In what StatCounter describes as "unthinkable five years ago", Google's Android is challenging Microsoft Windows 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 web analytics company StatCounter finds that in February 2017, while Windows remained top of worldwide OS internet usage market share with 38.6%, Android came within striking distance on 37.4%.
"The idea of Android almost matching Windows would have been unthinkable five years ago," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "In January 2012 Windows held 82% global internet usage share compared to just 2.2% for Android."
He said that the development was a function of the growth of smartphones to access the internet as well as a slowdown in sales of traditional PCs plus the impact of Asia on the global market.
Windows still dominates the worldwide operating system desktop market (PC and laptop) with a 84.1% internet usage share in February.
StatCounter recently reported that in October 2016 internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop and laptop worldwide for the first time.
In North America Windows (all versions) maintained its lead across all platforms with 40.7% share in February followed by iOS (24.9%) and Android (20.3%). It's a similar story in Europe where Windows (51.8%) is more than twice the level of Android (23.5%). However, in Asia, Android is now over 50% (51.8%) compared to 29.8% for Windows.
StatCounter data also finds that Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 for the first time in North America in December.