Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So which operating system is becoming more popular? We don't know.

I've previously talked about the fact that no one uses Windows any more - except for well over 80% of the population. But I recently saw some statistics that were surprising.

I use Google Analytics to track macro data about all of the wonderful people who visit this blog, and therefore I received a newsletter from the Google Analytics folks. For all of the pages that Google Analytics is tracking, Google provided some statistical comparisons for two periods - 11/1/2009 through 2/1/2010, and 11/1/2010 through 2/1/2011.

During this period, the number of Windows users continued to decline - from 89.9% to 84.8%.

One would think that the gains might occur in the Mac world. But Mac usage only went up from 4.5% to 5.2%.

Ah, you say, it's Linux that's trouncing them both! Not exactly. Linux went up from 0.6% to 0.7%.

So who gained? All of the other operating systems. The report says that "Other" went up from 5% to 9.3%.

Unfortunately, Google didn't provide additional detail on this category, but it's obvious that the number of different operating systems used by people is proliferating. I don't know whether these are primarily mobile operating systems, or whether the PICK brigade is staging a comeback. It does, however, show that a strategy that only includes two or three operating systems will alienate some users.

Of course, some will ask the question - does the operating system even matter any more? Perhaps not for some applications, but it clearly matters for others.
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