Tim Cook and Apple’s Fuzzy Math

I am now back at home in Michigan (arrived Sunday morning after my 24 hours of travel from Nairobi Kenya) and decided to use Monday as a recovery day from my two week work engagement in Kenya.

On Monday, I decided to watch Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference 14 Keynote.  It took Tim Cook a total of 10 minutes and 45 seconds to try and take a swipe at Microsoft.  Mr. Cook showcased the following slide:


The slide shows that Mavericks has been adopted by 51% of the Mac install based which is roughly 40 million users running OS X Mavericks.  He then compared that percentage against Windows 8/8.1 which has about 14% of the install based and said “need I say more?” 

Well Tim, you do need to say more.  As pointed out by several media outlets and bloggers, the devil is always in the details.  It is estimated that 1.25 billion people are running Windows and has nearly 91% of  the worldwide PC market.  By my estimation, Windows 8/8.1 is then running on nearly 175 million devices worldwide.

I really liked how WMPowerUser summarized this on their blog post – Apple’s Latest Blunder During WWDC Keynote, Comparing Windows 8 Adoption With OS X Mavericks:

He [Tim Cook] made this point to developers to highlight the fact that OS X has more users on the latest version, but as per his stats developers should target over 140 million Windows 8 users instead of much less in number OS X users.

If I use StatCounter’s website by selecting the Desktop and Tablet Operating System, it appears to me that Windows 8/8.1 is NOW the 2nd most popular OS Worldwide.


Windows 7 sits at the #1 spot with 48.54% of the market, Windows XP is slowly decreasing and is currently powering 13.72% of the worldwide market.

How do they rank?  Here it is:

  • Windows 7 = 48.54%
  • Windows 8/8.1 = 13.75%
  • Windows XP = 13.72%
  • iOS = 7.72%
  • Mac OS X = 7.6%
  • Windows Vista = 3.36%

Some may ask if it is unfair that I’ve combined Windows 8 with Windows 8.1.  I don’t think so.  The main point of the conversation is to figure out what platform to target when developing apps.  Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have the same core and API runtime (WinRT) so they can be viewed the same when trying to look at the numbers of potential devices to target your application.  As a developer, you can target the 7.6% of devices running on Mac OS X, or the 13.75% of the market running Windows 8 and 8.1.

How are the numbers when looking at the United States Only?


  • Windows 7 = 37.89%
  • Windows 8/8.1 = 14.47%
  • Mac OS X = 14.06%
  • Windows XP = 12.67%
  • iOS = 10.06%
  • Windows Vista = 4.53%

To provide a different view, here are the stats from Net Applications (May 2014):


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