It would have been unthinkable a few years ago: Android becoming the world’s dominant computing platform.
But the enormous growth of smartphone and tablet sales has helped Android break Microsoft Windows’ decades-long stranglehold on operating systems.
Taking PC, smartphone, and tablet shipments together, we estimate Android was the installed operating system on 53% of computing devices shipped last quarter, up from 47% a quarter prior and just 1% at the beginning of 2009.
That’s more than double Windows’ present market share. Windows shed three percentage points in the quarter, falling to 24%. That’s down from nearly 70% at the beginning of 2009.
Microsoft’s fall is being exacerbated by steep declines in the PC market. According to our data, Android overtook Windows as the computing platform shipped on the most devices during the second quarter of 2012.
It should be noted that these shares are based on quarterly shipment figures, not total installed base. Given its long reign at the top, Windows is almost certainly remains the largest computing system in the world by installed base.
As the PC market has faltered, Windows has also failed to gain traction in the smartphone and tablet markets.
Windows Phone and Windows-powered tablets combined for a scant 3% share of mobile devices shipped in the first quarter, which was a slight decline from a quarter prior. Microsoft has made some improvements to its mobile operating systems, and rolled out a slate of new products to support them, but has a long way to go to arrest Windows’ flagging market share.
Android, meanwhile, opened up a record lead in the smartphone market and grabbed the top spot in the tablet market for the first time. It controlled a 69 per cent share of the Internet-connected mobile device market in the first quarter.