The research arm of StatCounter, an independent web analytics company, has revealed an interesting stat today: according to its numbers, Android has overtaken Windows for the first time in terms of worldwide total internet usage.

This bold statement comes with a lot of asterisks. We're talking about total internet usage here, not sales numbers or users. We're also looking at worldwide usage across all platforms combined (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile). And even then, the difference is minimal at 37.93% for Android compared to 37.91% for Windows.

The distinction of platforms is important because if we were only looking at desktops, Windows would have an 84% usage share. And the worldwide stat is crucial because if we were just considering the US or Europe, Android's total internet usage would still be way below Windows. But it's in Asia that Android makes all the difference, gathering 52.2% of the share vs. Windows' 29.2%.

Still, StatCounter notes this is an important accomplishment for Android, which only had 2.4% of the usage share 5 years ago. It has seen a major leap forward thanks to the rise of the smartphone's popularity and the increasing allure of browsing on-the-go as opposed to sitting in front of a desktop or laptop computer. In the meantime, Windows hasn't been able to capture users on mobile and has also been suffering from the dwindling sales of PCs.

Press Release

Android Overtakes Windows for First Time – StatCounter

  • “Milestone in technology history and end of an era” as Microsoft no longer owns dominant OS
  • Android now world’s most popular operating system in terms of internet usage

April 03, 2017 06:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SAN FRANCISCO & DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Google’s Android has overtaken Microsoft Windows for the first time as the world’s most popular operating system (OS) in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile combined.

The research arm of StatCounter, the independent web analytics company, finds that in March, Android topped the worldwide OS internet usage market share with 37.93%, which puts it marginally ahead of Windows (37.91%) for the first time.

“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “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.”

Worldwide chart: http://gs.statcounter.com/download/os_mar_2012_2017_ww.png

Cullen said that main drivers of the breakthrough were growth of smartphones to access the internet, a decline in sales of traditional PCs and the impact of Asia on the global market.

However, Windows still dominates the worldwide operating system desktop market (PC and laptop) with a 84% internet usage share in March.

“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)."

In North America Windows (all versions) maintained its lead across all platforms with 39.5% share in March followed by iOS (25.7%) and Android (21.2%). It’s a similar story in Europe where Windows (51.7%) is more than twice the level of Android (23.6%). However, in Asia, Android is on 52.2% compared to 29.2% for Windows.

OS market share map: http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share#monthly-201703-201703-map