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Linux and Mac OS are the fastest-growing operating systems

Microsoft may still dominate the operating system market, but Linux and Apple’s Mac OS platforms were the fastest-growing in 2010, according to new data from Gartner.

Worldwide operating system revenue totaled $30.4 billion in 2010, Gartner reported Wednesday, representing an increase of 7.8 percent from 2009. Within that overall market, Microsoft still claims the leading position, with a 78.6 percent market share.

What’s particularly interesting, though, is the rapid growth being shown by both Linux and Macs in the server and client operating system segments, respectively.

On the client side, for instance — which as a whole grew 9.3 percent in 2010 — Mac OS was the fastest-growing subsegment in 2010, even though Windows was still the largest client OS player. Apple’s platform grew 15.8 percent to $520 million in 2010, fueled by what Gartner reports were strong sales of Mac desktops and laptops.

Microsoft’s Windows client business, by comparison, grew by only 9.2 percent.

“Apple’s making of Mac OS as a ‘cool’ client computing OS has attracted a group of loyal customers on Mac devices and platforms,” Gartner explained. “Apple’s continuous innovations in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have prompted sales of other Apple devices and will continue to drive Mac sales.”

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