Android has overtaken Microsoft's Windows as the world's most popular operating system for the first time, a report by StatCounter has revealed.
The Google-developed OS has topped Windows in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile combined. With the latter category’s huge influence doing most of the heavy lifting to push that result.
StatCounter found that in March, Android hit 37.93 percent market share, which put it 0.02 percentage points ahead of Windows, at 37.91 percent.
The web analytics company’s chief executive, Aodhan Cullen, said it was a milestone in technology history and “the end of an era”.
“It marks 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,” he said.
Looking to Australia, Windows remains the leading OS overall, though it has lost a slice of its market share, slipping to 37.9 percent in March, down from 43.9 percent for the same period last year. Conversely, mobile operating systems iOS and Android have risen, with iOS reaching 31.4 percent up from 27.8 percent and Android sitting in third place with 15.3 percent, up from 12.8 percent. Apple’s OSX held 13.54 percent market share in Australia, a marginal increase from 13.21 percent last year.
Cullen said the growth of internet enabled smartphones and the decline in PC sales were contributors to the Android rise.
Windows maintains a dominant lead when it comes to local and global desktop OS market share, at 84 percent globally and 72 percent in Australia.
“Windows won the desktop war but the battlefield moved on,” Cullen said.
"It will be difficult for Microsoft to make inroads in mobile but the next paradigm shift might give it the opportunity to regain dominance. That could be in augmented reality, AI, voice or Continuum (a product that aims to replace a desktop and smartphone with a single Microsoft-powered phone)."
Windows is rumoured to be in development of a Surface Phone, with which it would pin its hopes on reclaiming some market share in the mobile battleground.