Even with Apple soaring in terms of popularity (and in terms of share price), the amount of Mac computer users hasn't risen tremendously compared to the amount of Windows users. Even while Apple was soaring and Microsoft was battle the negative press around Windows Vista, Apple only managed to gain very minimally in terms of worldwide use. In fact, it took Apple nearly three years to gain around 3 percentage points on Microsoft. Even still, Microsoft has held well over 90% of the global share for so long that it's hard for worldwide analysts to take the Mac OS seriously.
But even after a successful Windows 7 launch, it looks like Microsoft may need to start paying closer attention to the guy in a distant second place. Research companies Gartner and IDC have both released update market share numbers, and as of now, the Mac market share is edging up against 10%. Based on the new numbers, Apple ranks fourth amongst U.S. computer shipments with a 9.8% market share (mind you, this is U.S. only), and the company is slowly climbing the ranks in worldwide shipments too. At the end of the day, Apple still has a long way to go before it even begins to threaten Microsoft, but it's clear that Apple isn't going away. Just to see it continually rise instead of continually fall speaks volumes, but in reality, we wouldn't have it any other way. We need a company really pushing Microsoft to innovate, and the competition only leads to good things for end-users.