Mac OS global market share shows promise

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WebSideStory, a provider of outsourced e-business intelligence services, is reporting that the global market share for the Mac operating system has remained at less than 3 percent since January 1999. As of Jan. 2, 2002, it was 2.32 percent, compared to Microsoft's 96.28 percent as of the same date, according to WebSideStory's StatMarket, a source for data on global Internet user trends. Usage share is the percentage of Internet surfers that are using a particular operating system. Not all the news is bad, however.

Although Apple has failed to capture the global market share that would allow it to compete with Microsoft on the Web, it has managed to create significant, loyal followings in some countries, according to Geoff Johnston, VP of product marketing for StatMarket. For instance, Apple's usage share in Switzerland as of Jan. 2 was more than 6 percent, almost three times the global average. And in Japan, Mac has fluctuated between 6 and 7 percent since March 2001.

"Although Apple is a distant second in the race overall, in some regions and industries it is too prominent to be ignored by companies developing Web applications," Johnston said. "In others, dropping support could actually be the best choice."

StatMarket publishes information gathered from over 80 million Internet users a day to more than 125,000 sites worldwide using WebSideStory's HitBox Enterprise and other HitBox e-business intelligence services. The service segments information from visitors in 245 countries, and 120 industry categories.

Somewhat contrarily, Time Canada says that recent data suggests that Apple operating systems accounted for only 3.6 percent of new license revenue in 2000, which seems a little strange since that was a good year for Apple financially. Worse, IDC projects that they will amount to even less in 2001 while Microsoft's share of Windows licenses has increased during the same period.

However, there is optimism that Mac OS X will help capture more of the market share for Apple. Unix and Java developers and users are apparently coming to the platform, due to Mac OS X's Unix base and strong Java support. This -- and the influx of new applications it will bring -- may also lure Unix and Java customers to the Mac platform.

And, of course, Apple is hoping that Mac OS X and innovative products -- such as the new iMac -- will attract new users, as well as convert Windows users. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs put it, the company plans to innovate its way to success.

This story, "Mac OS global market share shows promise" was originally published by PCWorld.

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