According to the latest figures just published by Net Applications, a specialist Internet measurement company, Apple has seen Mac OS X grab a record gain taking it dangerously close to a 10 percent market share for the first time since the company started tracking OS usage.

In stark contrast, however, Microsoft saw a drop in the market share reported for the second month running, close to a full percentage point in fact. Indeed, the Net Applications numbers have it at an all time low now. Linux, meanwhile, continues to go nowhere fast. It seems to have somewhat stagnated in a distant third place with less than a percentage point to keep it company.

The figures would suggest that of those people browsing the web in December, and importantly visiting those sites which are monitored by Net Applications, some 88.7 percent did so using a Windows powered machine. Still a pretty impressive domination of the market, of course, but industry watchers are quick to point out that it is down by 0.94 percent on November and represents the biggest slide in four years. For the year in full, Microsoft dropped a total of 3.1 percentage points.

Apple, on the other hand, pushes ever upwards. In November it showed a record rise, and in December it did likewise with 0.76 percent growth to take it to an impressive 9.6 percent market share. Over the course of the year, the Mac OS X market share was up 2.3 percentage points which represents an annual growth rate of some 31.7 percent.

Interestingly, while Linux manages to remain pretty static in terms of market share, the iPhone is positively charging up the charts and now has a market share in excess of half that of Linux. Which is good news for Apple, because if you combine the OS X and iPhone numbers it now has more than 10 percent of the market.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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