The chart at right is getting all sorts of attention this morning, but I don’t think it means nearly as much as some tech bloggers are reading into it.

When the first Macintosh was launched in 1984, it sold 372 thousand units. In that same year, Microsoft sold over 2 million licenses for its competing operating system, MS-DOS.  As time went by, that ratio grew even larger.

The ratio between the 2 OSes has been a favorite topic for tech bloggers, who’ve used it to judge the relative market dominance of Windows vs Mac. As you can see in the chart, Windows continued to outpace the growth of Mac sales up until 2004, when Windows outsold OSX by a factor of 60.

And then things turned around for Apple. The graph has started a downward slope in 2004 as OSX sales picked up, and the trend only worsened as the iPhone and iPad were released. Today, Windows is only outselling OSX by a factor of 18. If you add in the other Apple gadgets, the ratio drops to 2:1.

Some bloggers are pointing at the lower ratios as a sign that the time of Windows has come and gone, but I disagree.  The graph above doesn’t show a fair comparison.

The problem with including iPhone sales in this graph is that an iPhone cannot replace my Windows laptop. The same goes for the iPad.  Since iOS and Windows aren’t the same market, comparing their sales is like comparing Apples and automobiles.

And besides, the Windows vs OSX ratio is bad enough news for Microsoft.  Or it would, if not for the fact that it shows OSX has only 5% or 6% of the market. At best you could describe that 6% as a paltry market share. Let me know when OSX hits 10% of the market; then I might be interested.

via Asymco