12/11/08
10:17 am

Mac Web Market Share Up, IE Down

Surveys of market share come out all the time. This week, one appeared that put Mac at almost 9 percent of all the users out there. That’s a pretty high number, considering that it wasn’t too long ago we were under 5 percent.
Even more surprising is that on the Web, Internet Explorer, the main Windows-only browser, is now under 90 percent in browser share. This means that Firefox is gaining and has a real foothold.
So looking just at the first number, consider that 9 percent. That might not be too impressive if you look at it from an OS stand-point. It means that Windows has around 90 percent. That’s extremely dominant.
But if you look at it from a hardware stand-point, it is interesting. Pretty much all of the 9 percent is Apple hardware. But of the other 91 percent, the hardware is divided into a number of manufacturers: Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, and so on. I haven’t seen any recent numbers, but I’d have to imagine that Apple is near the top of that list as far as machines sold.
But what the increasing Mac market share, and decreasing IE dominance, mean for us is that hopefully Windows-only Web sites and applications will be a thing of the past. Microsoft itself has shown a great commitment to this with the latest release of Office for Mac. And Electronic Arts at least seems to be trying hard to include Macs as an available platform for every new game.
I think the software industry is doing a good job of including Mac versions right alongside their Windows ones. In addition, hardware is getting better too. There are still some manufacturers that don’t seem to provide Mac drivers or support. And then there are some that do strange things like Fujitsu who offer Mac-specific scanners instead of making their scanners compatible with both Mac and Windows.
Even online media seems to be paying attention to Mac more and more — for instance both Amazon and NetFlix made sure to work on versions of their media players that work on Mac.
But Apple still has work to do to get the word out about this. For instance, I tried to convince a friend of mine to get a Mac instead of a new PC and his biggest fear is that he won’t be able to open his old Word and Excel files, even though I told him about how TextEdit can do it, iWork can do it, OpenOffice and NeoOffice can do it, and he can also get Microsoft Office for Mac for probably less cash than Office for Windows.
Until perceptions like this change, it will be harder and harder for the Mac to gain market share.