2 Billion

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 83 Comments

2 Billion

Google announced today that there are now over 2 billion monthly active Android devices worldwide. So Android has doubled its user base in just two years.

I can’t find a figure for last year’s Google I/O conference, but Google previously announced the 1 billion milestone in May 2015. And in September 2015, it revealed at the Nexus device launch that there were then 1.4 billion monthly active Android devices.

For the anti-Google in the audience, this is no doubt depressing and will trigger some rationalization in which this milestone is somehow not as impressive as it seems. But make no mistake: Android is the most popular personal computing platform on earth, by a wide margin. And its lead over Windows and iOS is actually growing each year.

As important, Android doesn’t stand alone. In fact, Google also reported today that it has six other products and services with over one billion monthly active users: Google Search, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, Play Store, and Gmail.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also touched on a topic I raise with regards to Windows 10 and PCs, but in the reverse: Engagement.

“It’s not just the scale at which these products are working, users engage with them very heavily,” he said. And then he provided some examples.

YouTube, in addition to its 1 billion monthly active users, sees over one billion hours of usage every single day. And users navigate over one billion kilometers every day using Google Maps.

And soon, other Google products and services will join the “one billion” club. Google Drive, for example, has over 800 million monthly active users, and these users upload over 3 billion objects to the services every week. And Google Photos, launched just two years ago, now has over 500 million monthly active users who upload over 1.2 billion photos every day. Every. Single. Day.

This cross-product success is a virtuous cycle that benefits all of Google’s offerings. Users’ positive experiences with Google Photos, for example, might trigger a Pixel purchase (since all photos taken with that device are backed up for free in full resolution), and will lead to more Google app usage.

Mr. Pichai noted that this was “all because of the growth of mobile and smartphones,” while adding that computing was evolving yet again. Copying Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” mantra, Google now says that the “mobile first” approach is shifting to “AI first,” or what the firm now calls—groan–“mobile first, AI first.”

In other words, Google sees the world much as Microsoft does. But the difference is that, today, Google controls the client, not Microsoft. And for this reason, Google is more likely to capitalize on client-based advances, even though both companies are in some ways working towards the same goals. This is, of course, why Microsoft’s mobile defeat is so terrible and will have ramifications far beyond just that one market. Microsoft just doesn’t benefit from the same virtuous cycle that Google does.

2 billion. Yikes.


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Comments (83)

83 responses to “2 Billion”

  1. siko

    Let's hope someone will save those billions of poor lost souls.....

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to siko:

      Totally... the 3rd best mobile OS won...it is a sad day in tech history to see something so bad do so well.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        In the unfeeling market, what sells best is best. A nice objective measure devoid of any subjectivity.

        Let's not forget that MSFT offered phone makers Windows Mobile 6.x when Android was getting started. Difference: MSFT licensed WM for $$ while Google gave Android away for free. It took MSFT several years to figure out the revenue channels of the 1990s were dying off.

        Perhaps Windows Phone was the best mobile OS. Shame it was shackled to the least visionary mobile OS vendor.

      • Wizzwith

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Wait what, 3rd best? You mean to say you actually think Android is better than Blackberry?? Come on! Android is 4th best, at best. That's without bringing WebOS and FIrefoxOS etc., into it, cause than it would just get embarrassing.

        /sarcasm (is it not obvious?)

      • Ugur

        In reply to VancouverNinja: So, what are number 1 and 2 in your opinion?
        Everyone can have his/her preferences of course, but among iOS and Android i see both as quite strong and both with different pros and cons, so i wouldn't even declare a clear winner there.
        For example i still find iOS easier to use for the first time user, but then can be more tedious as one wants to do things over time which the narrower walled garden of iOS doesn't let one do.
        And the whole assistance/AI driven parts of google apps and services is miles ahead of anyone else in the industry to me.
        I'm still fascinated regularly for example when the google photos assistant magically makes something really cool out of a few photos and movies of mine all by itself.
        And in general, google apps and services are those i use most on any mobile device, Apple's look weak sauce in comparison. Google Mail, Maps, on and on goes the list.
        (MS Apps on mobile are now great, too btw, i find several of those way better than Apple one's, too)
        Not sure whom you'd declare as number 1 and/or 2 then OS wise though.

