Apple CEO's astonishingly misleading claims about Windows 8 at WWDC

Apple CEO Tim Cook zinged Windows 8 multiple times at his WWDC speech, much to the delight of the Apple faithful. But if you take a closer look at his claims, you'll find that they're astonishingly misleading. In fact, Windows 8 is cleaning Mavericks' clock.

To show OS X's superiority to Windows 8, Cook said that its adoption rate was far greater than Windows 8's, and had this to say:

"This is the fastest adoption ever of any PC operating system in history...Now, you may wonder how that compares to Windows. I knew somebody was going to ask, so I made a chart."

He said that OSX Mavericks adoption was at 51%, and then talking about the chart said about Windows 8:

"It's at 14%. Need I say more?"

The Apple faithful laughed and applauded on cue -- they're an easy crowd to please. But they wouldn't have been so pleased if they really looked at the numbers. Cook's claim that Mavericks "is the fastest adoption ever of any PC operating system in history" is simply wrong, and by a long shot.

Percent adoption isn't the point; total number of people adopting an operating system is the point. It's easy, after all, to have a high adoption rate if you start with low numbers. And if you look at the total number of machines running Windows 8 versus those running Mavericks, it's not even close. Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports:

"While Mavericks may have won the in-house adoption skirmish and been installed on 40 million Macs, the number was less than one-fifth of the estimated 220 million-plus systems now running Windows 8 or 8.1."

It's true that Windows 8 was released a year before Mavericks. But Windows 8 still squashes Mavericks, because it's running on more than five times the number of systems than is Mavericks. And keep in mind that Mavericks is free, and Windows 8 isn't. When you compare the free Windows 8.1 upgrade to Mavericks, the percent adoption rate is the same. As Gregg Keizer points out, if you look at the rate of those who upgraded for free from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 to the rate of those who upgraded to Mavericks for free during the same time period they're equal, with Windows 8.1 share of all Windows 8 PCs now a little more than 50%.

Most of the time, it's the also-ran who throws brickbats, not the leader. And that's true in this case. The latest figures from Net Applications shows Windows with 90.87% market share to Mac OS X's 4.15%. Microsoft will take that every time.

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