By Ariel Elkin

Editorial: Is It the End of an Era for Windows?

By Ariel Elkin

The world of mobile has just passed an important milestone: Android is now the world’s most popular operating system for accessing the internet.

Research carried out by analytics firm StatCounter has found that in the month of March 2017, internet usage on Android surpassed internet usage on Windows.

Yet StatCounter’s CEO, Aodhan Cullen, was ecstatic:

This is 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% of global internet usage share only five years ago.

Android is indeed making enormous leaps in the wider IT space, seducing millions of new users every year. Android has provided a viable platform for the world to access the internet. The shift to mobile has not been uniform accross the globe: In Europe, Android has just has 23.6% of the market share; in Africa it owns 53.5% (versus 35% for Windows), in Asia, 52.2% (versus 29.2% for Windows).

However, Android’s bigger worldwide market is so by a small margin: 37.93% versus Windows’ 37.91%, so we’re talking about two hundredths percentage points. Can we call it “the end of an era” just yet?

Whether or not it will depends much on the kinds of tasks people need their internet devices for, and the kind of input those tasks require. If we take a look at the world’s top 10 websites, as ranked by Alexa, we find websites that mainly offer reading text, watching media, or commenting on the aforementioned (YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Qq). From the point of view of a user, these types of interactions can be perfectly accomplished with a tappable screen; a desktop computer would be an excessive amount of hardware to accomplish that task.

Is Cullen right in claiming this is the end of an era, or do you think this is still premature?



  • Shahroze Nawaz

    well this is an established fact that Android is taking over all the market share from windows but windows is not going any where. Still many enterprise firms are using only windows OS and resources.

  • Rasmus Schultz

    What you’re really asking is this: is the casual computer (tablet) overtaking the home computer? Then, yes – but nothing new there, we’ve known that was the trend for a long time.

    Has it (or will it) make home computers any less relevant? Of course not. Windows is more relevant than ever for home computers, both for work and play. With the latest update, we developers are getting a cooperative Linux kernel, which, in my opinion will make Windows the best Linux OS around. Gamers are close to getting very high quality, affordable VR gear, and a great platform for VR consumption and development. In recent takers, Microsoft have embraced the developer community, involved themselves in the open source community, and have published so many influential open source products and tools, there is really no other company that comes close at this point.

    To ask at this point in time if Windows is coming to an end, is silly. Windows is a better product than ever before, and I dare say, for the first time in 30 years, I really think it’s the best OS around.

  • Matti

    No. Windows and Android are different markets.

  • bjr53

    This is dumb. Typical media sensationalism with an over promising headline and under delivering content offering nothing by just stating the obvious. Is this statistic interesting? Mildly. Is it a surprise? Nope! Is it sufficient to answer the headline by itself? Of course not. Is Windows dominance at an end of an Era? Probably, depending what your definition of that Era is, but these statistics just highlight the obvious device usage amongst people. The difference in ‘so called’ market share is surely within the limits of statistical discrepancy and therefore it’s too soon to call it anyway. But, these statistics don’t answer this question,”are less people accessing the internet from Windows than previously?”. Yes more people are accessing the internet from other devices as a percentage of all device based access but maybe they are just accessing the internet more because they have more options from which to do it. Additionally internet reliance is increasing. Thus this statistic doesn’t necessarily mean people access the internet from Windows any less than they did before, in fact, it could easily be more than before. Therefore this statistic by itself is of limited use. My problem is not with reporting the statistic but how it was reported. Over promising and under delivering is rife throughout the media but is frowned upon by all the marketing text books I’ve read and colloquially referred to as ‘crying wolf’. Keep it up and people will start ignoring you completely.
    Windows is now by definition spyware, and adware. It reboots your computer without permission thereby loosing your work and interfering with productivity which are common side effects of a virus. Microsoft have their heads in the sand and seem to be missing the obvious at every turn but belligerently stand by their poor decisions when the stupidity of them is repeatedly pointed out and there is no basis to reasonably defend them. I could go on but the point is this: I’m not a Microsoft fanboy trying to defending their position. Just last night I lost productivity due to windows updates forcibly rebooting my computer in the middle of a work deadline. This had significant consequences and lost me work. Words fail to convey how much I despise Microsoft and Windows. Is it the best OS? I say, “Hell No!”. But it depends on your definition. The first chance I get I’ll be moving my desktop onto a non Microsoft platform.

Get the latest in Mobile, once a week, for free.