        If you implied windows phone as one of those, then sorry, but nah =)
        Windows phone was great in theory, but sadly in theory only.
        In actual implementation it was largely horrible to use.
        Now one could argue how much that is MS fault or the fault of others.
        Like yeah, MS had that great social hub thingy concept which would have been great in usability, but no third party supported it well.
        But then one could argue that MS should have guessed that from the start since, well, of course all those software and services companies didn't want to get degraded to a menu option only inside an MS App they have few control over.
        So it was at best extremely naive of MS to think that would work out well in first place.
        Where MS clearly screwed it up bigtime was that, like with many other things, instead of refining the concept up front and then sticking with it and extending it and being a reliable hardware and software and dev platform, they basically started over with every major windows phone OS version, each time screwing over developers and customers and hardware partners.
        Only so much people can stomach of that over and over.
        People often say the main problem of windows phone was no apps.
        To me that's sorta wrong, because no apps was not the cause, it was a symptom of the illness.
        Major causes and the actual issues were things like that, that MS screwed users and developers over each half backed full reset update cycle for example.
        Basically there was no reliable platform for longer than 1-3 years.
        And in between, during the timespan it sorta "did best", well, it dumped out one replaceable low end phone after the other, hence never enticing anyone to get excited about it or push much for it.
        And also while the tile UI looked fancy and even more useful to some, to most people it looked like a glaring wall of blinking advertising popups looking thing, the opposite of the personalized and inviting feeling reaction triggering thing MS wanted to achieve with it.
        Yes, iOS and Android icons look basic and even of limited functionality at first glance (though Android also has widgets), but the well spaced simple look is way more inviting to most average users than a wall of blinking rectangles clamped right next to each other.
        It's like the general problem of metro UI which i imagine looked great to them in a flashy boardroom presentation on a big display and so they didn't notice at all that it had horrible unintuitive usability and so hardly anyone wanted to have that as a fullscreen startscreen.
        (I'd most compare it with facebook vs myspace, where myspace allowed users to wildly customize the look of their page with tons of blinky things of any size and shape and animation and sound, but in return had not much of a consistent timeline and usability flow worked out themselves, so at the end something curated stripped and boiled down like FB won the day at first glance already to most compared to the blinky mess)

        So, windows phone (OS) : Just lots of mismanagment all around.

        And note: i'm no MS hater, i develop for Windows a lot, too and think nowadays they do a lot better on many things (though still not convinced they'll handle UWP/centenial(windows 10 S ideally now), just windows phone, yeah, sorry, was a fail all around so far.

        (And i actually had some windows phone devices, too, but each time i was getting to dev for one of them they re resetted the OS and cut off support for older devices each time, so..))

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Ugur:

          I have used all three. I believe that Windows Mobile was (is?) the best. iOS a close second and Android a distant 3rd from both. Android works but to me that's about it.

          • obarthelemy

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            I tend to prefer Android. Windows misses too many apps and the OS itself is not up to par; iOSis OK but runs on expensive and limited devices... Android keeps improving, the iffy performance of early versions has been improved, and it tends to lead features-wise (widgets, modularity, ....)

          • Ugur

            In reply to VancouverNinja: To each his/her own, but yeah, i don't get which aspect of windows phone (OS) you liked more.
            I liked it, but only at the first glance. Like it was cool on first sight and shorter trying it, but then the reality of using it was not fun at all the longer it went, what with the constant degrading of builtin OS features (the social hub thing for example) and no apps and in general them trashing the whole OS each major upgrade and then not even letting pretty new devices get the OS upgrade.
            It happens on Android a lot, too that many non vanilla devices don't get OS updates or get them very late, but Android as a platform is way better backwards and forwards compatibility supporting, so most apps will work fine on older Android devices, too.
            Whereas with windows phone OS they made it so that when coding for the new OS version it would automatically not run on the older and the other way round several times.
            that alone made it a total no go to me after experiencing that a few times.

    • PeteB

      In reply to siko: Let's hope someone will save those billions of poor lost souls.....

      Found the bitter WMobile clinger

  2. MikeGalos

    Well, Android may be "the most popular computing platform" but hardly by much and hardly with such a bright growth future seeing that mobile's market right now (phones and tablets) is now pretty saturated.

    If we plug this number and Microsoft's half billion Windows 10 number into the current NetMarketShare numbers we see that, yes, by combining Desktop and Laptop and Tablet and Phones we get a combined market of just over 5 billion devices in active use. Of those 39.6% are Android, 36.9% are Windows and 21.3% are Apple's operating systems (and 2.1% are Linux and other also-rans)

    We also see that in their big markets the equivalence isn't the same.

