Mac Market Share: 7.8%



Even though I don’t believe it, it is an encouraging data point for those of us who are not Windows fans:

Apple’s (AAPL) share of the operating system market grew 5.69% in May to hit a record 7.80%, while Windows in all its flavors dropped half a point to 91.17%. That’s a record low for Microsoft (MSFT), which nonetheless still runs on 9 out of 10 computers on the Internet, as Net Applications measures it (more on its methodology below).



Mac hits record 7.8% market share in Net Applications survey
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Apple 2.0, June 1, 2008, 6:33 am

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  1. ottnott commented on Jun 2

    I believe that Macs have always had a larger share when measured by internet browsing than when measured by unit sales.

    To put it in stereotypical terms, Dells in cubicles spend less time on the net than do Macs in dorm rooms.

  2. ReductiMat commented on Jun 2

    Everyone knows that the ball pean hammer is the best hammer and that anyone who thinks otherwise is mentally defecient.

  3. tim commented on Jun 2


    Have you been in an office recently? Unless you are at a call desk – those Dells are on the net every moment that the user is at their desk.

  4. Sir William commented on Jun 2

    Remember that to get that growth against the already huge installed base of Windows machines, Apple must be seeing a much larger share of *new* consumer sales – perhaps as hight as %20. I agree that busines computers spend less time on the web (except [cough] in my case)

  5. off topic commented on Jun 2

    Apologies for the off-topic post….but for a real-time microcosm of the non-existent-per-pundits credit crunch, check out the loan origination activity on

    Additional interesting info includes default rates, etc.

    Perhaps good news if you’re short COF and the consumer finance names?

  6. Donny commented on Jun 2

    I only know of ONE reason why anyone would chose a PC over a Mac for personal use … MONEY.

    As for me, I went to Mac a year and half ago, and I can’t imagine moving back.

  7. Bob commented on Jun 2

    Some more numbers to chew on…

    Consider this: Apple’s retail market share is 14 percent, and two-thirds for PCs costing $1,000 or more.

    Should I repeat those numbers? The share data is for first-quarter brick-and-mortar stores, as tabulated by the NPD Group. Apple’s market share is but one measure of success. Sales growth is way up, while Windows desktop PC sales are way down.

    “In notebooks they’re growing two times the market,” said Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis. “Windows notebooks are pretty much flat right now.”

    For the first quarter, Windows notebooks had “zero percent” growth year over year, Stephen said. By comparison, Apple notebooks had “50 to 60 percent growth.”

    On the desktop, “They’re up 45 percent,” he continued. “The [overall] market is down 20 percent. Windows desktops would be down 25 percent.” The figures are also for first quarter.

    I spoke with Stephen earlier this afternoon. He remarked: “iMacs are growing and the Windows desktop ain’t. No matter how you look at it, Apple is outperforming Windows.”

    A statement like that raises the question: Is Windows Vista the problem? The operating system has met with a cool reception, even with Microsoft claiming 140 million licenses have been shipped.

    “I don’t believe that Vista’s to blame,” Stephen responded. “The vast majority of consumers don’t care [about the installed operating system].”

    Chart of retail share

    Apple’s market share in what NPD calls the “premium” category, or laptop and desktop PCs selling for $1,000 or more, is nothing short of phenomenal: 66 percent. That’s right, two-thirds.

    With the exception of the Mac Mini, all Apple computers sell for more than $1,000. “If you don’t give people a choice, people will spend more,” Stephen said.

    Apple’s success above $1,000 defies some of the conventional retail thinking about PCs, where the emphasis is on lower pricing and greater features. “Consumers don’t care about features,” Stephen asserted. “People see a value proposition in an offering that gives them a great experience.”

    Stephen said Apple appeals to the right segments, like multiple-computer households. Consumers that are buying a second, third or even fourth PC have different buying priorities, such as ease of use.

    But the retail stores make a huge difference. “Apple has got better distribution than it’s had in the last 15 years,” Stephen explained. “They’re in the right spot right now. There’s the iPod advantage. But the big thing is the stores.”

    Apple’s retail stores aren’t just places to buy Mac products. They’re part of a larger end-to-end value chain—and with it the promise of a certain kind of experience.

    “What Apple drives home: This is a product that we own from factory to finger,” Stephen explained. “We exert some control so that you get the best experience. When you get in the store, we get you what you want.”

    Apple’s factory-to-finger approach works for its own retail operations, but what about what Stephen called its “non-captive channels,” such as Best Buy? That’s where Apple has to compete with many other products. “They’ve already won when somebody comes into the Apple Store,” Stephen said. “How does it play in places where they’re not the only answer? How big a handicap is Windows?”

