Usage share of operating systems
The usage share of operating systems is the percentage market share of the operating systems used in computers. Different categories of computers use a wide variety of operating systems, so the total usage share varies enormously from one category to another.
In some categories, one family of operating systems dominates. For example, most desktop and laptop computers use Microsoft Windows and most supercomputers use Linux. In other categories, such as smartphones and servers, there is more diversity and competition.
Information about operating system share is difficult to obtain, since in most of the categories below there are no reliable primary sources or agreed methodologies for its collection. Data for both mobile and desktop operating systems can be seen on the right, using information from Net Applications.
Desktop and laptop computers 
There is little openly published information on the usage share of desktop and laptop computers. Gartner publishes estimates, but the way the estimates are calculated is not openly published. Also, sales may overstate usage. Most computers are sold with a pre-installed OS; some users replace that OS with a different one due to personal preference. Conversely, sales underestimate usage by not counting pirated copies. For example, in 2009, “U.S. research firm IDC estimated that 80% of software sold in China last year was pirated.” (Windows was mentioned, but no specific estimate for Windows was given.) As another example, in 2007, the automated push of IE7 update onto legal copies of Windows, contrasted with web browser share statistics, led one author to “estimate that 25–35% of all Windows XP machines are illegal.”
Estimates for 2011 
- These are current-year sales estimates, not accumulative usage share for all PCs that are in use.
In August 2011, Gartner estimated Apple's PC market share in US as 10.7% for Q2 2011. Apple's worldwide market share is not listed, because it is not in the list of top 5 computer manufacturers, and is inferred to be 5% or lower. Gartner's numbers include netbooks, but not media tablets such as the iPad. Total units in Q2 2011 from all vendors, ~85 million.
“A Gartner forecast calls for Mac OS to ship on 4.5 percent of new PCs worldwide in 2011 and 5.2 percent in 2012. Gartner does not expect Google Chrome OS, Google Android or HP's webOS to get 'any significant market share' on PCs in the next few years, and expects Linux operating systems to remain at less than 2 percent share over the next several years.”
Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. has stated that in 2011 Apple broke 5% of global desktop market share for the first time.
Canonical's Chris Kenyon stated in 2012 that in 2011 about 8 million PCs shipped with Ubuntu GNU/Linux. That's about 2% of global shipments and they have Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and HP shipping models with Ubuntu GNU/Linux. 
Older information 
Web client usage share (see below) is often used as a proxy for desktop share, but many desktops are not used for web access so do not get counted in these figures. The correlation between desktop share and web client share is also being challenged by mobile web access, which rose through 1% in 2009 and 4% in 2010.
Microsoft's CFO Peter Klein stated in July 2010 that Windows 7 now runs on more than 15% of all PCs worldwide. A Forrester Research study of desktop operating systems used in North American and European companies in 2010 found Windows 7 on 10% of all commercial desktops, Windows XP on 75% and Vista on 7%.
In October 2010 Tim Cook of Apple claimed that 1 in 5 of desktop / laptop computers sold in the United States is a Mac.
Web clients 
The following information on web clients is obtained from the user agent information supplied to web servers by web browsers. These figures are inaccurate for a variety of reasons. For a discussion on the shortcomings see Usage share of web browsers.
The most recent data from various sources published during the last six months is summarized in the table below. All of these sources monitor a substantial number of web sites; statistics related to one web site only are excluded.
|Source||Date||Microsoft Windows||Apple||Linux kernel based||Other[a]|
|8||7||Vista||XP||Other versions||OS X||iOS||GNU/Linux||Android|
|Net Market Share||Apr-13[update]||3.29%||38.50%||4.09%||32.98%||0.15%||6.04%||8.21%||1.04%||3.62%||2.08%|
|StatCounter Global Stats||Apr-13[update]||4.74%||53.98%||6.02%||21.60%||0.34%||7.09%||3.79%||1.10%||1.09%||0.28%|
- The 'Other' column is obtained by summing all percentage data and subtracting from 100%.
|This section is outdated. (March 2013)|
The netbook market has been dominated by Microsoft Windows, with Linux in second place.
Initially in 1999, netbooks ran EPOC. Later, Linux came to gain a major share of the netbook market when Asus followed up with the Eee PC in October 2007. This lead did not last long; Asus and Acer, which accounted for 90% of the early netbook market, installed Linux on 30% of their machines.
