Android overtook Windows as the internet’s most used operating system for the first time, in terms of total usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile combined, a new report revealed.
Research from StatCounter, a web analytics firm, found the Android operating system topped worldwide OS internet usage during March, with a market share of 37.93 per cent, marginally ahead of Windows with 37.91 per cent.
Notably, the firm did not use the word “users”, with the figures only referring to usage.
StatCounter, which based the analysis on findings from 2.5 million websites, generated the statistics by tracking the coverage of usage for the two operating systems over time, reported TechCrunch.
The analytics company’s CEO, Aodhan Cullen, said the findings were “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.”
He also said it represents a “major breakthrough for Android”, which held just 2.4 per cent of global internet share five years ago.
Asia fuels growth
StatCounter said the main drivers of the breakthrough were growth of smartphones, a decline in sales of traditional PCs and the impact of Asia on the global market.
It was in Asia that Android was particularly dominant, with usage reaching 52.2 per cent compared to 29.2 per cent for Windows. In North America, Windows maintained its lead with a 39.5 per cent market share, followed by 25.7 per cent on Apple iOS and Android with 21.2 per cent. In Europe, Windows also led, with 51.7 per cent, compared with Android’s 23.6 per cent.
The findings also raise wider questions about the future of desktops, which Windows still dominates (with 84 per cent internet usage on the platforms in March).
Cullen said Windows “won the desktop war, but the battlefield moved on”.
“It will be difficult for Microsoft to make inroads in mobile, but the next paradigm shift might give it the opportunity to regain dominance,” he said. “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.”