The current OS market share state, as of January 2008. Note decent gains by Linux and OS X.  (Source: Net Applications)
Windows may be king, but Apple is trying to out-tortoise the hare

Apple’s OS X comes nowhere near Windows in market share, but the reality is, throughout the last couple years OS X has slowly been gaining traction.  It still has many more years to go at this rate before ever evening the OS race, but this does not detract from the fact that it is making progress, largely at Microsoft's expense.

According to Net Applications, a market research firm that profiles OS market share, between December and January OS X jumped from 7.31% market share, to a 7.57% market share, a large gain for one month.  Windows fell from 91.79 to 91.46, down -0.36%.  To put this in context if this pace was maintained, purely in terms of a numerical reduction or in terms of relative percent reduction the two OS's wouldn't break even until 2019.

Still Microsoft has to be a bit concerned about how it is slowly bleeding market share to OS X.  The total gain for OS X in 2007, according to the study was 21.7%. 

The makers of the study were impressed by Apple's gains, particularly during the holiday season, saying in the study, "Apple’s market share gains in December for the Mac and iPhone are impressive; however, for the last days of December, the numbers are nothing short of spectacular."

Linux also showed modest gains, up from 0.63% to 0.67% between December 2007 and January 2008.  Part of this may be due to the popularity of cheap Linux driven PCs, such as the Eee PC and the Everex CloudBook which is available online from Wal-Mart (although Eee PC will soon be available with a stripped-down version of Windows XP).

For the study, Net Applications used metrics collected from 40,000 partner websites to yield a large sample group and a relatively accurate picture of the current OS market.

Windows still remains a strong leader in the OS market, but Linux providers and Apple can both take a measure of pride in that they're slowly chipping away a bit at the foundation of Microsoft's success.  Of course that all could change with the next operating system, particularly if it's better received than Windows Vista.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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