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Android surpasses Windows as the world's most popular OS

According to the independent web analytics company StatsCounter, Android reached a very big milestone in March, overtaking Windows as the world's most popular operating system in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile combined. It was marginal, but Android topped the worldwide OS internet usage market share with 37.93%, with Windows just behind at 37.91%.

According to StatsCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen, the main drivers of this breakthrough have been the global growth of smartphones usage for connecting to the internet, decline in sales of traditional PCs, and the impact of Asia on the global market. Microsoft Windows still owns the majority market share among desktop operating systems (PCs and laptops) and also remains the dominant operating system across all platforms in North America (Windows at 39.5%, iOS at 25.7%, Android at 21.2%), but Android's growth on the global stage does highlight our growing reliance on mobile technology.

"Windows won the desktop war, but the battlefield moved on," said Cullen. "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)."

While Windows will likely continue to dominate the desktop market, it will be interesting to see whether Samsung's new Dex dock will catch on and eat into Microsoft's market share further.

You can dive into StatCounter map deeper statistics and maps from March here.

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

34 Comments
  • In mobile yeah but not on desktop. I think thats two different scenario.
  • No......... "According to the independent web analytics company StatsCounter, Android reached a very big milestone in March, overtaking Windows as the world's most popular operating system in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile combined."
  • Well he's sorta right...... Microsoft Windows still owns the majority market share among desktop operating systems (PCs and laptops) and also remains the dominant operating system across all platforms in North America (Windows at 39.5%, iOS at 25.7%, Android at 21.2%)...
  • Only for internet access. Without that, embedded Linux would be leading.
  • Mention that chrome os on my pc is real android too, i think windows will down if still insist have to pay. When windows free os , still have to fight from ground zero. Its still to late for freeing windows os.
  • You should read the article
  • Reading is fundamental
  • So you think that Windows has 37.91% of the mobile market?
  • Read the article first... 
  • You can see this coming. More people bring thier phones around and leave the pc at home
  • This is so stupid. A phone can never compare to a Pc. Besides more people have phones than Pc's. So, how can this ever be a valid comparison.
  • OS and what talks to internet most, according to this Android is the OS most used to access internet. Plain and simple it's not stupid, if anything to believe this wasn't going to happen sooner or later is denial.
  • Surveys are usually only focused about one topic(this one bring the most used OS on web browsing) then media outlet will blow things out of proportion on their headlines because lets be honest here, how many people actually read an entire article this days?
  • This isn't based on a survey, but actual statistics collected by websites from the devices that are accessing them.
  • Ah yeah, I used the wrong word. Still the same situation though about media headlines.
  • Whatever...
  • Not surprised. I heard also that Linux was gaining in server OS stats over Windows... Forgot what version of Linux...
  • It's probably Ubuntu. I switched to Linux Mint, (Ubuntu), a few years ago, and with the Cinnamon desktop, it was similar enough to Windoze, that I had no problem getting used to it. Ubuntu can be booted and either run or installed from a CD, making it easy to try. There is also an Android app so you can run your phone on your desktop with Ubuntu. I would never go back to Windows. I run my Windows programs using WINE. It works for me, but I'm not a big gamer, so YMMV. I mostly use open source software, which is frequently better than the commercial stuff. Linux probably isn't for everyone, but with Ubuntu, it's wonderful for a lot of us!
  • *pointless article is pointless* Nothing to see here folks. Don't start celebrating..
  • Pointless? Android becoming the OS that is used to access the internet more than any other OS is a story on a site called ANDROID CENTRAL. This seems exactly the sort of information that this site SHOULD disseminate. SMH.
  • Crying emojiis and Sad Trombones all over Redmond this week (on employees' Android phones and iPhones).
  • Oh yeah, firing up my desktop right now to the beat of android 7.0 /s....
