Desktop, Mobile OS Market Share Data Shows Intriguing Shifts

Desktop, Mobile OS Market Share Data Shows Intriguing Shifts
There's No Sign of Windows Slowing Down
Linux Is Still Holding On
Windows 10 Continues to Make Strides
Market Fragmentation Persists Even for OS X
Windows XP Continues to Fade From the Market
iOS Device Market Continues a Gradual, but Steady Rise
But the iPad Isn't Sharing in the Growth
The Sad Tale of BlackBerry OS
Kindle Fire Is Barely Hanging On
Windows Shows a Modest Rise in Mobile Market Share
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Desktop, Mobile OS Market Share Data Shows Intriguing Shifts

NetMarketShare's most recent report on the state of desktop and mobile operating systems provides some intriguing findings about the OS landscape.

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There's No Sign of Windows Slowing Down

Windows is still the most dominant desktop PC operating system in the world, and there are no signs of that changing. NetMarketShare's definition of desktop PCs also includes laptops, notebooks and hybrids. At the end of October, Windows market share stood at 90.4 percent, easily outpacing the second-place platform, Apple's OS X, which could only muster 8 percent market share. Despite troubles with Windows 8 and a new vision for the future, Microsoft is still the dominant force in the desktop market.

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Linux Is Still Holding On

Several years ago, when Windows Vista was sputtering, Linux received a surprisingly large amount of attention. Since then, however, Linux has been pushed back into the shadows, a favorite of the tech elite who know and appreciate a solid desktop and server operating system. Still, Linux is holding on to 1.6 percent of the desktop market, which is up from 1.3 percent in December 2014. Linux isn't much of a challenge to Windows, but it will always have a loyal cadre of devotees.

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Windows 10 Continues to Make Strides

It's only been available since the end of July 2015, but Windows 10 is already among the world's most popular operating systems, according to NetMarketShare. The platform had 7.9 percent market share at the end of October, putting it in fourth place behind Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows 8.1. Windows 10, in other words, is already more popular than the most popular version of OS X.

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Market Fragmentation Persists Even for OS X

Although Apple likes to criticize Google's Android in the mobile market for fragmentation, the iPhone maker isn't necessarily doing such a great job of addressing the issue in the desktop market. In fact, it's OS X 10.10 that is still the most popular version of Apple's desktop OS with 3.45 percent market share. The latest OS X version is behind with 2.2 percent share, and legacy versions of the software are still holding on to significant market share. Simply put, there are several OS X versions still in use out there.

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Windows XP Continues to Fade From the Market

Windows XP has certainly proved to be the most durable version of Microsoft's PC operating system since it was released more than 14 years ago. It's still running on 11.7 percent of all computers around the world, according to NetMarketShare. However, the operating system, which is no longer supported by Microsoft, has lost market share each month over the past 12 months. In December 2014, for instance, Windows XP had 18.3 percent share. It will likely reach the low single digits in 2016.

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iOS Device Market Continues a Gradual, but Steady Rise

Moving to mobile, NetMarketShare likes to break down the iOS market by device type. Thus, NetMarketShare lists the iPhone, iPad and iPod as segments of Apple's mobile OS platform. Among mobile devices, the iPhone platform remains wildly popular, running on 23.2 percent of products around the world, according to NetMarketShare. That figure has been moving steadily up over the last year, jumping from 21.9 percent share in December 2014.

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But the iPad Isn't Sharing in the Growth

While the iPhone continues its climb, the iPad is on the decline. In December 2014, the iPad held a 21 percent share of the mobile device market, according to NetMarketShare. As of October 2015, Apple's slate has fallen to 16.9 percent share. Even Apple's own sales figures show that the iPad is in trouble. But NetMarketShare's data confirms that Apple is sharing in the tablet market's persistent troubles.

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The Sad Tale of BlackBerry OS

There was a time not many years ago when BlackBerry was among the most favored mobile phone platforms in the world. Now, though, it's a shadow of its former self. BlackBerry has just 1.06 percent market share in the mobile space and has barely budged from that spot in the past several months. Back in December 1014, the company's market share was at just 1.02 percent. So, perhaps there is the thinnest of silver linings for BlackBerry in this report.

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Kindle Fire Is Barely Hanging On

Amazon's Kindle Fire was popular for a split second. While there was a time when the Kindle Fire with its Fire OS could muster significant market share, at the end of October its share was at just 0.04 percent, putting it in the same spot it was in about a year ago. The question now is, how long will Amazon want to stay in the tablet/e-reader field?

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Windows Shows a Modest Rise in Mobile Market Share

Microsoft may be the obvious leader in the desktop market, but in mobile, it's far behind Android and iOS. While that's nothing new, it's important to point out that Windows has actually held steady in the face of increasing competition from Google and Apple. In fact, about a year ago, Windows market share in mobile was at about 2.3 percent. Now, it's hovering at 2.9 percent. With Microsoft's mobile-first initiative, it's possible Windows will gain even more share.

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