According to Net Applications research data, Mac OS X market share is inching its way to 10% of all computing platforms, currently at 9.93%. The Net Applications data comes by tracking the OS through web browser activity, so it’s not a direct measurements of computers. But it’s on-target with other market surveys.
What’s driving the trend? Could it be iPhone owners dabbling in full-fledged Macs? Perhaps. But what about the business audience; could swaths of PC-only outfits finally be moving to mixed-platform environments? With so many business tools running as platform-agnostic web services, Macs are nearly fully compatible out-of-the box.
Sure, there are some misses. Microsoft‘s OS X mail program, Entourage lacks the complete Exchange Server support and abilities of Outlook. And Exchange support is weak in Apple’s Mail application. But the transition is in progress; the next version of OS X will include ActiveSync. And most features from the other Microsoft Office apps are included or less critical.
Apple’s hardware design usually impresses, from laptop and desktop cases to multi-core, Intel processors. If you absolutely have to run a Windows-only app for work, you could reboot a Mac into a Microsoft OS and not tell the difference from a “real” PC. Or just run it in a virtual machine within OS X.
Companies will keep moving to web services, and with that transition, Mac OS X’s business market share could continue to grow. I doubt it’ll reach substantially further into this Windows-dominated world. But as businesses are using cross-platform tools, companies are also letting employees pick their favorite OS. And each individual switch gradually boosts Apple’s market share.