    Microsoft MASSIVELY dominates full computers with 91.7% with their biggest competitor, Apple, only getting 6.3%.

    Google does lead the phone/consumption device market with 65.2% but their biggest competitor, also Apple, gets almost 5x the share of being #2 with 31.1%

    Estimate total devices by company:

    Google 2.0 Billion

    Microsoft 1.9 Billion

    Apple 1.0 Billion

    Everybody else 0.1 Billion

    (oh, and for any Linux fans out there, note that Linux and Windows Mobile have about the same share in their respective markets)

    • skane2600

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Yes. IMO the fundamental mistake is believing that phones are "computing devices" in the same sense that desktop Windows devices and Macs are. What would the numbers be if one eliminated Android devices that are used only for consuming content or communications (including social media). Yes, smartphones are a big market but currently that market is distinct from the full computer market. The ergonomic limitations of smartphones for doing real work aren't going away because they reflect the physical realities of the human body.

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I sense some bitterness about Android. People are actually engaging Android devices - apps, services, and did I mention apps. Whereas with Windows it's merely tolerated as a means to run Office and Steam games. No engagement that Microsoft has any real part in. Sorry bud. And let's not mention Chromebooks that MS zealots mocked for years, and now suddenly they're running scared hoping a half measure like 10 S is going to be enough to break into this suddenly important market. Notice MS always trying to play catch up?

      When Google decides it's time, Android will move to desktops too.

      Microsoft is the new IBM, you just don't see it yet.

      • skane2600

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        Well, we can all speculate, but its premature to say Android is the future on desktops given that its current market share on the desktop is less than Linux.

        • Jorge Garcia

          In reply to skane2600:

          Because they didn't go about it the right way!!!!....had Google, say 4 years ago started adding "modes" to Android, that would sense the display/interface/mouse etc. and adapt accordingly, or even just do as Windows 10 does and have user-switchable desktop/tablet modes...then the consumer would have certainly latched onto that big time...as many consumers do understand the REASON for windows, they just hate Microsoft's execution of it. Many Android Apps would have the started to morph into more desktop friendly modes as well...Instead we got stupid ChromeOS, which as a nerd, I get, but you must explain the appeal and shortcomings of ChromeOS to somebody ad that in and of itself is a non-starter.

          • skane2600

            In reply to Jorge Garcia:

            I see ChromeOS and Android as two operating systems designed with different goals in mind both of which succeed fairly well in their own way. Smartphones are by far the biggest existing market for Android and IMO it would have been a mistake to bloat it to provide features that are useless on a smartphone. I see bringing Android apps to Chromebooks as a repudiation of the fundamental purpose of Chromebooks as a light-weight cloud-first platform.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        I don't see it yet because it's been said every year since Windows 95 launched. "Microsoft is the new IBM" has been said since IBM was dethroned and hasn't happened any more that the equally silly "This is the year of the Linux desktop" which is about as old.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      You've got to mind sales, installed base, and engagement. I'm guessing Google gets a lot more time spent on device than MS.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      In brutally simple terms, Google makes money by selling ads, and billions of Android devices means LOTS of ad revenues. MSFT makes money selling Windows license kits, Office subscriptions and server-based OSes, other software and services, and the Windows licensing is waning.

      As for your counting, you forgot that of the 1.9 billion devices you estimate running some version of Windows, odds are at least 1 billion of those also run one or more Google product or service, e.g., Chrome, Google search, Youtube, . . . MSFT would be lucky if 100 million Android devices regularly used any MSFT services.

      Finally, Linux. Yep, on the desktop, it's an acquired taste. Fortunately, it's the #1 server OS and much more popular than Windows for embedded systems, so the kernel and admin software will be around for decades to come. The desktop can tag along after it. Any similar synergy for Windows on phones?

  3. Tony Barrett

    I think these figures just go to highlight Microsoft's ineptitude, lack of vision and poor foresight. Google control's the market now, and their platforms dwarf anything Microsoft can offer. I'm not saying they're perfect (far from it), but they put the user first, they think globally (not US-centric like MS do), and offer a solution people like. Devs follow the users, and Android is where it's at. No matter what MS do to include Android and iOS in their plans, they don't own the O/S, so will always just be another developer on those infrastructures.

