Android is now more popular than Windows worldwide

StatCounter reports Android has overtaken Windows for first time. Meanwhile, Win10 usage nudges upward while Edge slips

For the first time ever, one of the major web traffic analysis tools has found that Android is more popular than Windows worldwide. At the same time, Windows 10 is continuing to notch tiny monthly usage share gains, while Edge slipped downward in one tally. 

The Irish market measuring firm StatCounter has reported that Android has overtaken Windows for first time worldwide:

Microsoft no longer owns dominant OS. Android now world’s most popular operating system in terms of internet usage… 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 percent of global internet usage share only five years ago.

statcounter os market share 2017 03 IDG

Five years ago, StatCounter had a breathless headline stating that Chrome had overtaken Internet Explorer in the browser wars—a heretical view at the time—which foresaw the beginning of a massive shift in browser usage. Back then, the Chrome-beats-IE assertion was hotly contested by both rival market measuring firm Net Applications and Microsoft.

The fact remains, StatCounter foresaw the sea change from IE to Chrome, while Net Applications took years to reflect the uptake in its numbers.

You should expect similar squabbles about Android-over-Windows shortly, but I don’t know of anyone who thinks Windows will stage a resurgence.

It’s important to understand exactly what’s being measured. StatCounter watches hits on specific websites. According to its About page:

Stats are based on aggregate data collected by StatCounter on a sample exceeding 15 billion pageviews per month collected from across the StatCounter network of more than 3 million websites.

While Net Applications attempts to make adjustments to its observed unique user numbers to account for underrepresentation of Chinese language sites, for example, StatCounter doesn’t make such adjustments. The numbers you see from StatCounter are the numbers it counted.

Are the StatCounter numbers “accurate”? That’s a religious question only you can answer.

Last month’s usage share numbers presented another mixed bag of results, with Win10 continuing a slow growth in internet usage. (NetMarketshare says 25.19 percent in February, climbing to 25.46 percent in March; StatCounter says 33.8 percent in February, rising to 34.25 percent. See screenshot.)

usage share statcounter 2017 03 IDG

Microsoft last talked about Win10’s progress last September, when we were told that Win10 appeared on 400 million monthly active devices. I haven’t heard a whisper of an update on that figure in the past six months.

Depending on whose numbers you believe, Windows 7 usage went up in March (NetMarketshare says it went from 48.41 percent in February to 49.42 percent in March) or stayed the same (StatCounter says 47.17 percent in February, compared to to 47.06 percent in March).

The browser numbers paint Edge in a bleak light. According to NetMarketshare, usage went up imperceptibly from 5.55 percent to 5.61 percent (screenshot).

usage share netmarketshare 2017 03 IDG

While StatCounter says Edge dipped a tiny bit from 3.68 percent in February to 3.64 percent in March.

One more graph to get your brain going this morning: StatCounter says that Windows 10 now surpasses Windows 7 on the desktop – in the United States only.

usage share statcounter us 2017 03 IDG

The times, they are a-changin’.

Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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