    Listen I love android dearly, but mobile and desktop are 2 different animals.
    Maybe in 10yrs this will be substantial and windows will be like atari
  • Microsoft is working with Samsung on their desktop venture. What would be really cool is a phone that picks up where you left off on a game, like the Nintendo Switch concept.
  • An interesting followup to this graph is something showing the crazy growth in the total number of devices. Android's growth - or rather the Windows decline - as a percentage, has more to do with more new things being made non-windows, than current Windows things going away. It's not always a direct competition... it's new ways of doing things. Definitely highlights major missed opportunity by Microsoft (even though they are doing just fine as a company), and Apple to some extent - which sounds odd considering their wild success.
  • Ha ha.
  • Yea I can't do my job in IT with Android OS. Can you run SQL Server on Android?
  • This is connection to the internet , not which OS is best for any particular function. Nothing else AT ALL is mentioned and/or compared.
  • no and you can't win indy 500 in a mac truck either. We have to get away this one type of computing device mentality - the days of PC-only for everyone are long gone. Good riddance.
  • Well, hold on now, I know that Android is not Linux (or rather it runs on top of Linux) but we've been evaluating SQL Server on Linux for a few months so if it will run on Linux it's just a matter of time before it's ported and you can run your entire business from the palm of you hand with a complete stack including SQL Server. Muahahaha! :-)
  • Actualy im in the way to chrome os. Meaning android too. And im hobbiest in 3ds max, meaning learning on the way to blender. So far thats so many similarity and power on blender. Its gone be, my laptop and my phone is united hahahahaha they will merried and have son call productivity and unlimited cteativity
  • "but the next paradigm shift might give it the opportunity to regain dominance. That could be in Augmented Reality, AI, Voice or Continuum" :))) Continuum? Sorry, Samsung made it better already so forget it Microsoon :))! Next paradigm shift? :))) which one? MS will fail on every one of them :)) AR? Apple will come with something much better. AI,Voice?? Samsung and Apple will do better...MS is always either late or with mediocre implementation.
  • I love that "paradigm Shift"....MS speak for we don't know what the **** we are doing with mobile. WELL....they just got it right....ditch the windows 10 mobile and move to android. SMART
  • THERE IS A GOD! Finally the world has recognized what a POS Windows is and is letting Unix take over. The world's largest class action lawsuit should be against MS for all of the wasted time getting updates, blue screens, etc, etc., etc. May this trend continue and MS goes the way of Kodak (no Kodak deserves better) Microsoft survives on 3 good apps; Word, Excel, .....well 2 good apps. RIH (Rest in Hell)
  • Android is doing very well in the phone space, and while I have an android tablet, its limited in function and storage so I bought a surface pro 3 (128 GB internal and 256 GB micro Sd card) and its fantastic, does everything I need to. It runs remote desktop to log in to work, it has a full size USB 3 port for memory sticks, SD card reader to transfer photos etc, the built in windows mail can run gmail, email and outlook all in the one space, it runs my mapping software. Doesnt have a GPS though, but the 8" android tablet is good for that. Horses for courses, Android will never replace windows on a larger screen for work related stuff, or will it? When doing work its much better with the screen vertical, a good keyboard and a mouse ( for me anyway). I wouldnt like to type a 4 A4 page document on my android tablet or phone, I cant see a large spreadsheet or map on those devices either. If your life doesnt require these things then just a phone might be fine, they do a lot these days. BTW, the windows 10 app store now has an app that allows you to load android and run it full screen, need more time to play but on a 13" screen this is interesting! However the windows app store now has a very large number of apps, in fact it has all the apps I use on android except one (even though the play store has 10 times a many apps, many are look alikes). I actually considered a windows phone but I need that app. I know a few people with a windows phone and they are happy. Since I can get office mobile on my android phone and sync everything from PC-email contacts and calendar, it doesnt seem to matter not having a windows phone.
    I note some poeple on this forum are happy to discuss, others like to be rude about things they disagree with. Keep it polite people or I will leave this forum! Ad Hominem arguments are no argument at all.