    I'm sure MS will fight to the last breath, but they're just a bit-player now, having been walked all over in the last few years, and nothing they're doing at the moment will change anything. Once the Enterprise finally wakes up to this, and starts breaking free of the MS stranglehold they've been in for years, MS might just be in a bit of trouble.

    • Ugur

      In reply to Tony Barrett: MS is doing quite all right, i don't see it near as doom and gloom as you.
      Yes, they messed up windows phone all around, but one does not have to be on one platform or it's automatically doom and gloom, MS can have other successful products.
      It's also generally naive to assume the game is over in tech now because one dominates in one field and that's it till the end of all days.
      Where are most of the giants of 12 years ago?
      Many are gone or non issues at this point, like let's say Nokia, Blackberry and many others.
      While others who were non players back then are huge in some fields now.
      Others, well, they at least revised their strategy to go with the times and remain important in one way or the other.
      And yes, i count MS amongst those who actually does some good strategic moves in between these days.
      Yes, not with windows phone, not rt, not 8, maybe not even UWP, but for example their cross platform offering of quality apps and services is a very wise move.
      That change in stance by MS is very important.
      See Google, where would Apple's iPhone have been if Google hadn't brought maps and youtube on it early on? and where would google have been if they wouldn't have offered most of their great apps and services on all major platforms?
      It's one of the main reasons why google maps, chrome, google mail, google photos etc is so popular.
      Next to being free and well working, they are also available on all major platforms hence sure, why not use it on all?

      And so yes, that strategy shift by MS to offer quality stuff on all major platforms and don't think only windows centric and exclusionary is a very good change in direction.

      Sure it will take more over time, but their devices are shaping up, too and who knows, maybe they don't mess up the next big hardware revolution.

      Phones are all the rage now but in a few years, when the markets for phones are way more over satured and the noticable innovation down even way more massively for phones, yeah, it won't be the hype rage thing anymore, that'll likely be something else then.

  4. nbplopes

    There are several things that made Google a great success.

    1) Google Search. Has I remember it all started here in 1997. Back in the day there were several search engines. Alta Vista, Yahoo ... they all worked more or less has mix of Web directories, news engines ...MS actually entered that space IMHO out of envy, oh it moves we got to have that too.Back in the day the word Portal was all over the place a really fancy concept. I always thought Portals were a clumsy idea. But than came Google, I remember when it was announce an simple unobtrusive Web page, with a Google Banner and an input text box ... click search .... "Oh it worked! It is actually presenting me relevant information not in the midst of publicity, directories and irrelevant results etc etc etc, no CLUTTER and it is free to use". This changed the way people looked for things on the Web forever ... well at least until now. MS tried to COPY the entire concept with Bing ... too late ... finders keepers worked here.

    2) Gmail, 2004. There were a lot of email services one of them Hotmail. Gmail leveraged on the Google Search power and again an unobtrusive generic email platform built around Web Standards, it won people attention.

    3) A year later 2005, Youtube came. I don't remember back than a service of its kind back than. It was all about video, globally. I don't remember anyone going for it, not even MS.

    4) Also 2005, Google Maps. Changed the mapping business for ever, again free to use. Back in the day there were plenty of mapping services sold along with GPS devices and systems. Google really invested heavily on this. Portugal is a country that no one cared much about and I could see Google vans mapping Portugal areas. Google always thought Globally, with proper support everywhere at least in the western countries. Impressive!!! Again on top of the Google Search power, for Google was clear that it was all about providing access to information fast, never mind the form, to everyone. MS had something clumsy called MapPoint.

    It was clear also that it had a different technical focus. For them, THE WEB WAS THE PLATFORM. Very few were taking that point of view soo deep into their culture. For instance, there was JAVA from Sun than Oracle, MS was playing still with Windows Forms, while try to control JAVA growth with Microsoft JVM and its proprietary extensions a very old trick to locking technology into the Windows Platform, sued by Sun, Anti trust stuff going on. Eventually lead to a Sun meltdown, being bought by Oracle.

    5) Chrome in 2008. MS IE was at rage in the user space. Netscape could not face MS Javascript proprietary extensions, avoiding the standard as much as possible to lock in the INTERNET into Windows. Form a company with the ambitions of Google with a focus on the Web as the Platform (standard) this was unavoidable. They wanted their services to be accessible anywhere not just Windows.

