Not long ago I read an interesting and seemingly accurate analysis of major computer operating systems on planet earth. Who is #1? If you thought Windows, you’re right and wrong. The numbers I accept as being more accurate put Google’s Android OS as the single most used operating system among humans. Guess what? Apple’s iOS comes in second place and Windows gets dropped to third.
One could argue that Linux is the most used because it dominates in enterprise server work, shows up as the de facto leader on Internet of Things devices, and it’s also the basis of Android OS, but let’s go with Android over everything else. What about the Mac? Well, it depends on which numbers you read but the usage marketshare matters and that puts the Mac at anywhere from 5-percent to 15-percent with reality probably somewhere in the middle.
So, how is it that Windows shows up as #1?
Blame it on the government. The good old U.S. of A. feds have a program that tracks which operating systems visit government websites, and that’s where Windows is still #1 kinda sorta mostly. Mac and Windows together make up almost 60-percent of all users, but the growth among mobile operating systems should be noted; now at nearly 40-percent.
Of the mobile devices that visit U.S. government websites, 22.9-percent use iPhones or iPads, while only 16.8-percent use Android devices.
What’s with that?
I thought Android devices outnumber iOS devices by six times. Is the math wrong? No. How the math is used is wrong. Remember, lies, damned lies, and statistics. It’s common knowledge that Google’s Android OS is the top dog among the world’s most used operating systems and shows up on far more devices than Apple’s competing iOS. Most researchers who guess about such things point out Android at over 80-percent marketshare and iPhone at around 15-percent.
See the problem there?
What defines marketshare? Usage? Or, recent sales? Most of the time it’s the latter which skews the numbering system to Android. Usage is a different matter because Apple’s products tend to stay used longer than the throwaway system that cell phone makers and cell phone carriers use to promote Android devices. iPhones and iPads stay running on more recent iOS versions than anything Android, get handed down and resold, so more of the original sales remain in the market.
That accounts for this interesting statistic. Google says there are 1.6-billion Android devices on earth, while Apple says it has over 1-billion iOS users on earth. 1.6-whatever is not six times 1-whatever.
There’s another interesting statistic to come out of the government’s website data. Windows 10 shows up on only 17-percent of all users, while Apple’s iPhone and iPad customers are nearing 80-percent usage on the latest, iOS 10. Alright, that’s not Apples to apples but you see the idea. Apple’s customers upgrade to the latest operating system version than Android or Windows users. And that fact helps to keep older devices in use than competitors devices, which have little to no resale value and seldom get handed down to others.
So, Windows is #1 with government websites in the U.S. of A, but #3 with everyone else on earth.