Microsoft responded by extending the sales of Windows XP Home Edition. By February 2009, Microsoft cited data from NPD Retail Tracking Service which showed that US market share of Windows on netbooks went from under 10% to 96%.
In November 2009, an analyst at ABI said that of the 35 million netbooks to ship globally in 2009, 68% would have Windows and 32% Linux.
According to DisplaySearch, netbooks and tablets rose from just under a 14% share of the overall portable computer market in third quarter of 2008 to around 20% in the second quarter of 2009, and remained at around 20% until the middle of 2010. During 2010, Apple's iPad tablet computer gained a 6.5% share of this market sector in the first quarter and DisplaySearch forecast this will rise to 30% in the second.
Tablet computers 
2011 Sales and estimates (millions of units):
iOS: Q1: 7.3, Q2: 4.7 (limited by supply shortages)
Android: "Android media tablets have collectively taken 20% market share away from the iPad in the last 12 months."
"Apple is set to increase its iPad shipments at a faster rate than previously expected in 2011 and beyond, causing the global tablet market to exceed growth expectations during the next few years, according to data from information and analysis provider IHS. Apple will ship 44 million iPads in 2011; shipments expected to reach 120 million units in 2015. Apple is expected to account for 74 percent of tablet shipments in 2011 and 43-44 percent in 2015."
Top vendors: In Q1 2011, Apple's iOS sold 7.3 million tablets. (Q2 number not used, because was limited by supply shortages.) Google's Android shipped on 1–2 million tablets per quarter (20% estimate by ABI).
|Strategy Analysis||Q3 2012||57.0%||41.0%||1.5%||1.9%|
Mobile devices 
Mobile operating systems that can be found on smartphones include Nokia's Symbian, Apple's iOS, Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS, Microsoft's Windows Mobile and its successor Windows Phone 7 and later 8, Google's Android, Samsung's Bada and Tizen, and HP's webOS. Android and webOS are in turn built on top of Linux, and iOS is derived from OS X which in turn is built upon the BSD and NeXTSTEP operating systems. Linux, BSD, and NeXTSTEP are all related to Unix. Many statistics sites also consider tablet operating systems as part of the smartphone market share, which is somewhat controversial, however makes sense as they run the same operating system as their smartphone counterparts.
Gartner's Q3 2011 unit numbers total 115 million with Google's Android shipping on 60 million smartphones, Nokia's Symbian on 19 million and Apple's iOS on 17 million.
Canalys' Q2 2011 unit numbers total 108 million with Google's Android shipping on 52 million smartphones, Apple's iOS on 20 million, and Nokia's Symbian on < 20 million. Nokia confirms its Q2 smartphone sales were 16.7 million units.
Forecasts for 2012: (Gartner): 630 million units; Android 49%, iOS 19%, BlackBerry 13%, Windows 11%, Symbian 5%, Other 3%. (Taiwan/Market Intelligence Center): Android 40%, iOS 19%, Windows 17%, Other 24%. (IDC) 582 million units total.
Forecasts for 2015: (Gartner): 1105 million units; Android 49%, Windows 20%, iOS 17%, BlackBerry 11%, Other 3%. (IDC): 982 million units; Android 44%, Windows 20%, iOS 17%, BlackBerry 13%, Other 6%.
|comScore Reports (US only)||Feb-13||subscribers, US||38.90%||51.70%||5.40%||0.50%||N/A||3.20%||N/A|
|International Data Corporation||May-13||units shipped||17.3%||75.0%||2.9%||0.6||N/A||3.2%||0.0%|
|Net Market Share||Apr-13||browsing||59.04%||26.02%||1.51%||9.62%||0.09%||1.14%||0.24%|
|StatCounter Global Stats||May-13||browsing||26.05%||38.24%||3.51%||20.29%||4.6%||1.28||1.45|
Table is share of smartphone OSs - not overall marketshare.
Server market share can be measured with statistical surveys of publicly accessible servers, such as web servers, mail servers or DNS servers on the Internet: the operating system powering such servers is found by inspecting raw response messages. This method gives insight only into market share of operating systems that are publicly accessible on the Internet.
