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US Govt Sites Show OS Use on Web

For a long time now, I’ve relied on NetMarketShare.com to provide some sense of the make-up of web traffic, especially as it pertains to desktop OSes. The US Government operates its analytics.usa.gov site, which provides a more general view of who’s logging into their servers. Here’s a partial screencap that breaks out OSes from the 2.14 billion visits to those servers over the past 90 days that shows an interesting view of OS use on web:

OS Use on Web for US Govt Servers

A good view that includes all OSes shows how the desktop stacks up against mobile access.
[Source: analytics.usa.gov on 4/27/2016: Visits in the Past 90 Days]

What analytics.usa.gov says about OS use on Web

There are a lot of things I like about this kind of view, including:

  • The combination of both mobile and desktop OSes gives a more balanced view for OS use on web over the monitoring period. This helps put the total user base into perspective. Frankly, I’m surprised that desktop OSes still account for a majority of the traffic (at least 60.7%) over mobile ones (at least 37.1%). Overall it breaks roughly down to 3 desktop users for every pair of mobile users. Common sense urges me to add that this could be because the US government’s websites aren’t as mobile friendly as the overall website population.
  • It’s interesting to observe that the ratio of Windows 7 to Windows 10 is almost exactly 3:1 (32%:11% to be precise, or 2.91:1). It’s even more interesting to see that the combined Windows 8 versions come to 6.4%, and that XP (1.6%) and Vista (1.1%) show up as just about on par with one another. This is a more nuanced view that NetMarketShare offers. This data also suggests that Windows 10 is taking more marketshare from other Windows versions, including Windows 7, than other sources currently suggest. NetMarketShare, for example, shows that for March, the ratio of Windows 7 to Windows 10 users was more like 3.67:1 (51.89%:14.15% to be more precise).
  • It’s also fascinating that iOS users overtop Android users (19.4%:17.7%) in this view. Given the relative size of the smartphone populations running those mobile OSes, I’d have expected Android to outnumber iOS by a pretty significant margin. However, a quick online search teaches me that my intuition is worthless in this case: in the USA, iOS has been outselling Android since the release of the iPhone 6 in March, 2015, and enjoys a slight lead over Android. That’s just what analytics.usa.gov shows, and what gives me some faith that its numbers reasonably reflect the current reality on the ground.

Going forward, I plan to drop in on this site more often, and to use it as a foil for other sources of desktop share data to round out my sense of OS use on web. What I see there is already interesting. What will be even more interesting is to watch the steady march of Windows 10 as it starts to dig more deeply into Windows 7’s current dominance.

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