Google’s Android, the most used smartphone OS has overtaken the PC colossus Microsoft Windows. According to the latest report of StatCounter (an Irish web analytics company), Windows currently is at 37.91% of the combined share of use across desktop, tablet, laptop and mobile and by a tiny margin, Android is now leading with 37.93%. On the third place is iOS with 13.09% market share, which is followed by OS X at 5.17% and Linux at merely a 0.75%. StatCounter reached this conclusion after aggregating data from a sample that exceeded more than 3 million sites.
5 years ago StatCounter announced that Internet Explorer had been beaten by Google Chrome browser. This claim was passionately contested by Microsoft and the competing firm Net Applications. Yet it predicted the beginning of a huge shift in browser use.
According to Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, “this is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era. It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market, which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4 percent of global internet usage share only five years ago.”
This isn’t surprising, since in 2016 the majority of Internet traffic was generated from mobile devices and since Android accounts for about 90% of smartphones that are used today. StatCounter’s analysis shows that in March Android dominated the world’s mobile OS with 71.61%. iOS had 19.5%, while Windows had a tiny 1.01% (which wasn’t unexpected, since the reception of the Windows Phone was poor).
Nevertheless, it should be noted, that this statistic counts only the Internet-connected devices, so it excludes a small number of desktops that are mainly employed for particular tasks. Of course, Windows still is without peer when it comes to the PC market, both desktop and laptop with a huge share of 84%. Also a lot depends on geography. Windows still holds 51.7% versus Android’s 29.2% in Europe and 39.5% versus 25.7% in North America. Because of Google’s push into developing countries in last few years, Android is much more popular in Asia (52.2% versus 29.2% for Windows.), where computers tend to be expensive and Android devices are very cheap. Android owns 62% of the market in India, 55% in Bangladesh and 42% in China. More than a half of Asian Internet users were surfing the Web with the help of Android devices last month.
Another important reason of Android’s prevalence is the rise of Chromebooks in the industry of education. Microsoft was supposed to launch a light version of Windows 10, but it didn’t hit the public limelight yet. The smartphone has always been called the ultimate device of the future and these numbers might be an indication that the dominance of mobile devices is coming soon. Experts think that Android will distance itself from Windows even more in the future months, since the PC sales are continually declining for six consecutive years and the availability of low-cost mobile Internet will likely expand in the poor and highly populated countries.
“Windows won the desktop war but the battlefield moved on,” claimed Cullen. “It will be difficult for Microsoft to make inroads in mobile but the next paradigm shift might give it the opportunity to regain dominance. That could be in Augmented Reality, AI, Voice or Continuum (a product that aims to replace a desktop and smartphone with a single Microsoft-powered phone).”