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Apple gives up a little Internet usage share

Use of the Mac operating system to access the Web slides a tad, but Apple's iPhone "dominates" the mobile browsing market.

Apple gave up a sliver of Internet market share last month, according to preliminary figures released Sunday by Web metrics company Net Applications.

February figures from Net Applications on operating system share amid Internet use. Net Applications

The Mac OS had been hovering around the 10 percent mark among operating systems accessing the Web. But in its Operating System Market Share report for February, Net Applications showed the Mac OS at 9.71 percent, down from 9.93 percent in January. Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows' Internet share increased to 89.37 percent from 88.26 percent in January.

February figures from Net Applications on Windows 7 beta usage. Net Applications

In a separate report, Net Applications reported spikes in usage share of Windows 7--the follow-on to Windows Vista potentially due out later this year--after Microsoft released the public beta of the operating system in January. In the report, Net Applications attributed these spikes to weekend users:

Similar to Windows Vista, Windows 7 usage share is showing a pattern of being much higher on weekends than on weekdays. In contrast, Windows XP has an inverse trendline. XP's share is higher on weekdays due to Microsoft's relatively high business vs. residential share of Windows XP.

This is an indication of strong interest in Windows 7, since it does not come pre-installed on a computer like Vista. Beta users are taking the time and effort to install it on their home computers, since corporations generally prohibit beta operating systems to be used in production environments.

February figures from Net Applications on mobile browsing market share. Net Applications

In the mobile browsing arena, Net Applications reported that it had taken its first detailed look at market share and pronounced Apple's iPhone as having a "commanding lead" with 66.61 percent of the market. But, Net Applications noted, "Android and BlackBerry are rapidly gaining market share. This does not mean that iPhone web browsing is shrinking, because the overall market is growing rapidly."

Upstart Android, which Google released in October, came in fourth with 6.15 percent, following No. 2 Java ME's 9.06 percent and No. 3 Windows Mobile's 6.91 percent.