    6) Than came the iPhone. The first easy to use smartphone focused on the Internet. So that Apple invited Google to join in and build Youtube and Maps. These apps came preinstalled on the device. This kind of characterizes Apple attitude. They did similar things with Microsoft along the years, partnering for productivity apps ....

    7) Android 2008. I think Google saw here a way for their services with further reach. I think given the experience they had with Microsoft Windows, it only natural they would be interested in not being constrained by Apple iOS and have full control of the device software. Interesting enough they opted for Java considering that in 2007 it was licensed under GNU already and of course Linux. Clearly Web technologies were not mature enough to provide an experience similar to an iPhone.

    So they copied Apple's approach to the smartphone using a different tech, more open.

    It was interesting what they did here. While Apple was viewed as a very closed system, Google went the opposite. The goal was so that users and vendors could tailor it anyway they would see fit from UI perspective. Even more open than Windows. All it mattered was I think, that it could run Googles present and future tech with no strings attached to any OS vendor.

    Trade off, was performance. It never was the most efficient and performant system on the market. Nevertheless it the most customizable and with minimal barriers of entry (cheaper devices so on and so forth). They also moved quite fast, really fast. That seamed to won legion of followers and user, it was not so much the tech, but the attitude really cought a lot of people's "hearts". Different from MS and Apple.

    I think the key to Google success was openness. Open Source, Standard Base, Open access to information to every user, Web Based apps that could be accessible from any browser along with a free to use model, so on and so forth. The business model around Ads is just a means to assure that such thing would be possible ... at least ... initially ... I guess. As the Web don't think they ever considered on Country more important than the other in terms of access, engagement and ease of use. How they managed financially do this is beyond my comprehension.

    This strategy, their relentless focus on Openness of Information, Easy Access to Everyone and Open Standards lead them to 2 billion active devices and probably the most used Web services in the Globe, that run everywhere. That is what gives them control, not the underlying tech.

    Microsoft UWP, ..., again control from tech. Same as Apple. With a difference. Apple does not seam to be interested in everything that moves. Only in certain things, and excel in them end-to-end. From devices to services, but only on very specific things as I said. They don't want to be the everyones platform, or the gatekeepers of the consumer tech, they are not expansionist like MS and Google are. One may mention Apple Maps, but that I think was a defense move of Apple against Google Android. It was not very good, but I think it works in end, iOS has the best mobile applications on the Planet running on top.

    UWP instead of being an acronym for Universal Windows Platform. The goal seams to be pretty much the same as the Web Platform but Windows focused, it should have been, Universal Web Platform. I think MS has a better chance in beating Google on their Game in this context, than playing the Windows game as they ever played, using the same old "tricks". They don't seam to be working for now at least.

    • Ugur

      In reply to nbplopes:

      Google's main focus isn't the web nor web languages though.

      It just happened to be the case that they started with web first things but their focus is collecting and making usable big data, no matter whether it's via a web app or native mobile app or in vr stuff or whatever.

      And no matter in which language (for example most Android apps are made in Java, C++/C and cross platform ones like Unity in C#+C++ etc).

      The next big platform is also not the web but rather AI.

      Web is basically just a deployment option to most, nothing more, nothing less.

      Yes, most modern apps also get part of their smarts or other backend over the web, but all use that, that's not specific to Google.

      What's specific to google is that they focused on data collection and understanding and making usable the data as one of the first in big way.

      And they continually push that further, meanwhile on the level of pushing on machine learning with own data centers and even own chips and cards made just for that.

      And that's the backbone of most of their apps and services, sure it uses the web as transport mechanism and in some cases also web languages in the apps themselves, but the web aspect is a means to an end, not the main goal or focus.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to Ugur:

        I agree that they went to sort out and service big data problems starting with search. Still its undeniable that they focused on open web technologies to build a lot of it, including the client which as been a Web Browser from the start. Don't know much about what they actually used in their data center in terms of AI, special chips and so on.

        They could has easily developed their own language, promote it etc etc. But they did not. They always focused on the ability for their services to run everywhere the cheapest possible way for them, and that was through using existing standards and push for standards. Nodejs for instance is not about web transport, neither is Angular, neither is ...

        Point being, they are not into to building and selling Platforms like MS is, Oracle and IBM were. Yes they have Google Cloud now, but that was built out of their internal services experience much like Amazon, a Retailer, did.

        At least for now.

