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Windows 10 Reaches Desktop Majority

According to NetMarketShare, Windows 10 — in the aggregate — now runs on on more than half of the world’s desktop PCs. According to that company’s Operating System Market Share report, Windows 10 across all versions runs on 50.99% of the desktops it sees on the Internet. Windows 7 is now a surprisingly distant second, at 30.34%. It’s also interesting to observe that iOS X versions (10.14 by itself, even) outpace Windows 8.1. Follow the link at the head of this paragraph for all the counts and details. Here’s a bar graph for the top 5 items:

windows 10 reaches desktop majority

Windows 7 is starting to drop at a faster clip. Can this be a sign that corporate refresh and new business deployments are underway?
[Click image for full-sized view. Source:NetMarketShare]

A Game of Numbers

Once upon a time this ascendance would have been much bigger news than it is today. Statista estimates a global installed base of 1.33B PCs worldwide for 2018. The same source estimates the number of smartphones around the globe in 2018 at around 2.3B. Growth projections for personal computing devices versus smartphones shows a slight and gradual decline for PCs (and related devices) and sharp growth for smartphones. Thus and alas, Windows 10 has the majority on what will become an increasingly marginalized, but always important, sector of the computing economy.

More than anything else, this explains to me why MS has jumped on Azure and made it the primary focus of its future business plans. No matter what kind of device a user may employ to access mail, data, entertainment, and so forth, they’re going to be getting that content and information from the cloud. Thus, MS has been and continues to make the right technology bets. This probably also explains why they’re increasing their stock dividend and have recently announced a US$400M stock buyback plan at the same time.

Is this a case of a “big fish in a small pond?” Not yet. It’s more a case of a big fish in a big but shrinking or static pond, next door to the ocean where the real leviathans bask in the deep. According to Android director, Stephanie Cuthbertson, as of May 2019 there were “more than two and a half billion active Android devices around the world today” (emphasis mine, to indicate that the total number of such devices is much, much higher but that early/older ones are no longer in use). According to Statisa, about 1.5B iPhones have been sold since that phone was introduced in 2007, of which at least a billion are probably still in use (my estimate: I can’t find any reliable sources of data to provide a more accurate count of active iPhones [see this TechCrunch story for an interesting discussion of this topic]).

However you look at it, Microsoft’s got work to do to keep its momentum and marketshare going. The evolution of casual versus workplace/professional computing is also going to inject some odd and interesting elements into this mix.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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