Microsoft, Red Hat, Apple see OS revenues grow handsomely in 2010

Microsoft, the maker of the Windows Operating system, increased its already high market-share by 0.7 percentage points to 78.6% of the total worldwide operating system market, Gartner said.

Total operating system (OS) revenues for Microsoft jumped to $23.85 billion dollars in 2010, higher than the total turnover of most big corporations in the world, according to Gartner.

Gartner arrives at its numbers through market research and may not base it on company disclosures.

There was, however, good news for open source enthusiasts too. The only billion dollar open source company, Red Hat, saw its operating system revenues grow even faster at 18% at 0.61 billion dollars.

The biggest gainer was Oracle, which ironically, bases its operating system on the code released by Red Hat. OS revenues for Oracle went from just $10 million to $780 million during 2010.

Apple’s OS revenues were up by 15.8% to $520 million.

“Among client OSs, Mac OS was the fastest-growing sub segment in 2010 as the unit shipments of Mac desktop/laptop devices saw strong sales, although from a much-smaller basis. Windows client was still the largest client OS segment, with high-single-digit growth, particularly driven by adoption of Windows 7 and the imminent end of life (EOL) of Windows XP,” Gartner said.

It was good news for Linux in the server market, as Linux (server) was the fastest-growing sub segment in 2010 as end users adopted more open-standard systems. Within the Unix OS market, IBM AIX had high single-digit growth, but Unix generally experienced modest or negative growth.