        Don't forget that they also have the Google Suite that was entirely web based since inception. This is not so much a big data problem per si. Now things might change.

        AI as a Platform? Sure it might be the next big thing. Most stuff I see in AI, reminds me of what Mozilla was to the Web. It all depends on how useful it will be. Fishy statistics around Cortana usage for instance will not help much moving the AI platform forward in practice. We are still a bit far for when it becomes natural enough to be used without thinking about how to use it from a user perspective in my experience.

        Number are important, but companies have grown from 0 to really high without numbers, without forcing users to use it. Just through cheer QUALITY and pertinence. Cortana is important for MS, but common everything goes through Cortana in Windows 10, a file search, including app search is hardly AI or representative of why people would use AI and Cortana and in general intelligent agents.

        Take Chrome OS for instance. I personally believe that Chrome OS is dead if its apps can only run on Chrome OS. I think it was important for Chrome OS popularity the ability to run does apps on others platforms such as Windows, Mac and Linux. Considering that Google is abandoning Chrome App support on Chrome and that Chrome OS has difficulties in dealing with things like Electron and so forth ... I wonder what they have in their sleeve. Hopefully they aren't thinking that developers want to start developing specifically for Chrome OS, if that is the case .... Oh dear.

    • Chris Lindloff

      In reply to nbplopes: I agree with most of what you said. However this....

      "their relentless focus on Openness of Information, Easy Access to Everyone and Open Standards lead them to 2 billion active devices"
      I don't agree with. Google's revenue is 80-90% targeted Ad sales. Their "focus" is to suck up as much information as possible to continue their crazy successful Ad business.
      I use Chrome, Photos and YouTube. I don't pay a single dime for any of them, nor does anyone else. These free tools are designed from the ground up to collect information. Sure they have great features but that just helps them gather more information to feed the Ad business.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to Chris Lindloff:

        If you ask anyone why they choose its definitely not because of Ads. So if it not because of that its because of something else right? It's only logical. Yes their business revenue is mainly through Ads, yet that is not the value they offer to its user base.

        You get some, you give some. Their business model is around ads, this gives them financially ability that is then used fuel free to use. That is how you get free for use. The info you provide through your activities are used to target you with ads.

        Side note: But funny enough their ads aren't really that intrusive. Check out their apps.

        I don't see much problem with this. It very clear, very transparent. Everyone know how it works. Take it or leave it.

        The problem becomes when you pay to use something and still give them info altogether to improve de AI to do whatever stuff that you don't really know what it is for. That is what MS does.

        Haven't you noticed the Ads in Windows 10? Take for instance the Microsoft Graph. Aren't they enticing developers to use the MS Graph, in other words YOUR INFO, YOUR INFO to do what? Yes you can grant access or not, but soon enough you will have a web of services that you granted access and forgot about it with access to YOUR DATA, YOUR DATA. Oh, not to mention that terms of use of these services that you granted access to your data change on the fly just like that and you don't even notice. It gets really really complex. Really, really complex.

        Meanwhile, you pay to use everything that MS does. MS will have enough data to target you with Ads as they seam to be (I tell you that it is to improve the experience and work), third parties will get access to your data, MS Graph (you will grant them), MS also receives money for that from them, than developers will pay $$ for better dev tools to MS, than still they will get 30% out of every sale in their App Store, and than also pay Premium for the Surface line with bugs as a desert.

        Take for instance some cenarios already shown. You ara having a chat in some MS service, you mention that you need to book a room and LA, or you are talking about dinner out, someone mentions that its a vegetarians.. For whatever reason Cortana comes in with a list of suggestions about where you should book the room, or a table for dinner, some vegetarian restaurants ... oh its amazing its automations ... THIS ARE ADS, ADS, ADS ADS. Super personalized ADs right on time. How are they ranked? It is useful? Yes it is, but aren't Google Ads useful too sometimes?

        All this with the "Microsoftians" cheering to this Wonderfull world, still talking about Google and its Ads, still talking about how Apple just tricks its customers with their tools and services, than they launch a paying license of Windows 10 S with all its strings attached. It is brilliant, just brilliant.

        The thing is AI does not work without data and makes selection based on something. It does not work without YOUR DATA. It seams to me that Google has the best business model altogether to get that data from consumers. Its clear and non ambivalent, it is cheaper as of free to use and it works.

