The hot technical topic is alternative operating systems. But, with the release of Windows 7, let’s put things into perspective.

Here are the estimated Worldwide OS usage figures for October 2009:

  • 70.48 - Windows XP
  • 18.83 - Windows Vista
  • 2.82 - macOS 10.5
  • 2.15 - Windows 7
  • 1.17 - macOS 10.6
  • 0.96 - Linux (all versions)
  • 0.93 - macOS 10.4
  • 0.78 - Windows 2000
  • 0.26 - Mac/macOS version unknown
  • 0.11 - Windows 98
  • 0.10 - Windows NT
  • 0.06 - Windows ME

or

  • 92.51 - Windows (all versions)
  • 5.18 - macOS/Mac (all versions)
  • 0.96 - Linux (all versions)

Even those lists are visually misleading. There’s a giant percentage cliff between Windows and macOS. Let’s look at this another way, Windows 7 has already outsold macOS Snow Leopard (10.6) at 2 to 1.

Windows has 18 times the market share of the Mac and 96 times the market share of Linux.

And while Windows market share is decreasing (even after the Windows 7 release), it’s decrease is very, very, very small. 0.25% in October. One quarter of one percentage point.

It’s not all peaches and cream. If you’re looking for further data in the above list, look no further then the very first item - Windows XP at 70.48%. XP owns the world market. But it isn’t directly upgradeable to Windows 7. That’s the nasty fly in the Microsoft ointment right now. The vast majority of those XP users are never, ever, ever going to proactively upgrade to Windows 7. XP will decrease mainly by attrition as new computers replace old ones. In comparison, one fifth of all Mac users are already on Snow Leopard.

But this isn’t a giant, gaping market hole for Microsoft’s competition. Because nobody is around who can take advantage of it. Apple doesn’t care about market share. They don’t want the Windows XP crowd and they really, really don’t want the Windows 98 crowd. And those attrition people are never going to intentionally look at Linux.

Where the real problem for Microsoft lies, is in the transition to “non-traditional” computing devices. Netbooks and smart phones. Thanks to the web, consumers see very little downside to changing computing paradigms for the gain in mobility.

But even there, that’s still a 92.5% market share.

(Statistics come from http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/11/october-2009-os-stats-windows-7-passes-snow-leopard-linux-1.ars)