    Stephen didn’t have an answer, but it’s not difficult to guess: not nearly as well in third-party retail shops as through the Apple Store.

    Given Apple’s end-to-end success—from product conception to production to sale to service—I asked Stephen if Microsoft should open its own company stores, even if only a few flagship ones like Nokia.

    “Yes,” he said emphatically. “In a multi-hannel enviroment you should have some kind of owned–and operated–channel as well.” He cited a couple examples. One of them: “When you look at Coach they have their own showcase stores as well.”

  8. Jonathan commented on Jun 2

    In the group I work in we don’t support Mac on any of our Registered Investment Advisor products, and it is hard to believe that 10% of clients in general run Macs, because I might get one call a quarter from an advisor asking if we support Mac. That’s much less than even 1%, much less 10%.

  9. Mike in NOLA commented on Jun 2

    I see we have a fanboy here :)

    Those stats are fairly sparse. If you click through. No info on how what exactly they were looking at.

    Don’t want to get into a religious war, but these companies serve two different markets and MS could never get away with what Apple does, e.g. can one imagine the outrage if MS started selling all it’s own hardware, did not allow anything other than what it approves to be plugged in and limited the product line to maybe a couple of dozen supported models with a few hundred hardware variations at any one time.

    Or sold it’s own cell phone and locked it down so that no unlicensed apps could be installed on it?

    On the flip side, Apple could never do what MS does: serve a bunch of very big businesses who want to know years before what’s coming down the pipe and that it will interface well with what they already have. They don’t want any KGB-like secrecy up until announcement day and they don’t want someone telling them they just have to throw the old stuff away because Steve has said so.

    One comment I heard on a podcast that I’m sure burns up the fanboys is that MS has the best engineers in the world: every day hundreds of millions of windows machines comprising millions of combinations of hardware and software boot up and do their jobs pretty well. If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing.

  10. Mike in NOLA commented on Jun 2

    BTW, while the guy who made that last statement I paraphrased writes about Windows, he doesn’t dislike Macs and even has some in his house. But he does joke about the “reality distortion field” surrounding Steve Jobs and gets plenty of hatemail. He also makes fun of M$.

    He also loves his iPhone (except that you get AT&T with it) and thinks Windows Mobile sucks big time. He thinks it’s revolutionary and hopes it will shake up the moribund US phone market.

    More of his comments on the iPhone are here:

    The podcast is very informative if you want to keep up with the latest. While it’s called Windows Weekly, he also talks about Macs more than many listeners would like.

  11. Bob commented on Jun 2

    Not a fanboy. But if throwing around labels makes you think your point of view is more valid, don’t let me stop you. ;)

    I write this on a Windows PC, and have three other Windows PCs (desktops and notebooks) in my house.

    However, one thing I do observe is that Apple seems to be riding the wave of digital media very well. I suspect that may be contributing to Apple’s marketshare increases.

    The other thing is that I don’t dismiss data because it conflicts with my view of the world. Yes, the NPD data were sparse, but there were some interesting bits therein. Also, keep in mind the article I cited describes brick and mortar retail sales.

  12. Marcus Aurelius commented on Jun 2

    Anyone having worked on both systems extensively (same applications), knows which is, by far, the better OS.

    Everyone else is just talkin’ shit.

  13. Bob A commented on Jun 2

    Not a Microsoft fan or a Windows lover, but Mac OS, with it’s Sesame Street graphics, makes me gag.

    And as far as I’m concerned it’s pure fantasy that it’s easier or even better.

    But no doubt lot’s of people love it. The Iphone is surely superior, for a little while longer anyhow, and they can surely continue to build market share on desktops.

  14. Drew commented on Jun 2

    Sorry… IT guy here. In business, the Macs are fine sometimes, the PC’s are fine other times. Generally, our creative people prefer the Mac’s, and our number crunchers prefer the PC’s.

    The only sad thing is that across both platforms you don’t get the same mix of software and business applications. Generally, the PC wins out as far as the variety of applications to choose from.

    Reliability is a mixed bag, each platform has it’s idiosyncracies. I support both, and just take them for what they are.

