The Mac approaches 8 percent market share: Is it ready for popularity?

Apple's market share is on the rise. Is it ready to support popularity?

In June, Apple's market share for Mac OS X hit 7.94 percent, according to Net Applications. At its current growth rate of 0.18 percent per month, this means that the Mac should claim 8 percent of the global desktop operating system market by the end of July. Linux, while still holding a tiny 0.8 percent share, is also rising.

The only major desktop OS to decline? Windows. In fact, as the Inquirer notes, while the Mac is up 32 percent, Windows XP actually declined a full percentage point while Vista scraped together a measly 2.56 percent. Overall? Windows was down 2.45 percent.

Mac sales are outpacing PC sales at 3.5 times faster rate. Two big questions are looming:

  1. At what point will the momentum accelerate even faster? In other words, what's the tipping point for Mac adoption?
  2. Is Apple set up to handle this success? Does it want it?

On that last note, imagine if everyone drove a BMW. BMW would love this, right? Well, maybe. The company tries hard to maintain a culture of semi-exclusivity. Ditto for Apple. Does this go away if everyone has a Mac? Is it cool to be that popular?

Also, what happens to Apple's much-vaunted security superiority? I happen to believe that architecture matters and that Apple's Unix-based OS will fare better than Windows had when targeted by malicious hackers, but there are reasons to be skeptical of OS X's mythical immunity to attack.

What about Apple's support? While Apple support has historically scored well in customer satisfaction, will this change when its market share is at 20 percent instead of 5 percent, and it becomes that much harder to find qualified support personnel?

At any rate, as a Mac fan I'm ready for these "challenges" and look forward to them. Is Apple ready? At nearly 8 percent market share and rising, it needs to be.

Updated with the Inquirer information.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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