Windows 7 passes Mac OS X in market share race

Weekend numbers for new OS bigger than for all versions of Mac OS X, says Net Applications

Windows 7 passed the 5% market share milestone last weekend, which put it, if only temporarily, above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a Web measurement firm said today.

Last Saturday and Sunday, Windows 7 powered an estimated 5% and 5.14% of all computers that were online those days, according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications. The two-day average of 5.07% was higher than the 5% of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of Nov. 15-21.

"It's safe to say that Windows 7's daily share did peak above Mac's weekly share," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president at Net Applications, in an e-mail today. Vizzaccaro said his company had not yet compiled daily averages for Mac OS X, something that would be necessary to compare Windows 7's weekend numbers with the same dates for the Mac.

When Windows 7's Nov. 15-21 average was matched against Mac OS X, however, for an apples-to-apples comparison, Microsoft's 4.15% lagged behind Apple's 5%.

But Vizzaccaro was confident that Windows 7 would soon pass Mac OS X for good, and not just during a short stretch. "Certainly, the trend line shows Windows 7 will surpass Mac share soon," he predicted.

In fact, Windows' overall market share of 92.64% for the week of Nov. 15-21 was slightly higher than the OS's October share of 92.52%. "We may be seeing an uptick in overall Windows share this month," Vizzaccaro confirmed. "This isn't too rare, but if we see three or four months in a row of Windows regaining market share, that would be a significant trend change."

The last time that Windows showed any appreciable increase in share was June 2009, when it gained 0.21%. Windows' biggest increase in the last two years was in March 2008, when it jumped 0.28%.

By Net Applications' account, Windows 7's share has been steadily growing since its Oct 22 debut. The first week after its launch, the new operating system accounted for 2.7% of all operating systems used worldwide; it climbed to 3.3% in the second week, to 3.7% in the third and to 4% during the fourth week post-debut.

With a week left in November, Windows 7 currently sports a 3.9% monthly average. At its current pace, it will reach 4% for the month, which means Microsoft's newest OS will have easily beaten Vista's first four months of market share gains.

Several Microsoft executives have bragged about Windows 7 sales, most recently CEO Steve Ballmer.

Last week, Ballmer told shareholders that Windows 7 had sold twice the number of copies as any other Microsoft operating system in the same time span. Like others who have talked about Windows 7 sales, however, Ballmer declined to spell out sales or revenue figures.

FREE Computerworld Insider Guide: IT Certification Study Tips
Editors' Picks
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies