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 per cent 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 per cent and 5.14 per cent of all computers that were online those days, according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications. The two-day average of 5.07 per cent was higher than the 5 per cent of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of November 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 per cent lagged behind Apple's 5 per cent.

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 per cent for the week of Nov. 15-21 was slightly higher than the OS's October share of 92.52 per cent. "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 per cent. Windows' biggest increase in the last two years was in March 2008, when it jumped 0.28 per cent.

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 per cent of all operating systems used worldwide; it climbed to 3.3 per cent in the second week, to 3.7 per cent in the third and to 4 per cent during the fourth week post-debut.

With a week left in November, Windows 7 currently sports a 3.9 per cent monthly average. At its current pace, it will reach 4 per cent 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.

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