We’ve moved beyond the Windows vs. Mac battle. Mac always had its fans, but it could never quite topple Windows. And now it appears to have fallen further down the steps. Chrome OS overtook it and is now the second most popular OS for the first time.
Is This a Fall from Grace for macOS?
First, let’s get real. Neither one – macOS or Chrome OS – is knocking on Windows’ door. Windows has a market share of 80.5 percent, according to market data firm IDC and a report at GeekWire. That doesn’t leave much room for any other platform.
Chrome OS, though, now comes in at 10.8 percent – so one-eighth of the share Windows has. macOS is in third place now with 7.5 percent. “Other” only has 1.2 percent. Linux must be mired in that group somewhere.
This data is comparing numbers from 2020 in whole. Chrome OS has appeared in second place before for some quarters but never for a full year.
Looking at the numbers more deeply, however, it appears that macOS has not really fallen at all – rather, Windows has. macOS actually has a larger percentage than in 2019. It only had 6.7 percent that year. Chrome OS had 6.4 percent, and Windows had 85.4. So Chrome OS and macOS actually took market share from Windows – Chrome OS just took more of it.
Looking at the Trend
The immediate question is why Windows fell from favor last year. But throughout history, from this point on, we will never be able to look at 2020 like any other year.
We’ve talked about it before here at Make Tech Easier. First, there was a laptop shortage. There was such a rush for remote work and remote learning that many households were clamoring for laptops. There is also a growing chip shortage.
So why were people turning to Chrome OS? For one, Chromebooks are around the same price as a cheap PC and much cheaper than macOS. With the economy struggling last year and no one knowing that the pandemic would still be going on a year later, it’s not surprising that people were looking for quick and cheap.
Aside from that – there was a shortage. Who’s to say buyers didn’t look to Windows first, come up empty, then settle on Chrome?
Aside from all that, IDC also noted that this increase had more to do with an expansion of Chromebooks in the education market as well as outside of it. Additionally, traditional PCs showed growth, as did PCs overall. Gaming PCs had a great year, as did Macs.
The true test of the strength of Chrome OS in the market will be what happens this year and next. Will it retain its growth? Increase it? We’ll have to wait and see.
If you’re now thinking you want to give Chrome OS a try, read on to learn whether Chrome OS or Windows 10 is right for you.