Apple's Mac OS X continued its slow climb in operating system market share last month, according to a Web measurement firm Monday.
Mac OS X gained about a quarter-percentage point in January, when it accounted for 7.6 per cent of all the systems that surfed to sites tracked by Net Applications, a California-based metrics vendor. It was the third straight month that Apple's operating system posted an increase.
Net Applications collects data from the browsers used to reach its clients' sites, and claims that the market share numbers reflect approximately 160 million visitors to those sites.
Apple's share of the OS market in January was up 0.27 percentage points from December 2007, and up approximately 1.35 percentage points in the last 12 months, a one-year increase of 22 per cent. The gains have been almost exclusively in Intel-based Macs; older, PowerPC-equipped machines have remained flat in the 3.2 per cent to 3.3 per cent range for several months, reported Net Applications.
If Apple maintains the pace it set in 2007, it should crack the 8 per cent mark by the end of April.
Others, however, are arguing that Apple will do considerably better in the long run. Gartner, for example, recently predicted that Apple would double its US and Western Europe market share by 2011.
"Apple's gains reflect as much on the failures of the rest of the industry as on Apple's success," Gartner analysts said in a unsigned statement issued last week. "Apple is challenging its competitors with software integration that provides ease of use and flexibility; continuous and more frequent innovation in hardware and software; and an ecosystem that focuses on interoperability across multiple devices."
The company, however, has a long way to go before it can realistically claim it's a rival to Microsoft's Windows. Net Applications' data for January pegged Windows market share at 91.5 per cent. That's down from 93.3 per cent a year ago, but still an overwhelming margin.
Linux, meanwhile, accounted for only 0.7 per cent of the operating systems running on computers that visited one of the 40,000-some sites Net Applications monitors.
Net Applications' operating system trend data can be viewed on its Web site.