Android has surpassed Windows as the world’s most popular operating system for internet usage for the first time, according to new statistics.
The data, from web analytics company StatCounter, indicates that Google’s mobile OS topped the worldwide OS internet usage market share in March with 37.93%.
Windows-running devices, meanwhile, accounted for 37.91% of internet usage last month, putting it marginally behind Android.
StatCounter’s figures include data across the desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.
The findings mark a hugely significant milestone, showing how dramatically usage habits have changed since the emergence of the smartphone.
The pace of change over just five years has been massive. According to StatCounter, Windows’ global internet usage share was 82% in January 2012, compared to 2.2% for Android.
“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” said Aodhan Cullen, the CEO of StatCounter. “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.”
Last month, Cullen described the idea of Android catching up to Windows as something that would have been “unthinkable five years ago”.
Looking at regional breakdowns, Windows remains top of the charts for internet usage in Europe, with a 51.7% share, and North America, with a 39.5% share. In these two regions, Android devices account for 23.6% and 21.2%, respectively.
However, in Asia, Android is on 52.2% compared to 29.2% for Windows, reports StatCounter.
Smartphones dominate in countries like China and India, while in both Asia and Africa, many people don’t have the luxury of owning both a smartphone and a PC, meaning that their phone may be their only consistent gateway to the internet.