While Microsoft remains on top of the desktop OS market with Windows 10, Apple’s long running role as the lead challenger in second place is no more. During 2020, sales of Google’s Chrome OS hardware has overtaken that of macOS, pushing Apple back to third place. Step beyond that headline message, and I think you’ll find numbers that are good news for Apple.
First of all, Apple’s marketshare is up. From 2019’s 6.7 percent share to a 7.5 share in 2020. Part of this will be the release of the M1 powered MacBooks at the end of the year as the geekerati’s desire to upgrade to Apple Silicon was unlocked; but with the rise of working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic there was a significant round of upgrades for pretty much every bit of consumer tech; that includes the Mac platform in general and the MacBook family in particular.
Arguably the bigger loser was Microsoft, moving from 2019’s 85.4 percent share down to 80.5. That’s still running on more than four out of every five personal computers, but following a rush to upgrade tech, Microsoft has lost out.
Apple’s macOS picked up some of that lost share, but most of the share has moved to Google’s Chrome OS platform; moving from 6.4 percent to 10.8 percent. The move to work from home (and study from home) has seen demand for Chrome OS products jump by sixty percent compared to the previous years’ sales. With Chrome OS approaching its tenth anniversary this jump will be welcomed by Google.
All three companies can take heart in the numbers. Microsoft may have lost out, but in an unusual year which will have seen more options for consumers to switch platforms due to a rise in those upgrading, it still holds the lion’s share of the market… no doubt with the enterprise market and its long-term purchase planning still in place offering a lot of stability.
With Chrome OS tied to Google’s online services, the rise of the platform to over one in ten personal computers is valuable growth both for the hardware and capturing users into its cloud based services rather than those of its rivals.
And of course Apple continues to furrow its own path, bringing users into the macOS ecosystem and its own cloud-based servers. Google may have seen the largest year-on-year sales increase, but Apple’s upward trend will no doubt be given a boost as the new benchmark-busting Apple Silicon chips roll out to the higher-end MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros in the world.
The question for 2021, at least from me, is if Apple can join Google in breaking the psychologically powerful ten percent share level; and how far ahead Chrome OS will be compared to macOS.
Now read the latest headlines in Apple Loop, here on Fintech Zoom…