NetMarketShare released some statistics on OS and browser share today. In brief, the operating system is no longer the interface of a software company to a user; rather, it’s the browser.

Reviewing the change in operating system share from a sample of roughly 160M uniques, Windows has a monopoly.

Taking a look at growth rates, Apple is growing, but at too small a rate to make any dent in the massive market share advantage occupied by Windows. 

However, browsers are a different story. This is where the internet consumer war is being waged. Fragmentation in this market is dramatic compared to the previous chart. More impressively, Internet Explorer had 91% market share just five years ago and has now fallen to 61% despite growth in the size of the market. Again, the browser is where the market share war is waged, because the browser is the key to the internet and increasingly, the internet is the main source of revenue for many software companies. 

Chrome, in less than a year, is now second place to IE, outpacing Safari.

The story is elucidated below. Chrome has exploded registering CAGRs 4-5x higher than competitors. Comparing the growth rates of the Mac OS, iPhone OS and Safari, the mobile platform is driving the majority of the growth for Safari, rather than the laptop. Without question, mobile is a key battleground for Apple and I bet soon for Google. I expect to see more features in these platforms linking laptop and mobile browsing experiences like browser sync.


Microsoft’s recent decision to charge for their mobile operating system is archaic, viewed through the lens of this data. The OS needs to be a a subsidized, if not free, vector for a browser because competition is increasingly fierce across platforms for controlling the user’s window to the world.