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Apple starts 2009 with strong Net gains

Apple (aapl) consolidated its 2008 holiday Internet market-share gains with strong performances from the Mac, iPhone and iPod touch in January, according to preliminary data issued overnight Sunday by Net Applications.

The Web metrics company had warned last month that residential usage during the holiday season might skew results in favor of Apple products like the Mac, which tend to get used more in the home than the office.

But the Mac's share grew another 3.12% in January to grab a record 9.93% of Internet traffic. The iPhone grew even faster, albeit from a smaller base, up 9.09% to 0.48%, also a new record.

The biggest winner in January, however, was the iPod touch, whose "explosive" growth in December continued unabated after the holidays, growing 37.5% to reach a 0.11% Internet share. (See chart at right.) That means that more than one out of every 1,000 Web hits in January were made from iPod touches -- at least according to Net Applications' data.

Net Applications’ monthly surveys are conducted by sampling browser data from some 160 million visits to Web sites operated by the firm’s clients. The company describes the results as “market shares,” but they do not actually measure share of market in the traditional sense of sales revenue or unit sales. They do, however, provide a consistent methodology by which to gauge operating system trends.

To see its Feb. 1 report, click here. The results are summarized in the table below.

Although Microsoft (msft) Windows still dominates both the desktop and the Web -- with nearly 9 out of 10 page views -- it lost Internet share for the sixth month in a row. The news last month, according to Net Applications, was the surprisingly strong showing for Windows 7, an OS that has not yet been formally released. As Net Application reports:

"The Windows 7 beta releases in January have led to a spike in usage share ... This is an indication of strong interest in Windows 7, since it does not come pre-installed on a computer like Vista.  Beta users are taking the time and effort to install it on their home computers, since corporations generally prohibit beta operating systems to be used in production environments." (link)

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