soon enough.

  3. Luis
    February 13th, 2008 at 09:50 | #3

    Eric: Linux will be better for the average user soon enough? Hadn’t heard that. When? And why? What’s in the pipeline?

  4. Eric
    February 13th, 2008 at 15:20 | #4

    Luis: The Ubuntu project, along with others like openSuSE, have been making giant strides recently in terms of accessibility. Ubuntu 7.10, in particular, works perfectly out of the box on the majority of rigs (laptops are a lot more iffy than desktops in general, etc., but I’m generalizing anyway). I have an “average user” family and many average user friends, and several from each group have switched to Ubuntu – distributed well across the OSes, as well. Some from OS X, some from XP, some from Vista. They have without exception admitted that apart from default configuration issues Linux is superior, and about half of them had no problems whatsoever with the default configuration either. In other words, my claim is based on the facts that as far as I can tell Linux is already better for the average user once set up, and the set-up process is improving by leaps and bounds.

    The main problem, of course, is that many people will continue using their current operating system (or other software) simply because they are used to it. This is biting Linux a lot more than Mac, mostly because common opinions of Linux are still dated ~1997 when it really was an exotic programmer-only environment.

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