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Gartner: Windows, OS X gained share by revenue in 2010

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Sat April 30, 2011

Gartner breaks down 2010 desktop OS share by cash

A unique breakdown of the OS market by revenue share published by Gartner on Wednesday has revealed moves up in revenue market share by Apple, Microsoft, and some Linux developers last year. Windows as expected stayed on top and gained share by its cash intake, up almost nine points to 78.6 percent and $23.85 billion dollars' worth of sales. Apple only moved up a tenth of a point to 1.7 percent total share, but the growth had it moving twice as quickly and jumping 15.8 percent to $520 million.

The remainder of the top six was dominated by Linux- or Unix-based platforms that had relatively little traction. With the exception of Red Hat, whose corporate Linux grew exactly 18 percent to hit two percent of the market by revenue, IBM, HP, and unnamed minor distributions were all down. Oracle catapulted into fourth place at 2.6 percent but got there solely through its buyout of Sun in 2009 and the resulting impact on 2010.

Microsoft and Apple were succeeding for different reasons, according to Gartner. Windows 7 benefitted mostly from a long overdue upgrade cycle as the recession wound down and the ramping down of Windows XP forcing companies to upgrade. Apple had managed to create a "'cool' client computing" platform out of Mac OS X that triggered loyalty. The halo effect from the iPad and iPhone was also playing into the results.

Few expectations were set for 2011, but the analyst group expected Apple to keep getting Mac sales from curious iOS device buyers. Unix stood to lose the most as older platforms were being phased out and pushing businesses to move, usually to Linux.

Revenue share isn't the same as unit market share, where Apple is believed to have closer to four to five percent of world share. Linux and Unix also don't necessarily measure easily since the pricing model isn't necessarily the same one-time, flat system as for Windows or the Mac.

by MacNN Staff



  1. gprovida

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I struggle with this

    It sounds like revenue from OS software sale. The numbers suggest a very steep discount for the OS that is $29 for Snow Leopard and a lot more for Windows 7. Also not sure what it means? How much is iOS or Android worth? Given the business models diff why not include Xbox and Playstation OS? In many ways this is an accounting game based on how companies charge, recover investments, and bill profits.

  1. Paradise Pete

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Revenue Calculation

    Considering that in 2010 Apple sold somewhere between 60 and 70 Billion dollars of devices running an Apple OS, 520 million seems to be a bit of an understatement. That would value the OS at less than 1% of the value of the device itself, which of course is just silly.

    If Windows were less than 1% of the devices it ran on that would equate to more than 2.4 trillion in sales.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Revenue calculation

    You can't count iOS as it isn't for sale to anyone. So it, by itself, generates no revenue. And they are looking at OSes for computers, not handheld devices (otherwise, you'd also have to start throwing RIM, Google, and who knows who else into the pot).

    Even then, who knows how OS X revenue is calculated, since it is generally believed to be deeply discounted and paid partly by hardware revenues. (Thus how they can charge just $29 for Snow Leopard when it was a major update).

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