Surge in Mac users good for Apple, not so good for security

Summary:According to web metric analysts WebSideStory and Net Applications, the number of people surfing the web in the US on a Mac doubled over the past eight months. This represents an increase from a long-term flat-line of about 3% to around 6%. Switching from the PowerPC to Intel CPUs has been good to Apple.

According to web metric analysts WebSideStory and Net Applications, the number of people surfing the web in the US on a Mac doubled over the past eight months.  This represents an increase from a long-term flat-line of about 3% to around 6%.  Switching from the PowerPC to Intel CPUs has been good to Apple.

After years of Apple berating Intel processors, they did more for Apple than Jeff Goldblum ever didCompared to the PowerPC brand, Intel is much stronger and much more easily recognizable.  It's a brand that's also synonymous with the PC, blurring the line between Macs and PCs.  Who would have thought it.  After years of Apple berating Intel processors, they did more for Apple than Jeff Goldblum ever did.

How much does Boot Camp and the ability to load Windows on a Mac have to do with the sales increase?  Dunno?  Sure, Boot Camp allows people who have spent a lot of money on the hardware a safety net if the OS isn't what they expected it to be, but I don't think it's a huge selling point. It would be kinda ironic if the ability to run Windows on a Mac was a major upside of the platform.

The growth is good news for Apple.  Achieving such an impressive increase in user base in such a short period of time will certainly go down well with investors.  After years of being on a plateau, this kind of boost in numbers shows that Apple has finally hit on a winning formula.  Whether this will be merely a transient phenomenon or result in some kind of long-term growth and erosion into the PC market is still to be seen, but numbers like that certainly look good.

For Mac users I'm not so sure whether this is good news or not.  Certainly it's a sign that Mac is becoming an acceptable alternative to the PC, which means that Mac users won't feel so marginalized, but it's bad for security.  This kind of huge and rapid increase in Mac users online in the US is just what the hackers and cyber criminals are waiting for.  While I don't think that 6%  is a demographic worth targeting (especially when the remainder is made up mostly of Windows users), it's getting closer to the tipping point when it will be financially viable for the hackers to take aim at Mac systems.

Thoughts?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Security

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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