Microsoft added 300 million new users to its Windows 10 desktop operating system over the past year. This brings the total number of Windows 10 users to a record 1.3 billion worldwide.
That’s a pretty phenomenal number. Windows 10 became available worldwide in July 2015, which means it took less than six years to reach about 1 in 7 people on the planet.
With 1.3 billion users, Microsoft’s desktop operating system is arguably the most popular in the world. For comparison: When Apple last informed us about the exact numbers of its desktop operating system, only 100 million MacOS computers were in use. That was in 2018, so it can be assumed that there has been some growth since then. However, it is unlikely to add another billion. We therefore believe that Microsoft’s crown is safe.
Google’s ChromeOS, which is based on its hugely successful web browser – arguably the most popular in the world – also lags behind Windows 10. Google hasn’t released any concrete numbers on its desktop operating system, although it has since confirmed 40 million ChromeBooks running Chrome OS are used in education around the world.
Both Google and Apple are likely to see an increase in new users following the events of last year.
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Microsoft has attributed its recent growth spurt to customers buying large-screen devices like desktop PCs while working from home. For people who until recently only relied on a laptop, the move to working full-time from home has led some to upgrade to a sprawling desktop setup like you’d find in most offices for extra screen real estate available for multitasking.
With the vaccination program moving forward and restrictions in the US and parts of Europe gradually easing, this trend is unlikely to continue long.
However, it seems clear that Microsoft wants to retain these new customers with its software solutions such as Microsoft Teams, which now command more than 145 million users worldwide, and Microsoft Edge, which is now the second most widely used web browser in the world. although it was only launched a year ago (in its new iteration).