Mac market share breaks 8% mark in 2007's final days

'Phenomenal' post-Christmas surge puts OS X within shouting distance of Vista

Mac's market share reached 8% during the last two days of 2007, a record mark that a Web measurement company yesterday called "phenomenal."

For December as a whole, Apple Inc.'s machines accounted for 7.3% of all systems that browsed the 40,000 sites monitored by Net Applications Inc., up significantly from 6.8% during November. At the beginning of 2007, Net Applications pegged Mac OS X's share at 5.7%, putting the one-year growth rate at about 28%.

But it was the post-Christmas surge that really put the Mac on the market share map. "The really good news for Apple came at the end of the month," said Net Applications in a write-up on its Web site, which noted that during Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, Mac OS X-powered machines accounted for 8.01% of those monitored online. "This represents a phenomenal increase of 18% from November for the Mac."

Microsoft Corp.'s Windows still loomed large on the operating system landscape during December. But its market share of 91.8% was down from November's 92.4%. Since 2007's start, Windows has lost slightly more than 2% market share, reported Net Applications.

Among the flavors of Windows that Net Applications tracks, the six-year-old Windows XP remains king, accounting for 76% of the market. Windows Vista, however, cracked the 1-in-10 barrier for the first time in December, ending the year with 10.5% of the market.

Meanwhile, Apple's browser more than paced the growth of Mac OS X. Safari's share stood at 5.6% in December, up 32% from the 4.3% at the beginning of 2007, said Net Applications.

Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox, which is available in versions for Mac OS X as well as Windows and Linux, accounted for a record 16.8% of all browsers tracked last month, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer's share slipped to 76% from November's 77.4%. IE has lost nearly 4% market share since the start of 2007, with the overwhelming portion of that being snapped up by Firefox and Safari.

Net Applications' operating system trend data can be viewed on its Web site.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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