Apple by the numbers (and Linux browser share)

Ars is reporting about how to determine what Apple market share actually is. The article does a good job talking about positives and negatives or accuracy vs. inaccuracy. The skinny is that Apple share is certainly going up and it looks like a continuing trend.

The one section I thought was interesting was in browser share. Apple is going up, but they mentioned that Linux numbers are quite low. The metric works by tracking browser statistics of particular sites (NY Times being one). The article did a good job showing why these statistics can be false:

The discrepancy in Linux numbers makes it easier to explain why Net Applications’ data isn’t necessarily a precise picture of the market. The company tracks OS and browser use among “member sites” that use Net Applications’ tracking services, which the company says encompasses data from some 160 million users per month. This means that the only OS and browser numbers being tracked are those from users who specifically visit those member sites, which include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and InformationWeek. If specific demographics of users—like, say, Linux users—don’t tend to read those types of sites, they are going to be underrepresented, and similarly, other demographics may be overrepresented.

There are two things that I want to mention about this. First Ars is right that perhaps Linux users don’t read these sites…I’d venture a guess that computer websites would show Linux numbers far higher. Second, though, is where do a lot of people read these sites? That is an important factor, I mean I am an avid Linux user, but at work I use Mac and in previous jobs had to use Windows. So if the majority of my reading were done at work than it is an unfair metric (perhaps for both Linux and Mac). Recently Lifehacker mentioned that Linux stories do extremely well on their site, but that they get more Apple and Windows traffic. I used the same argument for them. Most of my Lifehacker is done at work on my Mac, but that doesn’t mean I am not a Linux user. So don’t let the numbers discourage you Linux users.

As far as Apple share is concerned I like it. I don’t necessarily want to see Windows dissolved, but I do want to see the balance of power shifted more evenly. I would love to see Windows overall market share closer or below 50% and right now the best competitor to do that is Apple. So keep it up. May the best OS win 🙂

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