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Friday, May 01, 2009, 06:50 pm PT (09:50 pm ET)

iPod touch web share triples as Windows reaches new low

Web market share for the iPod touch has tripled in just five months, outpacing even the iPhone among mobile devices. Also, Windows' share has dropped to its lowest point since tracking began even as the Mac managed to hold its ground.

While the iPod touch in November accounted just 0.05 percent of all the use on the tens of thousands of websites tracked by stats firm Net Applications, its use has seen steady gains that put the touchscreen Wi-Fi device at 0.15 percent — still small, but a threefold increase in its footprint in less than half a year.

iPhone share also grew substantially during the period but, despite having either 2G or 3G cellular Internet access, moved just one and a half times up from 0.37 percent of all web traffic to 0.55 percent.

The researchers don't attempt to explain the discrepancy themselves. However, the rapidly closing gap can be partly assigned to runaway sales of the iPod touch, which doubled in one year, even in the face of a poor economy and wider iPhone availability. Analysts have also noted that software from the App Store is driving iPod touch sales, while the player is also more affordable and more readily available. Customers aren't tied to a monthly service fee, aren't limited to particular cellphone carriers and don't have to live in certain countries.

As has been the case for a long time, Apple continues to have the largest share by far of all mobile operating systems; Java ME comes closest at 0.07 percent.

iPod touch share April 2009

iPod touch web market share, ranging from 0.04 percent to 0.15 percent. | Image credits: Net Applications.


On the desktop, Apple isn't seeing quite the same explosive growth as in mobile but still has some reason to be content. Mac share dipped very slightly to 9.73 percent, but Windows continued its steeper descent and fell to 87.9 percent — the first time the company has dipped below 88 percent since Net Applications started its tracking and part of a consistent long-term decline. The iPhone and iPod touch ate significant parts of this share but were also helped by Linux, which crested over the 1 percent mark for the first time.

It's important to note that the data doesn't directly translate to actual unit market share and can be swayed by usage patterns; more are likely to use their Macs and iPod touch players in December and January, for example, as they use home Macs, iPhones and iPods while on vacation or after receiving them as gifts. All the same, the results partly mirror a better than expected quarter for Apple, highlighted by the Cupertino-based company's ability to keep iPod and Mac sales steady during the single toughest economic slump in years.