The market watchers at StatCounter have some important news from their internet usage numbers for the month of March. The company says that for the first time, Android is the world’s most popular operating system across any form factor for internet use. This means Microsoft’s Windows OS is now down into second place.
If you follow these kinds of stats (we do, it’s our job) then you will know it can get a bit boring. In terms of internet use across platforms, the market has been stationary. Windows has been top of the pile for a long time, and Android has been second.
So, the fact Google’s mobile OS tracked above Windows during March is a seismic event. Admittedly, it has been coming for some time as Android has continued to eat into Microsoft’s lead.
Nevertheless, it is yet further confirmation that Microsoft’s core user base is moving away. PCs, the long-time stable for Windows, are on a slippery slope and simply not selling. In the meantime, Google capitalized on the smartphone boom better than most. Android is comfortably the most used platform on handsets.
Let’s look at it like this: each year, around one billion Android devices are sold, while around 200 million Windows devices are sold. With that kind of margin, Android’s ascension to the top was inevitable.
It is definitely worth pointing out a couple of things. Firstly, StatCounter is the first tracking firm to put Android at the top. More will probably follow, but these results are not yet 100% conclusive. Secondly, the margin of Android’s lead is tiny, 37.93% compared to 37.91% for Windows. In other words, Microsoft could reclaim the internet usage lead this month.
There is a solid argument to say Android passed Windows a long time ago. StatCounter compiles its data from web tracking software on 2.5 million websites. This has limitations when looking at the mobile market. Many mobile users perform internet tasks through apps.
This discrepancy can be seen in the low numbers for Apple’s iOS, which we know has many more internet users than is suggested. Without factoring apps, Android still managed to claw its way above Windows.
StatCounter certainly has good form in successfully getting market tracking right. The company was among the first to successfully say Chrome had overtaken Internet Explorer as the most used web browser.