Windows drops below 90% market share

Macs, smartphones and tablets eat into Windows' dominance

I recently reported that Windows is on the verge of dropping below 90% market share - not because fewer people are using Windows PCs, but because of the proliferation of mobile operating systems such as Apple's iOS and Android. (Macs are doing pretty well too.)

This barrier has just been crossed, with Windows' market share now at 89.7%, according to Net Applications.

Some commenters on my previous story pointed out that Windows actually dropped under 90% long ago, at least according to some tracking organizations, including W3Counter. Other groups such as StatCounter have the Windows figures still running greater than 90%, although StatCounter does not include mobile operating systems in that calculation.

The key to Net Applications' data is that the organization is countring growth in all sorts of operating systems across both desktops, mobile devices and even gaming systems. By this measure, Mac has 5.25% of the market, iOS has 2.05%, Linux is at 0.95%, Java ME is at 0.81% and Android is at just 0.49%.

Our previous story delved into some of the reasons for the decline in Windows' market share and put it into perspective. Here is some of the text for those who would like to read it:

Windows is on the verge of dropping below 90% market share, with smartphones and tablets posing an increasingly serious threat to Microsoft's dominance of the operating system market.

Data from Net Applications -- which lumps mobile and desktop operating systems into one statistic -- show that Windows market share dropped from 93.74% in February 2009 to 90.29% in December 2010. Windows was still above 92% market share as recently as February 2010 but suffered steady losses during the rest of the year.

"The operating system usage market share trend line points to Windows' overall usage falling below 90% sometime during 2011," says Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of marketing and strategic alliances for Net Applications. "The timing depends on several market forces. It could be as early as next month, or possibly not at all."

Microsoft's continued dominance of the desktop operating system market will likely not be enough to keep Windows' total share above 90%, because the proliferation of smartphones and tablets is changing the definition of what a personal computer is. Microsoft's mobile efforts revolving around Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 in tablets will be crucial for Redmond."

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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