    BTW, when you crack open the cases, internally, they look almost identical! :)

  15. Ken H. commented on Jun 2

    I think Mike nailed it on the head. Steve has done an incredible job of creating a name and marketing to the young generation. My kids had to have I-pods. I have used both I-pods and Mp3 players and see the I-pod to be a pain in the ass(IMO). I wouldn’t use it but my kids won’t do without. To me it’s more of a perception, genius really, how Apple has created a niche. Knowing full well that if they were asked to do what Windows has done, the would inherently run into the same problems. It’s simple really, stay nimble and be able to give your big rival headaches.

    I have simple continued to use XP and simply turned off the updates. Works great.

    Though, at the end of the day, you know Gates looks at 91% share and asks Steve, “How you like those Apples!”

    Lastly, I don’t think protectionism helped Compaq or Gateway.

    I’ve had a couple so if this post sucks, sorry, but at least I didn’t drop any F-bombs.

  16. wally commented on Jun 2

    I like that stat, too… but I’m all Linux. No Mac, no MS.
    Well, at home. At the office I use what they provide.

  17. JMH commented on Jun 2

    I own an iMac and a couple of Windows systems running Vista. One thing about iMacs – everything about them is expensive and they are fragile. My Windows systems are a lot older than the iMac, and I rarely have a hardware problem. The iMac is already having problems with the DVD drive, and my relatives with iMacs seem to have them in repair far more frequently than their Windows systems.

    The Leopard launch wasn’t much better than the Vista launch, and OSX seems to require as many updates as XP. Given that Adobe’s Flash and PDF software are representative of a computing monoculture, there exists increasing vulnerability to attacks on all platforms. Social engineering and third party software vulnerabilities are of greater concern now than the underlying OS…

    If you want to buy a computer, figure out what you want to do with it most, then find software that does that best. Buy whatever platform runs the software.

  18. dwkunkel commented on Jun 2

    I’m all Linux at home, at work, and on my laptop.

  19. Mike in NOLA commented on Jun 2

    “However, one thing I do observe is that Apple seems to be riding the wave of digital media very well. I suspect that may be contributing to Apple’s marketshare increases.”

    True. I think the iPod put Apple back on the map. And it has continued to develop that area, e.g. the iTunes store is far ahead of everyone else.

    As a lawyer with a degree in math, I’m always suspicious of stats if I don’t know the details, e.g what sites, or funding. One oddity: lots of web enabled Windows phones out there, but no stats.

    The NPD guy’s last statement cost him all his credibility with me. Apple stores were and are a part of the business model. I know some fanboys/girls that love going to them for the borg-like experience. Sorry, couldn’t help it :)

    But I can’t imagine people going to see the latest from MS. It doesn’t have the same cachet. I hear the game machine is pretty good and they do make a very nice optical mouse (5 buttons!) But, the Zune is no threat to the iPod.

    What most people miss is that Windows desktop is really just a part of a very big business and that business is largely business-oriented, not glamourous stuff.

  20. Espumoso commented on Jun 2

    One data point. I develop and manage a website that sells dog and cat treats so there should be no inherent bias in our users.

    Windows 88.51%
    Macintosh 10.63%
    Linux 0.55%
    iPhone 0.14%

    IE/Win 74.09%
    FireFox/Win 13.86%
    Safari/Mac 6.89%
    Firefox/Mac 3.41%

  21. Mike in NOLA commented on Jun 2

    Not trying to be snarky, but I think your population contains a bias because of what it markets. That was my concern about the sampling in the original stats.

    Those who buy dog and cat treats from a website probably are not representative of the population as a whole. My guess is they would more approach a yuppie population.

    Now, if you sold something real macho and low class, e.g. chewing tobacco or NASCAR stuff, you probably wouldn’t see many Macs at all :)

  22. Jon H commented on Jun 2

    Jonathan wrote: “In the group I work in we don’t support Mac on any of our Registered Investment Advisor products, and it is hard to believe that 10% of clients in general run Macs”

    Today’s Intel-based Macs can run Windows in a VM, at native speed – it’s just like running Windows in a VM on Windows. So whether you “support Mac” is not really relevant nowadays.

    When I worked at Accenture, their in-house time & expense reporting app didn’t support Mac, but it ran fine in a VM.

    Bob A wrote:

    Not a Microsoft fan or a Windows lover, but Mac OS, with it’s Sesame Street graphics, makes me gag.

    And as far as I’m concerned it’s pure fantasy that it’s easier or even better.

    But no doubt lot’s of people love it. The Iphone is surely superior

    But… the iPhone runs OS X. So your statements are in conflict.

  23. Carmen commented on Jun 2

    Regarding the anecdotal comments by JMH, I just want to point out the Consumer Reports most recent survey that shows that Apple is the most reliable brand of desktop computers, by far. The reliability of the laptops is about the same among all major brands.

