22 September 2005

NetNewsWire and RSS

According to FeedBurner stats as recent as early 2005, NetNewsWire was the most popular desktop newsreader on the market. Not surprised? Read that sentence again. That's right, it's the most popular desktop newsreader on any platform. Somewhat astonishing when you consider NetNewsWire is a Macintosh-only program.

That quote of a quote comes from Ars Technica in a review of RSS Readers for the Mac platform (a very good article with a predictable conclusion!).

I've just got 2 things to say on this:
1. NetNewsWire is an application that has done more for my personal productivity than any other application I can think of in recent memory. I really, really like it (and the concept of RSS). I have just 2 wishes - that it's memory problems (which I think are really Webkit memory problems) get solved and that we can move to some form of efficient Realtime RSS so we don't poll sites every interval but get the notification as it happens.

2. What does this stat mean though? At its simplest it could just be that there are many more RSS readers on the Windows platform with no dominant player. AFAIK there are only a few popular packages though, so that's not the whole story. It implies to me that Mac's market share among early adopters (journalists, media people, IT users, high-end professional people?) is considerably more than it's current ~5% of US PC market. It was the same sort of early adopter phenomenon that led to iPod take-off. While it may not be right to talk about "early adopters" in the mature world of PC's, it still seems to me that Apple has some building blocks to really make inroads into the Windows world if it executes well. I don't mean 70% market share of iPod, but I do think it could easily move towards 10-15% quite quickly. My anecdotal reports of friends buying macs (switching back or switching for the first time) makes me more confident that this isn't just wishful thinking.

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