Mac users four times more engaged than Windows users

Mac users are almost four times more likely to upgrade to the latest edition of their OS in comparison with Windows users, with nearly a quarter of the most engaged users of both platforms now using OS X Mavericks.

Mac users four times more engaged than Windows users

Fun with statistics

Computerworld yesterday attempted to estimate how many PCs now run Windows 8, which it declared to be in the range of 169.28 million and 184.09 million units.

The same report also claimed Mac OS X now runs on between 122.88 million and 133.63 million computers, though this figure includes systems running all versions of the OS, which doesn't seem a fair comparison.

If we run fresh calculations based on the same assumptions as used in the Computerworld report (a combination of various analyst estimates as to the installed base of all PCs and NetApplications desktop market share figures), it suggests OS X Mavericks now runs on between 52.8 million and 57.4 million systems.

This means that in a comparison between the desktop share of the most modern Windows and Mac systems, Apple's Mavericks accounts for 23.7 percent of all PCs used to access the Internet.

This doesn't mean Apple accounts for 23.7 percent of all Internet usage -- that figure is far lower, but if we discount older systems used to go online, we can estimate the most active user base on both platforms. For the purposes of this, we define the most active user base as comprising those who are sufficiently engaged in their platforms to run the latest edition of the OS.

So why is this figure of any consequence? Put simply it illustrates just how deeply Microsoft has lost leadership to Apple.

It works like this:

  • NetApplications claims 29.23 percent of systems online run Windows XP, 47.49 percent run Windows 7 and 3.2 percent run Vista . Just 10.58 run Windows 8.
  • This means Microsoft has convinced just 11.6 percent of Windows users who acquired their system since 2001 and still actively use it to go online to migrate to the current edition of its operating system.
  • In comparison, Apple: OS X (no version), 0.01 percent; 10.4, 0.07 percent, 10.5, 0.29 percent, 10.6, 1.44 percent, 10.7, 1.19 percent, 10.8, 1.48 percent, 10.9, 3.2 percent.
  • This means Apple's convinced 41.6 percent of Mac users who acquired their system since 2001 and still actively use them online to adopt the current edition of the OS.

These figures don't mean Apple dominates the desktop -- it doesn't. They do simply suggest:

  • The segment of the PC market we can define as sufficiently engaged with their platforms to use the latest OS upgrades on their systems numbers between 222.08 million and 241.49 million people (on Mac and PC).
  • Microsoft has three times as many extremely engaged users as Apple, because Mavericks users account for 23.7 percent of online use among those on the most current platform OS in contrast with Windows 8's 76.3 percent.
  • Apple's PC business is built on the loyalty of c.23.7 percent of the most active computer users, who will install the latest OS upgrades and, conceivably, at least think about purchasing the latest kit.
  • Microsoft and its hardware partners base their business on what's left -- but recent market share decline means many of those partners can no longer maintain a viable PC business in competition with others from within that ecosystem, while the mobile devices trend means PC sales overall are in decline (including Apple's).

Apple users are more engaged in their platform -- they are almost four times more likely to upgrade to the latest OS.

This advantage surely contributes to Apple's leadership position in mobile devices.

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