Thursday, November 26, 2009
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM
"Windows 7 passed the 5% market share milestone last weekend, which put it, if only temporarily, above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a Web measurement firm said today. Last Saturday and Sunday, Windows 7 powered an estimated 5% and 5.14% of all computers that were online those days, according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications. The two-day average of 5.07% was higher than the 5% of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of Nov. 15-21."
This is a welcome reality check. I know that Apple has tremendous mind-share because they spend an ungodly amount of money on prime-time TV advertising telling us how much Windows "sucks", but at the end of the day only 5 out of 100 computers on this planet are Macs running OS X. The market share for Windows that same week was 92.64%. The numbers say a lot - and no amount of reality-distortion field spinning is going to change that. Macs might be the perfect computing solution for some people, but they're not a mass-market product, no matter how hard the Mac faithful want to believe that.
There's also a weird reality distortion bubble in the media - many people in the media/blogging tech world use Macs. A far higher percentage than the rest of the world; just look at figure 2 in this article. I don't know whether it's techno-savvy people who got sick of Windows, or the uber-geek's desire to try the next shiny and new thing, but at many tech events I'm in the minority using a Windows laptop. At that Mobius event OS X had 53% market share; in the rest of the world, 5%. Funny things can happen when you get a bunch of Mac users in the room: they think their platform always matters, even when it doesn't. Sounds harsh, right? Let me explain.
One of the things I hear brought up over and over again is "Why is there no Zune client for the Mac?". The math tell us the story: take 5% of the computer market as potential buyers for the Zune who are running OS X. What percentage of those people are open-minded enough to try a Microsoft product instead of an iPod? In my experience, people who buy a Mac also buy into the ecosystem, often owning an iPod or an iPhone. So, what then, 10% of that total 5%? So we're looking at 0.5% of the total market, and I think even that's a big stretch.
Now put yourself in Microsoft's position: you have limited developer resources for the Zune software client. There are lots of features you want to add, but if you need to make an OS X client you'll have to curtail development on the Windows version. Are you willing to do that for a potential 0.5% of the market? Probably not. And keep this in mind: you don't need the OS X users in order for your product to become a success. You need, and want, Windows owners to buy your product. If you get enough of them, you'll be laughing. So why waste any resources on an OS X client?
The iPod would never have become the success that it is today if Apple hadn't released a Windows version of iTunes. Apple needed, desperately, the Windows platform as a host for iTunes - without it they'd only have OS X users, which represented a small percentage of the market. Microsoft doesn't need Mac owners buying Zunes, so they're not going to waste the resources developing for OS X - no matter how loud tech bloggers whine about it.