Google’s Android operating system has just hit a really big milestone. Not only is it the most popular mobile OS, it has now overtaken Microsoft’s Windows as the world’s most popular OS across the top most used internet-enabled devices combined.

This was announced today by global independent web analytics company, StatsCounter, which found that in March, Android topped the worldwide OS internet usage market share for desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles with 37.93%, which puts it marginally ahead of Windows at 37.91% for the first time.

It’s still possible that Windows could take its title back anytime, but the chart below shows a sharp downward trend for Windows since 2012, while Android has been seeing a slow upward trend since then, so Microsoft will have to work hard to climb back on top.

Aodhan Cullen, the CEO of StatCounter, reckons this marks the end of Microsoft’s decades-long winning streak.

“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,” he said.

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.

The map below shows which countries Android, Windows and other OSes have dominance. Android’s biggest market is Africa and South Asia, while Windows has a majority stake in the whole of North America, Europe, north Asia, Australia and most of South America.

A glimmer of hope exists for Windows in the standalone laptop and desktop market, as it still holds an overwhelming 84% when it comes to Windows-based devices in those categories accessing the internet.

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

[Source – StatCount]