Google's Android just overtook Windows to become the #1 platform for getting online

Google ceo sundar pichaiJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai.

It’s the end of an era.

Microsoft’s Windows is no longer the dominant operating system in the world — a position it has held since the Eighties.

It has been dethroned by Google’s Android, underscoring the meteoric growth of mobile and how it has transformed the global computing industry in less than a decade.

According to data from research firm StatCounter, Android has now overtaken Windows to become the single most popular operating system for getting online. In March, it had 39.93% marketshare, versus Windows’ 37.91% — and the trend looks likely to continue.

As recently as January 2012, Windows had 82% of global internet usage, versus Android’s paltry 2.2%.

“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” Statcounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a statement. “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.”

You can see a graph starkly illustrating this shift below. iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, is slowly creeping upwards, while macOS (previously known as OS X, Apple’s desktop OS), has held roughly steady, declining slightly a little below 10%.)

The data above includes all platforms — desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Windows is still responsible for 84% of desktop internet usage, its traditional territory. But the broader market has transformed radically, and Microsoft has failed to capitalise on it — to Google’s huge benefit.

“Windows won the desktop war but the battlefield moved on,” Cullen said.

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