        PS: I really like what Microsoft is doing with Microsoft Graph from a technical perspective. I really do. I really like MS providing access to developers to this data, not jus them. I really do. But as a user, I'm not really sure what is the impact of this. Are you? It is all very very blurry and highly ambivalent. I guess will see.

        Cortana: "I've notice that your screw driver just stopped working, here is a list of places you can buy a new one from ....". "Cortana I don't want any Ads ..." "Execuse me I was just trying to help ..." "You are just a Robot, Cortana you don't know anything about life!!!!!"

  5. MutualCore

    Android N installed on 5% of all Android devices(100 million devices). Who cares about 2 billion when it's mostly on old bits that will never run the latest/greatest of whatever Google is peddling this year?

    AT least with Windows 10, everyone is getting on the same version.

  6. Awhispersecho

    Mr. Pichai noted that this was “all because of the growth of mobile and smartphones"


    See that MS? In case you haven't figured it out yet, that's the market you gave up on. That's the market that 2 years ago your fearless leader said he was going to release 6 phones a year in, proceeded to release 3 phones and then bail. That's the market that attracts developers and that's the market that is the present and regardless of this "phones are old news" crap your spewing, that's the market that is the near future as well.


    Without mobile, and yes that means phones, there's no developers. Without developers, there's no apps. There is no one who can grab a 5.5" device running your OS, open an app and do what it is they want to do. In case you haven't noticed, that's apparently what 2.5 billion people in the world want to do. Without those devices running those apps, Windows becomes less used and less relevant. The small percentage of people who would now use another device and put MS services on it will get even smaller. Soon, Office doesn't matter as much and when Office doesn't matter as much, Windows matters less to enterprise. When that happens, Windows is done. Without Windows, MS is IBM. Get used to it folks.


    I have been saying for a year or so that MS will be a cloud and enterprise only company within 5 years. When I said that, I was including Windows into that equation. I no longer believe Windows will be a part of that future and this company will be a shell of its formal self. There is no path to success for MS in the future as a consumer company. None. Windows will die, faster than most think and MS will simply be a cloud company. And this will be because they bailed on the one market that they needed to attract developers. Developers that would have created apps that would have kept Windows relevant in the consumer space. Regardless of market share, they had to be in that space.


    As far as Google seeing the world as Microsoft does. They really don't, there is a huge difference and it is what has Google where they are and MS where they are. Google sees Mobile as devices running their OS which means 99% of their users will use their apps and services. MS sees Mobile as putting their apps and services on other OS's and hoping they can get as many people as possible to alienate the services they are used to, the services that came with their devices, and use MS services instead. Which one of those strategies do you think has a better chance at succeeding?

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Awhispersecho:

      I don't think they VOLUNTARILY bailed, any more than SEGA voluntarily got out of the gaming console market. There was no room for a third OS. Perhaps they could have beat Google o the punch by refining Windows Mobile, but they didn't, and they are going to pay sooo dearly for that one missed boat. Oh well, a quarter century at the top ain't too bad, and they'll have business for at least a decade more.

  7. glenn8878

    While I don't use Android, Google's apps are quite good. If engagement is the key, Microsoft has a long way to go.

  8. Eric Rasmussen

    You know what one of the other problems was? Microsoft continuously getting tech people excited about something and then dropping it. I've been with Microsoft since DOS 3.3 on an 80286. They're really good at coming up with ideas that are ahead of their time and then dropping the tech just as the market for it starts to appear. Movie Maker was in Windows 95. Where is movie maker now? Windows 10 has no such thing. Windows Media Center could have been Roku, but they dropped it. Paired with the ability to make a phone call, Zune could have been huge. But they dropped it and massively overhauled the platform and APIs around Windows mobile every year or two. Hololens was HUGE, but they've basically dropped the tech. I don't understand how this visionary company came to be so unable to stick with anything for more than a couple of years without massively changing it all the time.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Eric Rasmussen:

      Actually they're likely in 4th place after

      Computer Associates (historical but the place products went to die)

      Google (who has killed off more products than they've kept

      Oracle (who has a massive history of buying companies, hyping the acquisition and then killing them)

  9. Chris Lindloff

    Yes it is an impressive number. The number one reason for it's success is cost.

