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Report: OS X surpasses Windows Vista in usage stats

updated 10:20 am EDT, Mon September 3, 2012

Windows 7 finally overtakes Windows XP in usage

Two milestones can be found in the latest monthly data from Net Applications, heralding good news for both Apple and Microsoft. The combined active base of OS X use surpassed that of Windows Vista for the first time, and Windows 7 became the first Windows version to top the marketshare of the perennial Windows XP, nearly three years after its release and just before it is due to be replaced with Windows 8.

The data from Net Applications confirms our report that the six-week-old OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is seeing rapid adoption, up to 1.34 percent of all web usage based on Net Applications' stats. OS X overall (counting 10.4 Tiger on up) has a collective share of 6.15 percent, indicating that Mountain Lion is approaching 20 percent user base adoption. OS X Lion makes up the largest individual version share at 2.29 percent, Snow Leopard has 2.23 percent and Leopard (10.5) has 0.65 percent. Tiger, launched in 2005, maintained a showing of 0.15 percent.

The combined share of OS X was enough to push it ahead of Windows Vista, the next-most recent version of Windows, which has fallen to 6.15 percent. While never very well-regarded, Windows Vista was the de facto upgrade and default OS for approximately three years, from late 2006 until late 2009. It eventually was shipped or deployed on some 400 million PCs worldwide, but never managed to dislodge Windows XP from the top slot. Windows XP had been generally praised and was available as the default OS for a much longer period (over five years), creating a large and fairly loyal audience that was resistant to change, particularly given that Vista was encumbered with numerous bugs, changes that downgraded the user experience and other problems.

In this month's statistics, Windows 7 -- intended to combine the advancements in Vista with a more logical update from Windows XP -- has surpassed XP for the first time by the slimmest of percentages, 38.54 percent versus 38.46 percent. Windows 8 is already in testing by 0.21 percent of PC users, suggesting that Microsoft may be able to build on the more-positive momentum of Windows 7 with its next release if the final version of Windows 8 proves stable and popular.

The four versions of Windows combined still held a dominant share of net-using computers at 83.36 percent overall, with Apple's two operating systems -- OS X and iOS -- taking the lion's share of the difference, at a combined 12.3 percent, leaving just 4.33 percent to fall to all other mobile and desktop OSes.

Among mobile operating systems, Apple far and away dominated the statistics with 5.95 percent of worldwide web share. Android's combined share added up to 1.71 percent (with v2.3 still having the largest portion at 1.02 percent, the latest 4.x versions at 0.48 percent and the older Android 2.2 at 0.21 percent), while BlackBerry was listed at 0.18 percent. Amazon's Kindle Fire took 0.04 percent, the smallest share broken out by name by Net Applications.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    So, we are supposed to think that it's significant that every version of OS X combined beat out a single version of Windows?

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Well, it may not be earth-shattering, but exact percentages on the various versions of OS use is very handy. I was surprised to see that the combined Apple share is now 12.3 percent, that's a huge change from five years ago.

    I think the real story here is that Android is far less of a factor (unless you're going to try and convince me that droid users don't both with the internet access) than the market and hype would have you believe. A COMBINED share of 1.71 percent puts iOS at approximately 3.5x more popular, at least among users who, you know, USE their devices for more than a PS Vita substitute. And so much for the myth of the Kindle as an iPad challenger.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-05-11

    Great comparison!
    What will OSX be compared to???
    Windows 3.1?
    Windows Millennium?
    No wait, Isay do a comparison with Windows 8 and it's funky tiles!
    Bet there are more users on Win ME than 8 ever gets!

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-26-10

    And yet those are saying Apple is the new Microsoft. MS has 91.77% of the desktop marketshare, compared to 7.15% for OSX. For mobile/tablet, iOS only has 66% while Android has 21%. Until Apple has 91.77% of the mobile marketshare and Android dips down to 7.15%, I don't really see the comparison.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-03-09

    Originally Posted by FoxypacoView Post

    I don't really see the comparison.

    I think the comparison is meant to mirror the predatory business practices of today's Apple as Microsoft was two decades ago. Apple is using vague general patents (some that perhaps should not have been granted) and the courtroom to eliminate competition. It's not about install base. Hence Apple is the new Microsoft.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Ah, of course.

  1. MacScientist

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-14-00

    Originally Posted by wrenchyView Post

    I think the comparison is meant to mirror the predatory business practices of today's Apple as Microsoft was two decades ago. Apple is using vague general patents (some that perhaps should not have been granted) and the courtroom to eliminate competition. It's not about install base. Hence Apple is the new Microsoft.

    Actually, the patents are very specific. That is the nature of patents. Apple didn't go to court to eliminate competition, it went to court to eliminate copying. The only thing that the two have in common is that they both begin with "C." Microsoft did not lose in court because it had marketshare. Microsoft was proven to be using its monopoly power to force its customers to buy its products and to drive competing products out of the market. When you can show that Motorola or HP relies on iOS and that no other mobile phone OS can compete against illegally leveraged Apple monopoly power, then you may have a point. Until then, you are just pulling stuff from your rear.

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