Home OSX and Linux Growing Faster Than Windows

OSX and Linux Growing Faster Than Windows

Reports that Apple is now beating Microsoft in market cap, revenue and profit were tempered by one fact: Microsoft has sold more Windows 7 licenses since its release than all iOS products combined during the same period. Whether enterprise or consumer, the Microsoft still own the operating system market. But all that could change.

According to Gartner, OSX and Linux are the fastest growing desktop and server operating systems, respectively. “Among client OSs, Mac OS was the fastest-growing subsegment in 2010 as the unit shipments of Mac desktop/laptop devices saw strong sales, although from a much-smaller basis,” the firm reports. Update: Apple’s total marketshare, according to Gartner, is still only 1.7% (up from 1.6%), but that’s of all OSes including servers. Gartner didn’t release numbers broken down by subsegment. Quantcast estimated that 10.9% of Internet users used OSX last year according to Ars Technica.

Unsurprisingly, Linux continues to grow in the server market, and Red Hat is “dominating the commercial Linux (server) market.”

In 2002, Robert X. Cringley dusted off an unpublished 1998 interview with Bill Gates. According to Cringley:

One thing that Gates told me in that interview was he didn’t understand why Jobs had gone back to Apple at all. “Why would he do that?” Bill asked. “He has to know that he can never win.”

Cringley concluded even then that Jobs had won:

In Steve Jobs’ mind, he has already won. Those of us who last for a few decades in this business find our own kind of peace and Steve Jobs’ is best exemplified by the George Herbert quote, “Living well is the best revenge.” Apple’s future as a boutique computer company is secure. He dominates Apple completely. When he doesn’t feel like being a high tech mogul, he can be a movie mogul, something Gates will never be. In Steve’s mind, he has the best of everything. Apple software is cooler than Windows will ever be. Palo Alto, where Jobs lives, is trendier than Seattle. Even Jobs’ plane, a Gulfstream V, is cooler than Gates’ Challenger 604. It goes on and on. Gates has never even considered this latter point, but I’ll guarantee you that Jobs has, and he revels in it.

Cringley has since published the audio from that interview here.

However, it now looks like Jobs has won more than just the lifestyle race. He’s beat Gates in every category but one: overall market penetration. And even that may be changing.

The take away for enterprises: many of your competitors are moving to non-Microsoft products, and many of your employees are using Macs at home. According to our own reader poll, most of you already have Macs in your own network (but there’s no way for us to verify who’s actually voting in that poll, so don’t take it too seriously). If you’re not already thinking about what a post-Microsoft enterprise will look like, you should be.

Update: For some more reference on Apple’s growth in the enterprise (aside from the iPhone and iPad), see Fortune’s coverage of IDC’s numbers from last summer.

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