    Also keep in mind that Apple Intel machines can now run Windows, but really, I’d would not go into that extra burden unless I have to.

    (I’ve owned, and administered many Apple and Windows machines and use both. But for home use my Windows machine is powered off most of the time, and that’s a good thing).

  24. Rajesh Raut commented on Jun 2

    5% in one month is hard to swallow. Could this be related to the auto-download of Safari by iTunes? Does this represent a change in OS or just a change in browsers?

  25. Max Rockbin commented on Jun 2

    On my own website for apartment rentals in Portland, I’ve seen traffic go from 14.6% Mac in May 06 to 27% in May 08. A big jump (if not as fast as in the net applications survey. My audience is skewed pretty young (disproportionately 20s & 30s and relatively few over 50). I think most people do look from work on weekdays, but nearly 100% from home on weekends, of course.

  26. JK commented on Jun 3

    I just converted to Apple (well-equipped iMac) and I do like the operating system – however, there are pluses and minuses. What sold me was the aluminum and glass design. No ugly molded black plastic! The only PC that comes remotely close (although a little blingy) is the Sony one-piece desktop.

  27. asleep on the couch commented on Jun 3

    >> Steve has done an incredible job of creating a name and marketing to the young generation. My kids had to have I-pods.

    Not just “kids”. “Adults”, too.

    I bought my wife a generic mp3 player instead of an I-Pod. I explained how it’s cheaper but offers the same features.

    She got used to it. But, from her initial look of disappointment, you might’ve concluded I forgot our anniversary.

  28. jmcconnell commented on Jun 3

    The numbers are wrong.

    Unit sale = 8M, world PC unit sale = approx 280M, market share = less 3%. A bit better that last 2% but still just noise in the market.

    More importantly the MacOS ISV business has been dead for year. Apart from ports and upgrades there has been no meaningful shrinkwrap development on MacOS for almost a decade.

    Fifteen / twenty years ago that MacOS had a 20% plus software revenue market share in the US, now its less than 1%.

    The platform is dead except as a fashion accessory or a home for disillusioned Linux cranks.

  29. wisedup commented on Jun 3

    for JMC — forget shrink wrap
    I run a small business on 2 iMacs and use only
    no fees and all components work a treat — better compatibility with older ppt files than MS Office.
    The icing on the cake is the database component.
    Used to run FileMaker Pro but found that SQL was easy to program and scales well.

  30. jmcconnell commented on Jun 3


    Being using OpenOffice since it was StarOffice. Got the source code, fixed bugs..

    I’m a shrinwrap developer, DOS since ’83, MacOS since ’84, Win32 since 95. Apart from porting work the MacOS market has been dead for 10 year.

    Over the years developing for the MacOS has gone from being a joy to being absolutely god-awful. MacOS X is a bug ridden mess that makes Win95 look like brilliant engineering.

    Over the years the Mac has gone from a beautifully engineered well focused user-centered platform to a gaudy shambles that is little more than a light weight fashion accessory.

  31. Smokefoot commented on Jun 3

    Is this a new record? Back in the day (the first time the Mac was popular), I thought it had 10% of the market. That number slowly slipped downward over the years, and is now reversing.

  32. Jon H commented on Jun 3

    ” Apart from porting work the MacOS market has been dead for 10 year.”

    Then why has traffic on Apple’s development mailing lists been rising since OS X came out?

  33. Room_641A commented on Jun 3

    Macs are purchased by two typical classes of people…

    (1) Those seeking a more “sleek” box. In other words shallow minded yuppies who aren’t interested in the functionality/application the platform provides but rather a computing fashion statement.

    (2) Those people who need macs because the single platform apps it provides.

    As of late, and as is typical of all economic booms and the mis-allocation of capital consistent with those booms. Group 1 has been making a lot noise lately. Group 2 is the ever-present mac base(graphic artists, etc). Both of these groups are an endangered species thanks to the evolving economic correction and the push for cross platform apps and web apps.

  34. Steve_in_NC commented on Jun 3

    I found the wording of that paragraph odd:

    “That’s a record low for Microsoft (MSFT), which nonetheless still runs on 9 out of 10 computers on the Internet”

    Apparently stating that Microsoft had 91.17% of the market wasn’t clear enough, or Fortune didn’t think their readers would understand that 91.17% is about 9 out of every 10.

  35. lisa commented on Jun 3

    Ball pein hammers are the best. You sledge-hammer-tards are clueless fanboys.

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