There will be differences in the result depending on how the sample is done and observations weighted. Usually the surveys are not based on a random sample of all ip numbers, domain names, hosts or organisations, but on servers found by some other method. Additionally many domains and ip numbers may be served by one host and some domains may be served by several hosts or by one host with several ip numbers.
|Source||Date||Method||Unix, Unix-like||Microsoft Windows||References|
|W3Techs||January 2013||Units (Web)||64.7%||32.9%||1.16%||30.5%||35.3%|||
|Security Space||August 2009||Units (Web)||>60.00%||<40.00%|||
A method to measure the overall server market, rather than subsets like publicly accessible web servers, is to count server hardware sales, using data from server manufacturers. Using this method, market share can be measured either in units or in revenue. In either case, the measure refers to server hardware, not to software. Units refers to the number of physical servers running a given OS, and revenue refers to hardware revenue for physical servers running that OS. It does not refer to software licensing or support revenue, which often varies considerably from one OS to another.
Nearly 95% of Fortune 1000 companies use IBM's Information Management System.
Gartner reported on December 23, 2008 that Linux on System z was used on approximately 28% of the "customer z base" and that they expected this to increase to over 50% in the following five years.
- Prior to 2006, Novell claimed a market share of 85% or more.
- Red Hat has since claimed 18.4% in 2007 and 37% in 2008.
- Gartner reported at the end of 2008 that Novell had an 80% share of mainframe Linux.
The TOP500 project lists and ranks the 500 fastest supercomputers that benchmark results are submitted for. It then publishes the collected data twice a year. The November 2012[update] figures are below.
|Source||Date||Linux||Unix||Mixed||Microsoft Windows||BSD based||References|
This is an attempt to summarize OS market share by category. Of course, some categories overlap for example embedded and RT OS or mobile and embedded.
In some cases, when known, the main OSes for a given family are added in brackets. This concerns Linux distributions or Windows versions and Apple products.
|Category||Source||Date||Linux based||Other Unix||In-House||Windows||Other|
|Smartphone, tablet||Net Applications||Apr-13||26.02% (Android)||59.04% (IOS)||1.14% (RT, WP8)||13.8%|
|Desktop, laptop, netbook||Net Applications||Apr-13||1.21% (Ubuntu)||7.01% (OS X)||91.78% (XP, 7, Vista, 8)|
|Server (web)||W3Techs ||Apr-13||32.69% (Debian, CentOS, RHEL)||32.23% (BSD, HP-UX, Aix, Solaris)||35% (W2K3, W2K8)|
|Supercomputer||TOP500 ||Nov-12||93.8% (Custom)||4.2% (UNIX)||0.6%||1.4%|
|Mainframe||Gartner||Dec-08||28% (SLES, RHEL)||72% (z/OS)|
|Gaming console||Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft ||Oct-12||29.6% (PS3)||40.9% (Wii)||29.5% (Xbox)|
|Embedded||UBM Electronics ||Mar-12||29.44% (Android, Ubuntu)||4.29% (QNX)||13.5%||11.65% (WCE 7)||41.1%|
|Real time||NewTechPress ||Nov-11||19.3% (Android)||20.1%||35.8% (XPE, WCE)||24.8%|
Note: Embedded and real time segments are very vast categories with different subcategories like Automotive, Avionics, Health, Medical Equipment, Consumer Electronics, Intelligent Homes, Telecommunications. The aggregated information above could be very different for each subcategory taken separately. It's also interesting to note that embedded segment is the largest segment in term of unit compare to mainframe and super computer but also desktop and server.
See also 
- Comparison of operating systems
- List of operating systems
- Timeline of operating systems
- Usage share of web browsers
- Usage share of BitTorrent clients
- Usage share of Instant Messaging clients
- Mobile operating system
- Desktop Operating System Market Share, Net Applications
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- Operating System Market Share, Hits link
- Operating System Market Share, Hits link
- Mobile vs Mobile
- "OS monthly 2013-04", StatCounter
- Global stats, W3 Counter
- Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Operating Systems, 2013-03, Wikimedia
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- "StatCounter Global Stats: Top 8 Mobile Operating Systems on May 2013".
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- "Usage of operating systems for websites". W3Techs. January 2013.
- "Usage of Unix for websites". W3Techs. January 2013.
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- "Operating system Family share for 11/2012". Top 500 project.
- "Usage of OS for websites". W3Techs. April 2013.
- "Usage of Unix for websites". W3Techs. April 2013.
- "Console history seventh generation, sales standings". Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo.
- "Embedded market study -- Mars, 2012".
- "RTOS market". NewTechPress. November 2011.
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