Google is about to topple Microsoft in a key area which was 'unthinkable' five years ago

AN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 28: Google senior vice president of product Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address during the 2015 Google I/O conference on May 28, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The annual Google I/O conference runs through May 29. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Google is poised to hit a major milestone.

Its mobile operating system (OS), Android, is on the edge of overtaking Microsoft’s Windows to become the number one operating system when it comes to using the internet worldwide.

That’s according to a new report from analytics company Statcounter, which has crunched the numbers showing how over the last five years, Android’s growth has wiped out Windows’ once-unassailable lead. (We heard about the report via 9to5Google.)

Today, Windows has 38.6% marketshare for internet usage, while Google hovers just below, at 37.4%. As recently as January 2012, Windows had 82% of global internet usage, versus Android’s paltry 2.2%.

“The idea of Android almost matching Windows would have been unthinkable five years ago,” said Statcounter CEO Aodhan Cullen.

It’s testament to the rapid rise of mobile, and how new platforms have transformed how people access the internet.

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

Get the latest Google stock price here.

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