Mac OS continues to gain share

The latest PC shipment numbers have Apple gaining at least another percentage point in U.S. market share.

For a long time, Apple had an informal marketing slogan "5 down, 95 to go" referring to its percentage share of the computer business.

We gave them a hard time back then, because they didn't even have the 5 percent market share they were always talking about. These days, though, they have well passed that number and are inching closer to 10 percent, at least in the U.S.

While Windows certainly still dominates the computer market, Apple's operating system continues to gain market share. Just released second-quarter market share figures from Gartner show Apple shipments up 38 percent, to 8.5 percent of all units shipped, up from 6.4 percent a year ago. IDC had Apple's gains somewhat lower, at a 7.8 percent share, up from 6.2 percent a year earlier, but the trend is the same.

"They've got great products and they are executing well," IDC analyst Loren Loverde said in a telephone interview, adding "they are benefiting from the excitement and press over their other products."

Microsoft is working on a multiyear, megamillion-dollar marketing push for Windows and, as the numbers show, it can't come soon enough. Apple's gains on Windows are particularly painful given that U.S. computer shipments only grew 4.2 percent, again according to Gartner.

Worldwide shipments fared better, up 16 percent for the quarter, and of course Apple's worldwide share is far lower than its domestic one. Despite Apple's U.S. gains, its worldwide market share was 3.3 percent in the second quarter, according to IDC. That's down slightly from last quarter, but up from 2.9 percent a year ago.

Loverde said Apple would have to continue growing really fast for some time to move ahead of Toshiba and crack the top 5 in global sales.