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Apple to Pass Microsoft in Streaming Media Players by Early 2011 – September 2010 Bandwidth Report

Apple is poised to pass Microsoft in the streaming media player market. Combining iTunes and QuickTime Apple narrowed the gap with Microsoft to 7.6 percentage points. At current growth rates, Apple should pass Microsoft in streaming media player usage by early 2011.

Apple Narrows Player Gap with Microsoft

Since our last streaming media report Apple has made gains in market share (from 41.2% to 42.4% from March 2010 to August 2010 respectively) while Microsoft’s total usage has declined from 72,311,000 to 70,025,000 users. Figure 1 shows the streaming media player market up until August 2010. At current growth rates, Apple iTunes plus QuickTime users should pass Microsoft users by early 2011.

Streaming Media Player Growth from November 2003 to August 2010

Figure 1: Streaming Media Player Users from 2003 to 2010
Source: The Nielsen Company

Streaming Media Player Trends

Since January 2010, Apple has narrowed the gap of player market share with Microsoft from 10.5 percentage points down to 7.6 percentage points in August 2010. Combining iTunes and QuickTime player users, Apple now stands at 42.4% share (59,414,000 (iTunes + QuickTime users) / 140,058,000 total player users) while Microsoft stands at 50% share (70,025,000 Windows Media Player users / 140,058,000 total users). Microsoft’s share rose from 47.1% in January 2010 to 50% in August 2010. Apple jumped from 36.6% share in January 2010 to 42.4% in August 2010. So even though Microsoft made a modest gain of 2.9 percentage points in 8 months, Apple jumped 5.8 percentage points, narrowing the gap from 10.5 percentage points to 7.6 between Apple and Microsoft. Apple’s growth is due largely to the growth in iTunes usage.

Further Reading

Apple Bites into Microsoft’s Streaming Media Lead
Driven primarily by the rapid growth in iTunes, Apple’s players are becoming more popular, while Microsoft and RealPlayer are losing market share. Since last year’s streaming media player roundup the gap between Apple and Microsoft has narrowed by 3.8 percentage points, from 14.3 to 10.5 percentage points from January 2009 to January 2010. Microsoft’s share of the streaming media market dropped from 50.7% in January 2009 to 47.1% a year later in January 2010. Meanwhile Apple’s combined share (unique iTunes and QuickTime users) rose from 36.4 to 36.6% share during the same period, narrowing the gap from 14.3 percentage points separating the two top players, to 10.5 percentage points as of January 2010. The Bandwidth Report, March 2010.
The Nielsen Company
Provided the streaming media data to the Bandwith Report, as of August 2010.