MICROSOFT HAS had a much-needed bit of good news to start the new year: after three-and-a-half years, Windows 10 has finally become the most used operating system in the world.
Figures from Netmarketshare show that, as we suspected, Windows 10 ended the year ahead of Windows 10 with a desktop/laptop market share of 39.22 per cent (+1.08) against Windows 7 with 36.90 (-1.99).
When mobile operating systems are taken into account including Android and iOS, both operating systems faced a drop in usage in December, suggesting a lot of new phones under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, Windows 10 has overtaken overall there too, with 16.04 (-0.27) against Windows 7 with 15.09 (-0.99).
Despite assurances, many businesses who had been bitten in the past, had refused to upgrade, holding steadfastly onto the venerable Windows 7, and there's a fair bet that the majority of remaining Windows 7 machines are in offices.
The latest stats, which are echoed, give or take, by rival service Statcounter, are a digest of the state of the entire computing ecosystem. Whilst overall desktop market share is shrinking as the options available for the expanding range of devices and form factors grow, they remain the most popular way to compute, and Windows remains the most popular way to consume.
Elsewhere in desktop, the most recent version of macOS (10.14) is in third place, with 4.73, followed by Windows XP which just keeps on going with 4.54, ahead of Windows 8.1 with 4.45. However, adding in the tiny proportion of users still on Windows 8.0 pushes it into third on a combined total of 5.33.
Linux holds steady at exactly two percent of the market, not including Ubuntu and Chrome OS which are measured separately.
Overall, Windows has 86.2 per cent of the market, with Mac OS holding 10.65, Linux (all versions) at 2.78 and Chrome OS on 0.32.
Year on year, Windows has lost market share. This time last year it stood at 88.51 per cent, whilst Mac OS gains from 9.02. Linux and Chrome have held steady, with slight drops that can be explained away through margin of error.
Windows 7 is due to reach end of life in just over a year, on the 14th January 2020. Now critical mass has been reached, it's likely we'll see Windows 10 charge ahead in the coming months. μ
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