Source: Goldman Sachs

In most cases, people differentiate between computer operating systems and mobile operating systems. It’s not very common to compare all operating systems in a single discussion. Goldman Sachs managed to do it. They have determined that Windows has fallen behind Google Android and Apple iOS. This is counting every computing device that runs an operating system.

According to ZDNet, Goldman Sachs performed a study to determine how each operating system was doing. This included mobile and computer operating systems. So Android, Windows, and iOS were fair game. To the surprise of no one, Microsoft remains at the top of computer operating systems. To the surprise of everyone, that makes them third behind Android and iOS.

Yes, it has finally happened. Mobile operating systems have officially surpassed actual computer operating systems as the more popular software platform. This means that smartphones and tablets are the more popular hardware platform. We all knew that desktop computing was slowly dying. No one guessed it was happening this quickly.

So is Windows on its way out of the operating system business?

Not even close. According to Goldman Sachs numbers, Google controls 39%, Apple controls 29%, and Windows still takes a 26% chunk. The remaining is the “other” category, which probably means things like Bada, Linux, Blackberry, and others. 26% is still a respectable number and only 3% below Apple. If Windows 8 mobile devices ever take off, Microsoft could easily reclaim second place at least.

What the study doesn’t talk about is how Windows still dominates the computer operating system market. That has not changed at all. A wild majority of PCs and laptops still run Windows. Linux fans still bash it and Mac fans are still openly jealous of its success. That hasn’t changed.

What has changed is the number of computing devices out there. It’s no secret or hidden fact that smartphones and tablets have become the thing to buy. They have wildly outsold PCs and laptops and that is where the new market share numbers are coming from. Simply put, Windows didn’t really lose too many customers. There are just a lot more devices out there to measure. Households still have their trusty desktops and laptops. However, each person in that household probably has a trusty smartphone of their very own.

Nevertheless, numbers don’t lie. Windows is no longer the most popular or used operating system on Earth. Android is, followed by iOS, and Windows coming in at third. Does this surprise anyone? Let us know your thoughts.

Joe Hindy
Hi everyone! I'm Joe Hindy the Android Authority app guy!
  • Rad T

    Just as quickly smartphones and tablets have become the thing to buy, they will have been bought by all and then what?

    • It gets old and you buy a new one …

      • Justin W

        I think he means the next “computing” device… That’s definitely an interesting thought though.

    • symbolset

      The TV. Android and iOS will go in every TV, and the software will make your phone and tablet and TV all work together in a unified fashion. There already are the Android HDMI dongles that are the start of this, and some are quite good.

  • hohopig

    This article only talk about percentages. But I don’t see that as a threat to PC in general unless the figures falls. But I do not see that happening due to the fact that Android and iOS is not able to provide all the necessary functionality to replace the need for a laptop/PC.
    So unless the volume of the PC drops drastically, it doesn’t sounds like much of a threat as there will always be businesses and individuals who will need the functionalty provided by laptop/PC.

    • tBs_Battousai

      “Android and iOS is not able to provide all the necessary functionality to replace the need for a laptop/PC”

      Both OS’s continue to grow, evolve and add more features and functionality with every release…

      • Dem Nelson

        Right, OS’s evolve, even Windows, so I fail to see the awe in numbers going up and down.

  • tBs_Battousai

    I wonder how long it will take for OS’s like AndroidiOS to start moving into the desktop space… Google have already started with ChromeOS, it can’t be that long before ChromeOS and Android start to merge…

  • Aj

    This was gonna happen. Smartphones and tablets are light, easy to carry and portable. On the other hand computers and laptops are heavy, ugly looking units sitting in our house. With smartphones and tablets we don’t need to by expensive accessories such as a mouse, a keyboard, mouse pad, speakers, microphone etc. With smartphones we can call anybody easily. Where as on computers we can only skype (andhow many people actually use it?)

  • praxis22

    Microsoft fought so long to prevent the commodification of the OS, that they failed to see, (or prevent) the commodification of the platform itself. Not that Windows, or Microsoft are going away, but the PC as a user centric platform may be. PC’s are cumbersome beasts for retail users to maintain at the best of times, and the walled garden approach serves many vested interests better. Like metered/tiered pricing for bandwidth, etc. Far more common on mobile devices than the “all you can eat” flat pricing structure of home broadband. Google seem to recognise this with the advent of Google Fiber, but even they are to a certain degree beholden to the mobile telcos, though I suspect they are playing a longer game then most, and have most to gain from the continued existence of the open web as platform than anyone else.

    In the near term, at least in developed markets, I think Google glass is the future, both of mobile, and of “privacy” as we know it. I suspect the real fight will ultimately be Google vs the Military industrial complex, given how they are the only company in the word with the smarts or the infrastructure to actually deep dive on “big data” which is where the government surveillance of ordinary life is moving to, under the guise of national security and terrorism prevention. It should be a good fight, if the China episode was anything to go by.

    Good article, thought provoking.

  • Scorpineo

    Gollycraps wants to compare an ipod and a PC directly with each other? Are you serious? Those are the same asscraps who screwed tax payers over by binging in the bailout trough.