Is Apple Losing OS Share?

by methodshop

Apple is riding high lately. Their transition to the Intel chip has been smooth and the popularity of both iTunes and the iPod has been translating into computer sales.

But according to the Net Applications newsletter I got in my inbox yesterday, the apocalypse is about strike at Apple. What are the signs of the Apple apocalypse? They cite accounting irregularities (Wall Street didn’t care), the mass recall of notebook batteries (it was Sony’s fault), and a 0.02% drop in OS usage. Yep, just a little 0.02% drop.

Here’s a passage from their newsletter:

“Mac Intel OS usage is growing quickly, and currently has 0.62 percent usage market share, but overall Mac OS usage is slightly down.. Back in December 2005 total Mac OS usage market share was 4.35 percent, but August 2006 numbers show total Mac OS market share down to 4.33 percent.”

So how did Net Applications measure this 0.02% drop? They have an expensive web traffic analyzing service for webmasters called HitsLink. I used to use HitsLink for but have since switched to a less expensive service with more features. Hummm… could I be the source of the 0.02% drop? Because of all the iPod related articles on our website we tend to have a higher Mac user base. Maybe the 0.02% drop could be attributed to people going on vacation and not using their computer that month. Or what about the wave of blackouts in America this summer. Yes I’m being sarcastic, but can you blame me? It’s only a 0.02% drop.

Besides the fact that Net Applications is all jacked up over a 0.02% drop, can you really match up marketshare (computer sales) with visitor statistics solely based on HitsLink subscribers? No. Web usage by only HitsLink subscribers is just a small random sampling and has nothing to do with overall market share. Maybe Net Applications should offer to share their data with some other web traffic analyzing services before they declare the next 0.02% apocalypse.

Also, how credible is Net Applications? In the same September 18th newsletter they mistakenly reported that “iPod sales peaked at over 12 million units for the 4th quarter of 2005, but have stumbled to 8.5 million and 8.1 million units the most recent two quarters…” 12 million is close, but wrong. In Q1 of 2006 Apple sold over 14 million iPods.

One last thing. The newsletter also reports that 1% of web users are still using Windows ME. Those crazy backwards bastards. God bless ‘em.

digg story | methodshop

12 reviews or comments

Jp Says: September 19, 2006 at 2:50 pm

What a load of feces. I’m a consultant and see Windows users buying Macs like crazy nowadays. At least 50% of my business is Windows users switching to Macintosh.

This is bogus just like the supposed virsuses and WiFi crack. Another feeble attempt at attacking Apple while they’re kicking ass and taking names…

Peter Smith Says: September 19, 2006 at 4:10 pm

As a slashdot person points out, and which I have verified: they are treating ‘mac os’ and ‘mac intel’ seperately. Mac intel is .6%, so the number is actually UP not DOWN

ok Says: September 19, 2006 at 5:22 pm

“Another feeble attempt at attacking Apple while they’re kicking ass and taking names…”

Apple people are allways so angry good news is right bad news is “feces”

Mark Says: September 19, 2006 at 5:34 pm

My non computer related blog tracks between 11-14% Mac OS traffic, according to Site Meter. Where did this 4% figure come from??

dougg Says: September 19, 2006 at 7:45 pm

How about the fact that many Mac users have Safari set to display a fake user agent? In my case (as I’m sure it would be for many otherS) I’ve got Safari set to pretend to be ‘Windows MSIE 6′ in order to be allowed to visit sites that claim not to work with other browsers (though they often do) and lock them out. Are Net Applications able to work around this or is it skewing their numbers?

Dave Says: September 19, 2006 at 8:05 pm

This just doesn’t map to my experience. I have had several friends who have switched to Macs in the past few months. And I’ve gotta report that many more are suddenly asking me for buying advice on Apple equipment. Rather than being the black sheep, I am suddenly the expert when it comes to Apple.

As they say, statistics don’t lie, but liers sure use statistics. I wonder what’s really behind those numbers? Perhaps someone with a check to cash?

Wes Says: September 19, 2006 at 8:46 pm

Actually, the difference between 4.33 and 4.35 is about 1/2 of a percent, so (assuming it isn’t statistical noise) it actually 0.5% decrease in its marketshare. Like if Windows fell from 80% to 40%, you’d say they suffered a 50% decrease, or their marketshare was halved.

Sir Josmould Herringpole Says: September 20, 2006 at 12:04 am

Suppose you used BootCamp or Parallels to browse? OK, you’d be a bit barking to do that but you might have just switched and think you require the ‘comfort’ blanket of a Windows environment. It may account for some of the figures.

Craig Says: September 20, 2006 at 8:13 am

Agreed re: Parallels/Bootcamp. Apple hardware now runs OSX and Windows operating systems. Only sales figures will give an accurate account of share at this point.

Jason Says: September 20, 2006 at 10:15 am

The article also stated that there were “accounting regularities” which I found amusing.

dan Says: September 20, 2006 at 9:59 pm

hmm. i wonder how many phone home sites run net apps software. maybe the user share is really 50/50, but the pcs tend to visit more often whether they like it or not..

dk Says: October 26, 2006 at 2:07 pm


“Gartner has released preliminary market share numbers for 3Q 2006 (calendar, Apple’s financial 4Q) which show Apple seeing substantial industry growth at 1.5%. Apple now ships 6.1% of all U.S. “PCs”, 4th in the industry behind Gateway (6.4%), HP (23%), and Dell (32.1%). Apple did not place in the top-5 in worldwide PC shipments, so that data was not available.”

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