Everyone who knows anything about computers knows that Windows won the war for the desktop a long time ago. Even today, it holds an impressive 84.1 percent of that market. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the battlefield has shifted.
In 2012, Android could claim just 2.2 percent of the total OS market (desktop PCs, laptop PCs and smart devices), compared to a hefty 82 percent market share for Microsoft’s Windows. Fast forward to 2017, and the picture is startlingly different.
Windows’ market share has dropped to 38.6 percent, with Google’s Android rapidly closing the gap, claiming 37.4 percent. Apple’s iOS comes in a distant third with 12.99 percent. TechCrunch reports, “Research from web analytics company Statcounter found Android now accounts for a larger share of internet usage than Windows for the first time. During March 2017, Android users represented 37.93 percent of activity on Statcounter’s network versus 37.91 percent for the Microsoft operating system. It’s a small gap for sure — and it refers to usage not necessary users — but it marks a notable tipping point that has been inevitable for the past couple of years.” ExtremeTech, TNW, and StatCounter also confirm.
Android has surpassed Windows as the most used OS in the world. As this trend continues, without a doubt, Windows use will continue to decline. “This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “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% of global internet usage share only five years ago.”
At this point, despite the strength of Microsoft’s latest offering, what remains to be seen, however, is whether Windows 10 will allow Microsoft to reclaim the throne. The March statistics from StatCounter indicate this isn’t likely to happen.
If you look at the numbers from just five years ago, suggesting that Android would one day dominate Windows would have been laughable. It was simply unthinkable, and yet, this is the current state of the market.
It matters because it underscores the significance of the shift away from PCs and laptops to handheld devices. That shift will alter, perhaps significantly, the shape and functionality of software for years, if not decades to come.
Since computers first entered our homes, Microsoft has been firmly in the driver’s seat. That has now changed. It’s a brave new world.