Forget macOS — it's Chrome OS vs. Windows for desktop domination

As we move to cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Chrome OS, the original DaaS, moving past macOS as the No. 2 desktop.

Chrome OS Features
Google, modified by IDG Comm

I've been saying for ages now that Google's Chrome OS would become Microsoft's Windows top competitor. I had the timing wrong, but my prediction that "most of us will be moving to cloud-oriented operating systems" is finally coming true. According to IDC's latest PC sales numbers, by 2020's fourth quarter, Chromebooks were outselling Macs by two-to-one.

Specifically, in the fourth quarter of last year, Windows had 76.7% of the market (it's in no danger of losing its top ranking this decade); macOS had 7.7%; and Chrome OS had 14.4%. For 2020 year-over-year compared to 2019, Windows lost 4.9 percentage points, from 85.4% to 80.5%; macOS was up 0.8 percentage points, from 6.7% to 7.5%; and Chrome OS established itself firmly in second place by jumping 4.4 points, from 6.4% to 10.8%.

In its analysis of the 2020 personal computing device market, research firm Canalys reported that Chromebook vendors' overall market almost quadrupled in size over the same period a year earlier. As Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi put it: "Demand for Chromebooks is through the roof."

Why? That's easy. Thanks to the coronavirus, 2020 was the year where almost all of our kids "went" to school virtually via Chromebooks.

As Doshi explained: "With many countries being forced to accelerate their digital education plans in the wake of additional lockdowns, schools and universities are clamoring for easy-to-deploy solutions, and Google’s digital offerings for education are proving quite popular over rival platforms, especially in the US and Western Europe."

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