16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs

In a press release on Friday, June 3, 2005, Wizzard Software explained why they believe the Macintosh market is important as they prepare to release AT&T Natural Voices for Apple’s Mac OS X:

According to a statement released earlier this year, Apple Computer reported their 2005 first quarterly revenue and net income as the highest in the history of their company, with 74% revenue growth. Apple shipped 1,046,000 Macintosh units during this quarter, representing a 26% increase in CPU units over the year-ago quarter. According to US News and World Report, Macintosh owners buy 30% more software than their Windows counterparts. Further, Macintosh software comprises over 18% of all software sold, according to the Software and Information Industry Association. In addition, the Software Publishers Association (SPA) estimates that 16 percent of computer users are on Macs.

Also, on Thursday, June 2, 2005, Winn Schwartau, one of the country’s leading experts on information security, infrastructure protection and electronic privacy, summed up his first month’s experiences in his conversion from Windows to Mac:

In the WinTel world, could you do this? Or maybe you should ask, ‘Do I really want all of that paranoia to go away? Do I really want to spend more time enjoying whatever the hell I do on my ‘puter, or maybe I should continue wasting hours every week on security crap that shouldn’t be a problem in the first place? Hey. It’s just a question.

Matthew G. Solovey, writing for The Hershey Chronicle on Thursday, June 2, 2005, explained:

As Windows users continue to run their adware, spyware, and virus removal programs, Macintosh enthusiasts have enjoyed – literally – zero viruses. Adware and spyware are nonexistant as Mac users surf the Web without issue. OS X’s UNIX shell is a secure system that keeps your computer safe, and Apple has built in a firewall for added security. In addition, it’s stable. OS X users report months without rebooting their computers.

MacDailyNews Take: Put the ingredients together, stir gently and bake for 10 minutes. What you get is surprisingly delicious: more people use Macs than most people realize and those Mac users efficiently surf the Web with impunity on stable systems that aren’t bogged down by unnecessary virus and malware scanners.

[UPDATED: 6/15/05, 8:05pm EDT]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
AT&T Natural Voices coming soon for Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2005

Survey shows Apple Macs owned by nearly 10 percent of US small and medium-sized businesses – February 17, 2005
More people use Apple Macs than you think; 8-12 percent of homes use Macs – March 31, 2004
10 percent of computer users use a Mac; 3 percent is Mac’s approximate quarterly market share – February 10, 2004
Syracuse Post-Standard: 3 percent is a false stat; Mac holds ’10 to 12 percent of the market for PCs – August 27, 2003

Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Is Mac OS X really inherently more secure than Windows? – August 26, 2003

