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Why Mac OS X is taking over the world

Net Applications research data suggests that Mac OS X market share is inching its way to 10 percent of all computing platforms, standing currently at 9.93 percent.

The Net Applications data comes by tracking the Mac OS through web browser activity, so it's not a direct measurement of computers. But it's on-target with other market surveys.

What's driving the trend? Could it be Apple iPhone owners dabbling in full-fledged Macs? Perhaps. But what about the business audience; could swaths of PC-only outfits finally be moving to mixed-platform environments? With so many business tools running as platform-agnostic web services, Macs are nearly fully compatible out-of-the box.

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Sure, there are some misses.

Microsoft's OS X mail program, Entourage lacks the complete Exchange Server support and abilities of Outlook. And Exchange support is weak in Apple's Mail application. But the transition is in progress; the next version of OS X will include ActiveSync. And most features from the other Microsoft Office apps are included or less critical.

Apple's hardware design usually impresses, from laptop and desktop cases to multi-core, Intel processors. If you absolutely have to run a Windows-only app for work, you could reboot a Mac into a Microsoft OS and not tell the difference from a "real" PC. Or just run it in a virtual machine within OS X.

Companies will keep moving to web services, and with that transition, Mac OS X's business market share could continue to grow. I doubt it'll reach substantially further into this Windows-dominated world. But as businesses are using cross-platform tools, companies are also letting employees pick their favorite OS. And each individual switch gradually boosts Apple's market share.

[via Ars Technica & PCWorld.com]

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