Friday Challenge: What's your take on OS/browser market share trends?

Friday Challenge: What's your take on OS/browser market share trends?

Summary: I talk a lot about trends here, and it's always a bone of contention because it seems that everyone has their own take on which trends to keep an eye on which to ignore, what they mean and what they don't.


I talk a lot about trends here, and it's always a bone of contention because it seems that everyone has their own take on which trends to keep an eye on which to ignore, what they mean and what they don't.

Here's my take on trends. The data that I look at most often is Net Applications. This company draws browser and OS data based on 160 million visitors per month visiting client websites, which means that the data is drawn from a variety of websites. I think that this is more representative than data drawn from a single website, or a group of websites on a similar subject.

Rather than focusing on the specific numbers, I like to look at overall trends rather than individual percentages. A 0.3% increase or decrease in market share might or might not be relevant, but seeing an overall increase or decrease in market share over time is far more significant and relevant.

Take Net Applications' OS market share data for the past two years. What really stands out when taking a look at the data in this way is how little things have changed. Windows has dropped a couple of percentage points, Mac has gained and couple, and the rest is little more than noise. In two years the landscape hasn't changed that much. Even platforms that have seen stratospheric levels of hype such the iPhone haven't made much of an impact on the OS landscape.

Browser trends show more of a change over the past two years, but even here the changes are slow. Over the two years we've seen Internet Explorer shed some 15% market share, from just under 80% to a little under 65%. Firefox is up some 9%, from 15.5% to 24% (to celebrate its fifth anniversary Firefox broke the 25% milestone). The remaining market share has been mopped up mostly by Google Chrome (which didn't exist two years ago and has now captured some 3.5% market share) and Apple's Safari (up to just under 4.5% from a little under 2.5%). Change, but nonetheless gradual change.

Note: It's worth noting that Mozilla accepts Net Applications as an accurate reflection of Firefox's market share.

So, what's your take on change over the past couple of years? Do you feel that Net Applications accurately reflects these changes or do you go with some other data? Let me know!

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Software, Software Development

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  • Firefox is taking over...

    With Firefox the days of vendor lock-in with
    IE required are over, like banking sites they
    are cross-platform as they should be.

    I use CentOS/Fedora/RHEL and use I am able to
    do all of my job functions and use any application
    I want without the fear of security holes and
    threats from a welded in web-browser.

    When MS tried to marry IE or incorporated it in
    where it is REQUIRED for Windows updates they
    created the security quagmire that has costed
    consumers BILLION's in damages from viruses/
    malware/spyware/trojans that spoof Windows
    security sites and it goes on and on.....

    Competition is good, Firefox is amazing and
    the developer base is AWESOME!


    Open_Source it!
    • Does time move forward.....

      Or do you always just keep harping on the days of XP? Vista and beyond are much different and IE is actually not welded to the OS as you like to think. Maybe back in the day, but lets move on and get with the times. Also you talk about security holes, what about firefox's rap sheet of security bugs? Its pretty extensive and also it seems to rank in the top 10 of most vulnerable apps out there. So keep dreaming of "only microsoft has security holes" and I hope you safe surfing in the future. Heck you may have been compromised already but probably don't even know it unless you run AV, then if you do I question why you do since Microsoft is the only one with security holes as you like to claim? Just some thoughts and also having a market share like Windows you can bet there will be costs in the Billions just as there would be if Linux were the king. Simple math really.
    • For the record

      Many corporate apps still require IE. They might be dumb apps by dumb companies (I'd accept that), but they still write IE only apps. So, the days of IE lock in aren't gone yet. At least not on the corporate world.
    • Keep on dreaming bud...OSS is crap led by Linux...

      How many more decades do we have to wait until Linux catches up with Windows XP and OpenOffice with MSOffice 97 in basic functionality...

        Linux has SURPASSED windows in functionality! Have you even SEEN KDE 4? Windows does not even come with a bittorrent client! Windows comes witha measly paint program, whereas we get GIMP. Windows comes with Windows Explorer, which can't even sign in remotely to an FTP server, where we get nautilus/Dolphin/Konqueror.
        Windows comes with idiot exploiter, we get firefox. Does windows even COME with a built-in webcam booth? We get epiphany/pidgin, whereas you get MSN which can't really do much at all. And even 7 does not have multiple desktops, something even the mac has got now. Quit ass-speaking and download a linux iso.
  • Well, the popularity of Firefox and the emergence of the cloud will pave

    the way for more alternative OS market share. But, there
    will be a tipping point where Windows market share starts
    to decrease more rapidly.
  • Adrian: One stat you do NOT have is % of time people spend on Windows ONLY

    applications, that could not easily be ported to
    Linux and Mac via WineLib.

    I bet that percentage has been falling pretty
    steadily, but, how would you measure it?

    When will Google offer an App Store based on WineLib
    so that vendors can port and sell Win32 applications
    for other platforms. Will that be part of Chrome OS?
    • Erosion in Windows user base

      Companies are going to cut cost and getting
      rid of EXPENSIVE & hard to maintain Windows
      desktops are at the top of the list.

