MARKET RESEARCH company Net Applications has reported that Microsoft is starting to lose its grip in terms of both operating system and web browser market shares.
Net Applications said that, as of December 1st, Windows market share dropped below the 90 per cent floor it's had for many years. It said Microsoft's Windows had 89.6 per cent of the OS market while Apple's Mac OS/X showed strong gains to reach 8.9 per cent market share, with Linux presumably making up most of the remaining 1.5 per cent market share.
While Apple has apparently added more converts in the last year, growing its user base by somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent, Linux has evidently grown faster, since it started 2008 with a much smaller user base. Depending upon whether one believes Linux started 2008 with 0.5 per cent or 1.0 per cent market share, its user base has grown by either 200 per cent or 50 per cent. Either way, those are explosive rates of growth in Linux adoption.
It would seem that Apple has been able to take good advantage of Microsoft's stumble with Vista and that Linux has also benefited from some of the user dissatisfaction with Windows.
The availability of Linux on inexpensive PCs and netbooks at Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other outlets seems to have helped it at the low-end of the PC market. Punters are learning that PCs don't always have to be preloaded with Windows, and that relatively expensive Apple computers aren't the only viable alternative to getting stuck with sucky Microsoft software.
Microsoft's getting squeezed at the high end of the PC market by elegant Apple computers running OSX and at the lower end by less expensive desktops and netbooks running Linux.
The web metrics firm also said Internet Explorer's market share fell below 70 per cent for the first time in more than ten years, to 69.8 per cent. IE lost 1.5 points in November alone, dropping a total of 5.8 per cent market share so far in 2008, with one month still left to go.
Competing web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari gained 0.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent market shares respectively during November alone, according to Net Applications. If those trends continue, Internet Explorer will fall beneath 60 per cent market share in 2009.
Windows 7 – AKA Windows ME II SP1a – along with IE 8 might not be able to reverse these trends, especially during a recession when people will be demanding good value for money. µ
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