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Operating Systems - Statistics & Facts

An operating system (OS) is the software that manages all other software and hardware on a computer, providing common services for programs and generally allowing a computer to run. Other programs, generally referred to as application programs, need an operating system in order to function. Today, almost every device - from graphical calculators, to smartphones, to desktop computers - requires an operating system to function, some of which are created for specific hardware and others that are intended to run on a wide variety of devices such as the Microsoft Windows.

Among smartphones, Google's Android and Apple's iOS are the leading mobile operating systems in the world. Android's share is estimated at about 75 percent of the market, while iOS's share sits at around 24 percent. Symbian OS, once a mobile market leader as recently as 2012, has seen its market share drop to less than one percent, while Nokias “Series 40” and Samsung OS have follow suit. Mobile operating systems are also an important indicator in the smartphone sales market as they reflect sales trends. At one point, Symbian and RIM led the smartphone OS market in terms of sales, representing about 50 percent and 20 percent of smartphones sold at the beginning of 2009, respectively. By the fourth quarter of 2013, Symbian and RIM were installed on less than one percent of mobile phones sold that quarter. Android currently dominates the smartphone market in terms of OS share, being installed on 87 percent of the smartphones sold in the 2019, followed by Apple, with 13 percent.

Within the global tablet market, Android and iOS are also leading operating systems there. Apple, a pioneer in the industry, held 95 percent of the market share in the second quarter of 2010. However, with the introduction of a variety of competitive products, Apple iOS's market share dropped dramatically, while Android's share increased steadily. In the second quarter of 2020, around 55 percent of all tablets shipped worldwide were using Android as their operating system. Despite its decline in market share and increasing competition from companies such as Samsung and Lenovo, Apple still remains the leading tablet vendor in the world.

In regards to desktop PCs, Windows holds the greatest share of the PC operating system market around the world. Apple's OSX, which was changed to macOS, runs on most of Apple's personal and enterprise computers, corresponded to around 17 percent of the market share as of July 2020. The first version of OSX was released in 1999, with the most recent version, macOS Catalina, released in October 2019.

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Operating systems

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