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John Gruber’s faulty maths on ChromeOS

Daring Fireball Linked List: Acer and Chrome OS, Sitting in a Tree:

“Sounds like Chrome OS is starting to get some traction, but I do wonder if actual sales match the ‘shipments’. Looking at my stats here at DF, Chrome OS accounted for 0.04 percent of traffic over the last four weeks.”

I don’t think John has really thought this through. Even if ChromeOS devices had accounted for 10% of all computers sold in the last year (which no one would claim, as they’re not even available in many markets), that would still amount to a tiny proportion of the total number of installed computers worldwide. Neither shipments nor sales tell you the story of installed base, and installed base is what visitors to a site is a measure of.

As for the shipments/sales issue, I’d point to this tweet from a Dixons employee which states that in stores where they have “Chrome Zones” with Chromebooks on sale, they make up 10% of their notebook sales. That’s “sales”, not “shipments” – as in real people walking out of the door with them. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • flyingburgers

    10/.04 = 250, so the average lifespan of a computer is around 250 years?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JGEMU2BV3WZQBQRIOXKY52XOHM Moe Better

    There are a lot of assumptions in a lot of maths, but I think people are taking this a bit far…
    Just re-read this part:
    “Sounds like Chrome OS is starting to get some traction…”

    The fact that there is any Chrome OS on John’s site over 0.00% means people are buying Chrome OS enabled devices and actually using them (at least some of the time) to browser websites – such as John Gruber’s. 

    So there really is not a lot of math – faulty or otherwise, but I guess you will get some hits on your site for pointing “this faulty math” out.

  • http://twitter.com/duface2 Nate Bousfield

    Also keep in mind that it’s highly unlikely that Chromebook users are visiting a (predominately) Apple news site. 

  • Daniel Shown

    or possibly they are using an rss reader (like google reader) instead of visiting the site itself… do stats get tracked for your rss feed readers?

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    On major tracking sites, for example StatCounter, ChromeOS represents only 0.05% of web traffic.  Get this.  ChromeOS is a web browser that can surf the web.  So after 3.5 years, this web browser has captured 0.05% of the mindset on the web.  For comparison, the just released Win8 has 2.5% of the web share data.

    There is no way to spin 0.05% as anything but a complete and utter failure.

  • ddpacino

     Speaking too soon. Oh, I remember the days when people called Android a Failure back in the early days. LMAO

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    Was it ever 3.5 years after its release?  ROTFLMAO.  Really.

    0.05% web presence in 3.5 years. For an OS that is only a web browser.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Steven, I think you need to “count different”. Not sure why you think it’s 3.5 years since the release of the first Chromebook.

    Chromebooks have been publicly available for sale since June 2011 – 19 months. Prior to that the only Chromebook was the CR48, which was a dev machine which Google gave away to a selected number of developers. And the CR48 was only released in December 2010, which means even if you count from then, it’s two years and a bit. 

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    The maths I was pointing to was John’s assumption that there was a direct connection between the current rate of sale and the number of hits he’d see on the site. He’s since made it clear that this wasn’t his intention.

    I’m curious – why do you think I would care about hits on here? 

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    This is true, Nate, but I didn’t want to muddy the waters.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    If you’re using Google Analytics and they’re using Google Reader, I think so. Otherwise not.

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    Last I checked, ChromeOS was released in November 2009.  It is Feb 2013 tomorrow so it is more than 3 years and a bit less than 3.5 years.
    ChromeOS has been showing up in web stats since 2009 so yes, it is a painfully slow and sluggish start at best. There is little means to spin this in positive light.  Even 1.5 years to get 0.05% is nothing to crow about.

    At the end of the day, it is another attempt at a NetBook but even lower-end. The market success will be similar to Logitech and GoogleTV

  • Benny Kleykens

    There’s nothing wrong with the Netbook concept but Intel killed it by its refusal to provide proper CPUs to empower it. 

    A Chromebook is a Netbook Plus and this time Intel isn’t going to be able to keep the concept down because ARM processors have now shown to be capable to empower it far better than Intel’s Atoms.

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    A CromeBook is worse in concept and execution than the worst NetBook.  They are all under-powered (the faster ARM Cores are still slower than the underpowered Intel ATOM chips) web browsers and nothing else.

    A ChromeBook is a NetBook minus.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Not according to Anandtech’s benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6422/samsung-chromebook-xe303-review-testing-arms-cortex-a15/6

  • Benny Kleykens

    ARM indeed beats Intel’s Atom.
    Intel is already providing better CPUs for these “Netbooks”, not doing so would forfeit this market.
    The customer finally has access to light-weight, sufficiently fast, ergonomically sound devices at a really low cost. Out of the box it will keep the customer’s data safe and backed up. As soon as the customer grasps the benefits we’ll find that Ultrabooks are really the Niche devices.