While Windows is in no danger of losing its lock on the PC market, the Apple Mac is closing in on an important milestone: Macs now account for almost 10 percent of all PCs in use. Likewise, Windows has fallen below 90 percent usage share for the first time.
As you probably know, the Mac has been slowly gaining on the rest of the market for the past decade or more. But the platform has never risen above its low, single-digit market share despite Apple routinely touting how Mac has outperformed the wider PC market.
That’s about to change. And it appears that Mac usage has in fact actually surged a bit. This, in addition to keeping to a regular drumbeat of incremental market share (unit sales) and usage gains for a long, long time, has the Mac on the cusp of taking a big step into double-digit usage share for the first time since the Cretaceous.
According to the latest numbers from NetMarketShare, the Mac now accounts for 9.57 percent of all PCs currently in use. Windows is of course still number one, with 88.77 percent of all usage. (Linux is in third, with 1.65 percent.)
These things can vary, but looking at NetMarketShare’s historical data, see can see the recent mini-surge. Windows accounted for 91 percent of all usage in 2015, compared to 7.36 for the Mac. And 2014 was basically the same, with Windows at 91 percent and Mac at 7.17 percent. So there’s been a big jump, apparently, this year. We’ll see if that plays out as the year continues. But there it is.
Another interesting point: When you break the NetMarketShare numbers down by OS version, you see that Windows XP usage has fallen to 10.63 percent. So all versions of Mac OS X are almost as frequently-used as is Windows XP. (Windows 10 usage is 15.34 percent.)
For me, the Mac is not particularly compelling and never has been. I love the hardware, though Apple is on a very slow update schedule there, especially when compared to its mobile devices. But the software—Mac OS X, soon to be renamed to macOS—is completely uninteresting.
Coincidentally, I just had to restore my MacBook Air—I always keep at least one modern Mac around for testing purposes—because something in Boot Camp rendered it unbootable. Here, I was able to again experience a feature that Apple gets right: You can restore the device over the Internet from a cold boot. It works really well, though I had to go back to OS X versions to Maverick (because that’s what originally came on the Air) and then upgrade from there. But whatever. Great feature.
In any event, I’ll be keeping my eye on Mac usage share going forward. It’s about to get interesting, and if Microsoft continues to befuddle Windows PC users with unnecessarily aggressive Windows 10 upgrade advertising, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mac continue its upward trend.