Apple fans have made much of the fact that the newest figures from Net Applications show that Apple's share of the operating system market has jumped almost 32% in the past year. But they're ignoring a simple fact: Vista's market share during that same time leaped more than 355%. When you add in other Windows versions, Microsoft owns more than 90% of the market.
Net Applications reports that the Mac had 7.94% market share in June, up from 6.03% a year ago. Going from a little more than 6% to just under 8% may be a big gain when measured as a percentage of growth. But when seen in absolute numbers, it's not particularly impressive.
Vista, by way of contrast, showed far more explosive growth. In June, 2007, it had 4.54% market share. In June, 2008, it had reached 16.14% --- more than a 355% gain. Those numbers are substantial not just in percentage terms, but in raw terms as well. Apple would sell the first-born children of most of its employees if it could ever get to a 16% market share.
This is a great bit of info because, as noted, Mac fanatics do in fact love to point to these not-really-market-share numbers as "proof" of the huge gains the Mac is making in the PC market. Take that, iCabal.
Anyway, I've been making this kind of argument for a long time and demonstrated some time ago on the Nexus blog that making huge market share increases is easy when you almost zero market share.
And let's be clear: Net Applications does not measure market share. They measure usage share, and only on the Web. There's a big difference between the two and they're not interchangeable. (That is, the actual real-world usage share for Windows is higher than these numbers suggest. There are over a billion people using Windows, for crying out loud.)
And speaking of myth-busting, did I ever tell you about the joke were iCabal high-priest Walter Mossberg actually busted the myth that Macs are somehow used over a longer period of time than Windows PCs? I know, that's funny, right? Well, it really happened.