Microsoft's desktop operating system market share fell below the 90 per cent mark for the first time since the mid-1990s - as measured by web analytics.
Both Net Marketshare and StatCounter, the two main web analytics companies, estimated Microsoft's market share at below 90 per cent so far in March 2014, with Net Marketshare putting it at 89.96 per cent and StatCounter at 89.22 per cent.
The main reason for the long, slow decline in Microsoft's popularity has been the prolonged downturn in desktop and laptop computer sales, which has affected Apple much less than Microsoft. As a result, the market share of Apple MacOS-based machines has more than doubled since 2000, from 2.84 per cent in October 2000 to 8.34 per cent recorded in March 2014.
At the same time, desktop Linux has also increased in use, albeit from just 0.62 per cent to 1.76 per cent.
In terms of browser use, Microsoft's Internet Explorer on the desktop remains the most popular, with IE even increasing market share over the past year, from 55.8 per cent to 58.2 per cent in February 2014, largely at the expense of Firefox, which has seen its market share decline from 20.3 per cent to 17.7 per cent.
Opera, meanwhile, which botched its transition from its own Presto rendering engine to the same Webkit technology used by Google Chrome, has seen its small market share drop by one-third - with users driven off by the lack of such basic features as bookmarks and the Opera Key for storing passwords.
The market share figures for mobile are considerably worse for Microsoft, with the latest Net Marketshare figures putting Windows Phone at just 0.45 per cent - less than BlackBerry, Symbian and even the Amazon Kindle - only the "other" category in Net Marketshare's figures are smaller.
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