Web Traffic Company Claims Vista Outpacing OS X

net applicationsTom Krazit looked up from his morning cup of coffee at the most recent data provided by web traffic company Net Applications and yelled, “Erroneous! Erroneous. Erroneous on both counts.”

Apparently Net Applications is claiming that Windows Vista is eroding Mac OS X sales, based on the kinds of operating systems that its “Hitlink” software tracks.

The problem with the data, according to Krazit, is that Net Applications only monitors 400,000 websites, most of which are small/medium business sites and that the vast majority of computers sold come with Vista preloaded. Net Applications claimed that Vista usage shot up in February, right about the time that Vista first started shipping on most new computers sold.

So the fact that Vista went from nothing to something would make the numbers look a lot more impressive. Krazit did a little of his own research and found the opposite of what Net Applications is reporting to be true.

“Let’s look at the overall trends since last summer. The combination of Windows PCs (Win 2000, XP and Vista) visiting Hitslink sites in July 2006 accounted for 90.39 percent of traffic. Of course, there was no Vista then. This June, the same combination accounted for 90.46 percent of traffic, implying that if Vista is eating into anything, it’s Windows XP and Windows 2000 usage.

The same comparison applied to Mac OS X? Last year, the combination of Intel-based Macs and older Macs accounted for 4.29 percent of traffic to Hitslink’s sites. This June, it was 6 percent of traffic, with Intel-based Macs growing as PowerPC Macs decline.

So compared with last year, Mac OS usage is increasing faster than Windows usage.”

All in all, an interesting look at how easily facts and figures can be skewed.

Statistics, Mac OS and Windows [CNET]