The tracking firm Dataquest’s latest numbers for market share show a continuing slow slide in Windows market share and an overall rise in the market share held by the MacOS as a whole (including what used to be called cloners). In 1996, Apple by itself was the fifth largest vendor and the MacOS as a whole held 7.8 percent of the personal computer market. A number of surveys show that the share has continued to rise since the beginning of this year.

Larry Ellison’s interest in buying Apple seems to have faded for the moment. At the same time, deals and rumors of deals continue to circulate. In the wake of Ellison’s interest in Apple, several large blocks of Apple stock were purchased, lending a certain crazed air to wall street technology pundits as they tried to determine who was behind the buys. The investment-savy Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabi purchased 5 % of Apple shares –about US$115 million– over the last several weeks. In the unsubstantiated department, workstation vendor Sun and Apple may be in talks, either for an outright acquisition, or more likely for Sun to buy Apple’s Newton technology. Newton is, by numerous reviews, the definitive hand-held OS at this point with technology far beyond that offered by the two leading competitors: Windows CE and the US Robotics Pilot. Sun is rumored to be interested in transforming the Newton into the first handheld Java device. In the meantime the speculation has driven Apple’s stock up to a high in the 19’s, before closing at 18 1/4 for the week –up from a low just over 15 just a few weeks ago.

Finally, if you’re interested in hearing more about Rhapsody, Apple’s next generation OS, check out Sam Kass’ Vision of Rhapsody. While Kass is pro-Apple, he’s part of the growing group of Apple “faithful” who seem to regard what comes out of Cupertino with just a little salt. His article is probably one of the best descriptions about this possibly future for portions of the OS industry.