Computerworld has an article that tells us Vista use has grown while Mac OS X has remained flat.
The majority of new PCs sold since the end of January have Vista on them, yet Computerworld seems genuinely excited that Vista’s browser use has increased rather rapidly:
“According to Net Applications, in June Windows Vista accounted for 4.52% of all systems that browsed the Web, up from January’s 0.18%. Vista has grown its usage share each month since its release to consumers Jan. 30, hitting 0.93% in February, 2.04% in March, 3.02% in April and 3.74% in May.”
In other news, the sun rises in the East. Who didn’t see this coming?
“If Vista’s uptake trend continues, it should pass Mac OS X in Web usage share by the end of August.”
Who doesn’t see this coming either? It’s meaningless. But let’s worry about that headline when it’s plastered on every tech journal in another month or so. For now, let’s focus on the Net Applications data itself…
Where is Vista’s share coming from? And how are Microsoft and Apple doing long-term in share growth? A review of the data shows that Vista is taking its share directly from Windows 2000 or XP and not affecting the Mac (the CW article acknowledges this as well). Further, the data shows that Microsoft is actually losing browser share.
To understand how, we’ll first see how Windows (2000, XP, and Vista) and Mac OS X (PPC and Intel) have done over time in this arena. Since Net Applications’ data goes back 12 months, we can examine their one-year change:
Combined Windows OS in July, 2006: 90.39%
Combined Windows OS in June, 2007: 90.46%
One-year growth: .001%
That’s flat. No growth despite the fact that Microsoft’s best OS shot was released six months ago. Best that can be said is that it appears no share was lost.
Combined Mac OS in July, 2006: 4.29%
Combined Mac OS in June, 2007: 6.00%
One-year growth: 40%
A 40% increase over 12 months. Pretty impressive growth. This bears out what sales stats have shown us for a while (but Apple haters continue to deny): The Mac is outstripping PC sales. Something seems funny, though. If the Mac grew while Windows stayed the same, at whose expense did the Mac get its share growth? Let’s look a bit deeper…
But wait, there’s more!
While the above would be good enough news for Apple (and unimpressive for Microsoft), there’s something even better. You need to look a little deeper in the data, where Microsoft would probably rather not go. Click on the data for July, 2006 and you’ll see additional detail that includes the following:
Windows 98: 2.68%
Windows ME: 1.26%
Windows NT: 0.79%
Windows 95: 0.05%
That’s another 4.78% for Microsoft, so they really had 95.17% a year ago. I wonder why they didn’t trumpet this fact? I think I can tell you why. Let’s examine the detail for June of this year:
Windows 98: 1.14%
Windows ME: 0.66%
Windows NT: 0.59%
Windows 95: 0.02%
Uh oh. That’s only another 2.41%, making Microsoft’s current total 92.87%. So Microsoft was not flat for the year, they lost 2.3 percentage points. Oops.
Where did Microsoft’s share go? Obviously, almost all of it went to the Mac (Linux gained a few tenths of a point). People are leaving the older Windows systems for the Mac, not for Microsoft’s latest and greatest. Good news for Apple.
Computerworld wanted to make this all about Vista, but that’s silly as long as its eating its own. I don’t know how much can be gathered from browser usage stats, but whatever you can glean about growth from these numbers certainly favors the Mac and does not bode well for Microsoft.