      If everything was going good, Windows would be
      on a wave crushing the competition however
      no one has the money to spend on more licenses
      and new hardware when they are barely hanging on.

      Other countries are eliminated MS completely from
      their companies and MS tried to basically give
      them MS software for free and they said

      The erosion has started and like all floods
      it cannot be stopped.
      • Yeah yeah......

        My desktops are not a problem at all. My desktop tech surfs the web most hours of the day so not sure what you speak of with "hard to maintain" desktops? Also I buy new systems for less than $600 and they scream and thats no breaking the bank either. If you actually use the tools provided by Windows and AD you should not have any problems with your desktops and if you do I question the tech behind the mess. Also my servers are not an issue either, my biggest complaint is having to do updates every month, but really it gives me something to do and thats what you get running the number 1 OS out there. I know it hurts to actually hear from someone that has none of the issues you speak of, so keep up the good work of being ignorant and old fashioned with your arguments.
        • Some people do more than surf the web.

          Some of us design graphics in GIMP, Presentations in OOo, sign in to FTP so they can see all their files, not just the pub folder, Messaging in Pidgin, Music ISO burning in Brasero, and use their netbooks as digital cameras with Cheese, and much much more. If all you do is transfer pirated black sabbath to your Zune, you will be fine, but I have used windows, and still have to help people who use it, and I'll tell you now, I have more issues with windows in one hour than I do with linux in a week.
          • I think you missed it.....

            My tech surfs the web all day, because there is nothing to fix on the desktops. My users do all the great things you speak of and alot more and we don't have issues. We seem to move product and also print-on-demand with no problems and its all Windows with Xerox printers. Our company has been fully electronic for over 7 years now beating many out there to that acheivment and we have been using Windows for a long time and after all that time no one is asking me to find a better solution. The old phrase "don't fix something that isn't broke" is true around here. Also the president and owner are both into Mac's but they don't ever ask for us to look at transition options if that tells you anything.
          • Two things,

            First, I am genuinely thanking you fro a civil response.
            Second, I partially agree. I switched to linux as soon as I got a working burner, never looked back. I hated the way windows worked, everything about it. But you are right on one part. Take PulseAudio for example, the new, supposedly improved sound system for Fedora 11 Leonidas, well, it has been a pain in the @$$. Don't fix something that is not broken fits here. PulseAudio changes my volume on every reboot, making me set it back. Until now, I had never had sound issues with linux. People really need to get it in their heads that some people want one program's volume higher than another, or for whatever reason, this should be easily disabled. On the other hand, if something can be made more efficient, or better in any other way, why not do it? One last thing, why do you put up with the tinny locked in feeling of windows? I may be the only one who feels it, but windows feels tinny and locked in.
      • Funny, the trends indicate that

        companies have tried for years to give away free Linux and Office products, and yet the majority still prefer to purchase Windows and MS Office.

        A running garden hose would not be considerd "A Flood"
        • And you know why?

          Because they do not want to learn something new. That's it. They are just lazy, and their employees will _bitch_ and whine that they have to click the system menu and then shut down instead of click the Orb and then the little arrow, and finally shutdown. I know this from experience. If they actually tried to learn linux, and stopped googling "MS office for linux" and instead start googling "Office suite for linux" they would see there is a lot to love about the penguin.
      • When you leave your Mom's basement ...

        ... and enter the real world, you'll find that most companies choose the Windows desktop because it's easy to deploy, manage, maintain and secure. Through Group Policy, network admins can easily lock down users rights on machines in the network and can easily deploy updates, patches, fixes, new apps, etc.

        Most of these features are missing from most other OS' including Linux. Until Linux grows up and implements the level of control that Windows offers, businesses in general will be sticking with Windows.
      • Yet

        On the chart Adrian links to, Linux is nothing more than background noise.

        And also, it appeas people are still interested in buying [i]and[/i] pirating Windows...

        Otherwise, it appears people would move to a Mac over Linux.

        Plus, how is it you know getting rid of Windows is at the top of the list? Most of their software is Windows only and to port that stuff over to Linux will cost them more money and support.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
        • Sigh.

          I sound like a broken record. Most computer users probably wonder where windows solitaire keeps the cards. Linux requires you have a fully functional brain. It's not as hard as people say it is, unless you use your CD-ROM drive as a cupholder.
  • RE: Friday Challenge: What's your take on OS/browser market share trends?

    For browsers Firefox will gain a bit more marketshare while people realize the dangers of running anything from Google so Chrome will lose marketshare as well as Safari.

    On the OS side Microsoft Windows 7 share will continue to increase significantly while effectively taking away XP and Vista marketshare. Mac will stay the same. And linux has been on the decline so that speaks for itself, but marketshare wise it will see 0.0%.
    Loverock Davidson
    • OK, now seriously...

      What's your take on OS market share trends?
      The Mentalist
      • Whilst Firefox has indeed done well to wrestle users away from IE ...

        ... most FF users are still running FF on Windows.

        The fact that Linux still hasn't gained more than around 1% of the desktop market speaks volumes. In fact, I'd argue that Linux biggest competitor is Apple, not MS.