Hershey Chronicle: Now’s the time for Windows users to consider Apple’s ‘zero virus’ Mac – June 02, 2005
Security expert sums up first month with Mac: ‘much safer, more secure, more productive than Wintel’ – June 02, 2005
Intel CEO Otellini: If you want security now, buy a Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC – May 25, 2005
Intel CEO Otellini: If you want security now, buy a Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC – May 25, 2005
Microsoft Windows Sober.P worm shows ‘epidemic’ spread; Macintosh unaffected – May 03, 2005
Apple touts Mac OS X security advantages over Windows – April 13, 2005
New ‘highly critical’ Office flaw embarrasses Microsoft – April 13, 2005
97,467 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – April 05, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X is virus-free – March 18, 2005
68,736 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – March 12, 2005
Microsoft tries to turn its own security flaw into commercial gain – February 25, 2005
Cybersecurity advisor Clarke questions why anybody would buy from Microsoft – February 18, 2005
Unlike Windows users, Mac OS X users surf the Internet without a care in the world – December 28, 2004
Windows spyware mess is out of control, get a Mac and surf with impunity – December 21, 2004
Detroit Free Press: Windows malware problem getting worse, it’s time to get a Mac instead – December 16, 2004
Sick of spyware, adware headaches? Get a Mac and surf the Internet freely – December 13, 2004
Mossberg: Windows PCs plagued with problems, Apple’s Mac is ‘rock solid, elegant and affordable’ – December 09, 2004
Security expert: Don’t use Microsoft Windows, Office, Outlook, Internet Explorer – December 09, 2004
Sick of spyware, adware infecting your PC? Don’t fret, just get a Mac – November 01, 2004
Spyware plagues Windows users while Mac users surf Net with impunity – November 01, 2004
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Windows users’ security woes spark interest in Apple’s secure Mac OS X – October 06, 2004
Windows desktop monopoly threatened by secure, safe Apple Mac OS X – October 04, 2004
Even Bill Gates can’t avoid Windows malware; Mac users surf the Web freely – October 03, 2004
Cyber-security adviser uses Apple Macintosh to avoid Windows’ security woes – September 27, 2004
Information Security Investigator says switch from Windows to Mac OS X for security – September 24, 2004
Mossberg: Apple iMac G5 ‘powerful, affordable, virus-free with better, more modern OS than Windows XP’ – September 23, 2004
USA Today: people are switching from Windows to Mac because of security issues – September 21, 2004
Windows besieged by hackers; number of Windows viruses soars by more than 400% – September 20, 2004
USA Today columinst angry about Windows viruses, adware, spyware – September 15, 2004
University of Chicago recommends all students patch Windows at least once a day – September 14, 2004
Windows XP worm speaks to users as it deletes their files; Macintosh unaffected – September 13, 2004
Security is top priority in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 12, 2004
Millions of Windows PC’s hijacked by hackers, turned into zombies; Macintosh unaffected – September 08, 2004
Mossberg: Dump your Windows machine and get an Apple Macintosh to free yourself of spyware – August 25, 2004
Tired of patching patches to patch Windows patches? Writer suggests getting a Mac – August 03, 2004
Windows ‘Scob’ virus designed to steal financial data, passwords; Macintosh unaffected – June 26, 2004
Gartner: Worms jack up the total cost of Microsoft Windows – May 07, 2004
Spyware, adware plague Windows users online; Mac OS X users surf freely – April 19, 2004
SmartMoney: Long-suffering Windows users can only dare to dream of Mac’s ease-of-use – February 12, 2004
Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows? – February 11, 2004
Gates: Windows ‘by far the most secure’ system; tries to use ‘Mac OS X secure through obscurity’ myth – January 27, 2004
Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg on making the switch from Windows to Mac – September 18, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times columnist: Windows ‘many holes in its security’ but ‘none of my Macs have ever been affected – August 26, 2003
Sick of worms and viruses? ‘Move to Mac OS X’ suggests Chicago Tribune columnist – August 25, 2003
Virus and worm problems not just due to market share; Windows inherently insecure vs. Mac OS X – August 24, 2003


  1. It confirm what I was thinking.

    Mac users are more inclined to pay for software, just as they are more inclined to pay for online digital music…

    Why do you think Apple is dominating the online music store market? Aside from having the best product?

    Because Mac users and PC users that like Apple are valuing intellectual property more than the average folks. These people know that Apple was more than once “copied” by companies like Microsoft.

    People that don’t want to give Apple any credit are often people that don’t value intellectual property in general. “Everyone is copying (each other) anyway” is their moto…

    Another reason why Mac users put more value in IP is that many of them are content creator themselves.

  2. so what about Linux then??? we don’t have very many viruses either… I’m sure that a very high proportion of that 16% figure is really Linux users.

  3. advocate_one, even if half of those were Linux users, lets say 8%, that would leave 8% for Macs and that would still be much higher than the 2% numbers that some people like to repeat (Yes it’s the percentage of computer sold, not the installed based and the number actually rose to 3.6%)

    But I wonder how they could make such a stupid error in their research.

    In reality, I doubt that 8% of computer users run Linux as their only OS. Many dual boot, and still use Windows a good part of the time. Developers wont port applications to another OS if the people using it are just a reboot away from Windows. (Hence when they do port to another OS they chose the Mac OS because its users -can’t- use Windows)

    The real installed base of Mac users in percentage of home computer users are probably something like 8-10%

  4. Virtual-Twin wrote “Because Mac users and PC users that like Apple are valuing intellectual property more than the average folks.”

    Actually most Mac users don’t give a diddly about IP. What Mac users do care about is a job well done. If the IP is original or “borrowed” they care about, do not.

    I have over US$5000 ( that’s three zeroes ) of software, published and shareware, that I have paid for in the past three and a half year ( since I switched to Mac ), and mostly I’m pleased about every penny I have shelled out.

