Microsoft Windows 7 overtakes Mac OS X market share

Microsoft Windows 7 passed the 5 percent market share milestone last weekend, which put it temporarily above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a web measurement firm said.

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Microsoft Windows 7 passed the 5 percent market share milestone last weekend, which put it temporarily above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a web measurement firm said.

Last Saturday and Sunday, Windows 7 powered an estimated 5 percent and 5.14 percent of all computers that were online those days, Net Applications said. The two-day average of 5.07 percent was higher than the 5 percent of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of November 15-21.

"It's safe to say that Windows 7's daily share did peak above Mac's weekly share," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president at Net Applications. Vizzaccaro said his company had not yet compiled daily averages for Mac OS X, something that would be necessary to compare Windows 7's weekend numbers with the same dates for the Mac.

When Windows 7's November 15-21 average was matched against Mac OS X, however, for an apples-to-apples comparison, Microsoft's 4.15 percent lagged behind Apple's 5 percent.

But Vizzaccaro was confident that Windows 7 would soon pass Mac OS X for good, and not just during a short stretch. "Certainly, the trend line shows Windows 7 will surpass Mac share soon," he predicted.

In fact, Windows' overall market share of 92.64 percent for the week of November 15-21 was slightly higher than the OS's October share of 92.52 percent.

"We may be seeing an uptick in overall Windows share this month," Vizzaccaro confirmed. "This isn't too rare, but if we see three or four months in a row of Windows regaining market share, that would be a significant trend change."

The last time that Windows showed any appreciable increase in share was June 2009, when it gained 0.21 percent. Windows' biggest increase in the last two years was in March 2008, when it jumped 0.28 percent.

By Net Applications' calculations, Windows 7's share has been steadily growing since its October 22 debut. The first week after its launch, the new operating system accounted for 2.7 percent of all operating systems used worldwide; it climbed to 3.3 percent in the second week, to 3.7 percent in the third and to 4 percent during the fourth week post-debut.

With a week left in November, Windows 7 currently sports a 3.9 percent monthly average. At its current pace, it will reach 4 percent for the month, which means Microsoft's newest OS will have easily beaten Vista's first four months of market share gains.

Several Microsoft executives have spoken on Windows 7 sales, most recently CEO Steve Ballmer. Last week, Ballmer told shareholders that Windows 7 had sold twice the number of copies as any other Microsoft operating system in the same time span. Like others who have talked about Windows 7 sales, however, Ballmer declined to spell out sales or revenue figures.

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