Research house IDC revealed that Apple’s macOS has slipped down into third position in the operating system rankings, after it was overtaken by Google’s Chrome OS.

GeekWire first reported that IDC numbers show 2020 was the first year that Chromebooks outsold Apple Macs, posting impressive market share gains.

Indeed IDC is not the only analyst house to point to Chromebook success in 2020.

Market share

Canalys earlier this month noted that demand for Chromebooks, in particular, went “through the roof”, as education markets opted for easy-to-deploy devices for remote learning during lockdowns around the world.

Canalys also said that the PC industry had seen a surge in shipments in the fourth quarter of last year, largely driven by tablets and Chromebooks brought in to deal with coronavirus-related restrictions.

IDC meanwhile has tracked the use of operating systems, and it found Chrome OS, used by the Google-powered laptops, took second place from MacOS for the first time.

Chromebooks now have a 10.8 percent market share, IDC found.

But despite slipping into third spot, it wasn’t all bad news for Apple’ macOS portfolio.

Indeed, macOS’s market share grew from 6.7 to 7.5 percent in 2020, meaning that the principle loser during 2020 has been Microsoft Windows.

That said, the Windows OS remains the most popular operating system by a vast margin, with 80.5 percent of the market.

The remaining 1.2 percent market share is made up of niche set-ups such as Linux distributions.

IDC’s numbers include desktop and laptop computers, but did not include not tablets or smartphones.

Long burn

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the eduction sector has driven sales of Chromebooks.

In 2014, Gartner revealed that Google’s Chromebooks had enjoyed a major surge of popularity in that year, after they recorded their strongest year of sales yet.

Chromebooks were originally launched in late 2011, and right from the start they were intended to be much cheaper than traditional laptop options, and are made by a range of different companies including Samsung and Lenovo.

Chromebooks of course run Chrome OS, which is a web-based operating system that essentially connects to online apps, rather than running them on powerful local hardware.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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