    A good product and good service is what people care about. The “IP” is something most people don’t evenn understand ( and at least for now, a US only thing – software isn’t patentable in EU/EFTA, not yet and hopefully never )

  5. Basically this “research” is worthless. Even taking them at face value and assuming that 16% of users are not suffering from virus and malware attacks, what makes them think that equates to Mac usage? Linux users, many of whom no longer dual-boot (dual-booting is SO 20th century, darling!) are at least as secure from these programs as Mac users. But even Windows users can be too.

    I have unpatched Windows 98 machines running behind a one-line Linux firewall with no problems because the users are smart enough to never open strange email attachments, never follow dubious links and never ever use IE to browse the Web. That’s pretty well all it takes. That 16% is not going to be all Mac users. probably not even half once Linux; BSD; sensible old Windows users; and modern, firewall-included, Firefox-using Windows users are subtracted out.

  6. “Even taking them at face value and assuming that 16% of users are not suffering from virus and malware attacks, what makes them think that equates to Mac usage?”

    Idiot. The article says:

    ‘In addition, the Software Publishers Association (SPA) estimates that 16 percent of computer users are on Macs.’


    ‘Macintosh enthusiasts have enjoyed – literally – zero viruses’

    This is NOT equivilant to “16% of computer users do not suffer viruses and all of them are Mac users”

    Read the damn thing before posting.

  7. “16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs”

    Maybe you should try reading at least the headline before telling people to read the article. I agree, though, that the article conflates several different sources and then throws in the above title for no justifiable reason.

    On the other hand, 16% Mac usage is simply not believable. My experience is that Mac and Linux are about tied so that would make Windows’ market share just under 70%, and that’s just not right. Regardless of Linux, web log stats consistantly show Mac useage in the low single figures. Are Mac users in some way averse to using the Web? I don’t think so.

    As I said, this “research” is worthless.

  8. Don’t forget the huge number of Macs around that never show up on any internet usage statistics becuase they are not connected to the net. I think of production systems in newspapers, video-editing, music-editing/creating. Systems that are on separate networks, physically disconnected from the Internet. This is areas where macs always have been popular.

  9. I don’t think you’ll see Apple hype this very much because this is the type of thing that could backfire. As Mac gain a larger market share, they become a more desirable target and virus will eventually be written. I think OS X does a much better job than other OS’s in closing security holes (along with other BSD systems), but these are the types of stories I’m sure Apple loves to see others promote while they sit back quietly and smile.

  10. I’m a little confused here. This 16% figure seems to be based on sales of software, right? If this is the case (and it seems to be) then isn’t this about as spurious as countering ‘computer sales’ to estimate the percentage of users.

    And where does this leave me. I’m a Linux user. In the past five years I’ve used Linux on desktops and servers, I’ve never violated the usage rights on software and (here’s the kicker) I’ve never paid for software. Nadda, not a cent.

    So how many Linux users are there out there that are completely ignored by counting software sales? Given there wasn’t a single mention of computer users that use open source software, it’s hard to take these statistics that seriosly?

    It looks more like some statician’s attempt at trying to mount an argument that more manufacturers should focus on Mac users that any credible assessment of who uses what.

  11. While Mac OS X 10.3.9 IS stable and can run months without reboots, the Apple’s Tiger, the new boy in town, keeps crashing all the time and, apparently, is the most unstable and full of bugs version of Mac OS X ever 🙁

  12. Since upgrading to tiger on 4 different machines, so many apps crash regularly.. suprisingly the apps that crash the most are apple apps (mail, safari) and the dashboard frequently takes 15-20% cpu bogging down the system.

  13. I have Mac OS X 10.4.1 Tiger running on an installation of over 800 Macs comprising over 8 different Mac models. It is rock solid for me. Sounds like a few users above have corrupted prefs and/or are trying to run apps that’s aren’t updated for Tiger. Unless you know what the hell you’re talking about, you should not be blaming Tiger.

  14. *Sigh* You guys don’t understand how much this sucks for 100% lifetime mac users. The more people coming over to this side, the more it sucks. I feel like I don’t want to share the good stuff. If we get anywhere near 50% of the market, we will no longer have the “virus free” thing. THe only reason we are virus free is be cause viruses come from nerds, nerds are lazy, and the payoff for writing a virus for the mac is not worth the effort.

    Such sad sad times…

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