    Android is nothing but another distribution of Linux that runs on ARM. Linux is used on so many devices because it is free. Nothing wrong with that at all. So many devices we use everyday use some form of "Nix" at their core because the OS was free. Anything "smart" in your home uses it. Routers, TV's, appliances, thermostats, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation (all versions), Chromecast, Alexa, Google Home, even that new Cortona speaker, every networking device from your house to this website, maybe even the website (Linux/Apache) uses some form of stripped down "nix" as an OS. Cost is the number one reason.

    Even if Microsoft said Windows was free tomorrow, all versions including servers, I doubt they would change anything at this point.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Chris Lindloff:


      • Android is an operating system, and with Google's add-ons, an ecosystem, that runs on top of a Linux kernel
      • Android doesn't just run on ARM, it runs on anything. Right now on x86, there have been tablets with MIPS processors...

      The way I see it, the Linux underpinnings of Android, once having allowed a quick build-up of the "interesting" Android parts (APIs, ecosystem...) is now holding it back because of driver/update limitations.

      So Linux gets a lot of credit, and a good chunk of the blame too. My current hope is that Fuchsia will replace it.

    • F4IL

      In reply to Chris Lindloff:

      Even msft is using linux on their own products like the R.I.P Band, the new Linux powered Cortana speaker and of course Azure. No one stopped msft from turning Windows into a successful platform for mobile, IOT and cloud.

      On a final note, being free (as in beer) doesn't really cut it anymore. Linux is free as in both beer and freedom, which means users and corporate entities can use it in any way they see fit, as long as they disclose the source code. An obvious example is Android. Weather windows is 0$ is completely irrelevant, since Google can't use it to create Android. With Linux they can create anything they want, from a small watch all the way up to their entire cloud infrastructure.

  10. Wizzwith

    So, if Android is at 2 billion, and it was just reported to have passed Windows usage share by like 1-2% or so, what does that mean for how many active Windows devices there are?  It's been touted as 1.5 billion for years, does this mean it's actually closer to 2 billion? If so that throws off assumptions about the percentages of Windows 10/8/7/XP etc.. Or does this 2 billion include ~500 million non phone/tablet Android devices which were not counted in those other numbers?

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      You are correct. Microsoft is only actively reporting Windows 10 installs, not the entire world' install base of Windows. Google's problem is that their win here is on 4 -5 inch devices that are disposable to most users and their operating system has no anchor on PCs. Google is very much at risk of losing everything in the next 5 years as a result - there simply is no eco system beyond the phone for them. MS and Apple have a family of products with MS being the only one setting up a true multiplatform device solution. If history has taught me anything we are at the beginning of the mobile computing era not the end of it.

    • 1024freeman

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      Its whatever your reality distortion field wants it to be.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      I crunched the numbers and it's about:

      Google: 2.0 billion

      Microsoft: 1.9 billion

      Apple: 1.0 billion

      Everybody else: 0.1 billion

      That combines desktop/laptop/producer tablet/consumer tablet/phone for all vendors

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        What % of those Google devices run MSFT products or services?

        What % of those MSFT devices run Google products or services?

        And FTHOI, what % of those Apple devices run Google products or services?

        MSFT isn't as close as you'd like to believe.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I suspect, but have no data, that a good percent of devices running each vendor's OS have apps and use services from lots of vendors. Hardly surprising.

          As for "as close as I'd like to believe", I didn't post "beliefs", I posted data based on the known numbers. If anything is "belief" based it's any assumptions on why that data can't be right because it doesn't meet some preconception.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            Take a look at either Netmarketshare or StatCounter figures for desktop browser share. Make adjustments to consider only desktop microcomputers (including WinTel tablets) running Windows. Google still has more users than IE+Edge.

            MSFT may have 1.9 billion devices running some version of Windows, and more than half of them are putting $$$ into Google's pockets.

  11. Ugur

    Yeah, an impressive number. I thought it was interesting that they also had a segment on pushing to reach the next billion by offering an Android version for super low end spec devices.

  12. Bats

    Paul Thurrott is No. 1,999,999,999

    The number will most likely double to 4 million, due to Google leading the charge with Augmented and Virtual Reality.

  13. Darmok N Jalad

    Yet a recent survey had the iPhone loyalty rate at 93%. The take away from those two bits is that MS lost big with the failure of Windows Mobile. Apple has never sought or owned this kind of volume, so Google has taken away what used to belong to MS about 10 years ago--being the household device in every person's hands. Google has the bottom and middle, and even a good deal of the top of the market. The funny thing is, Android is really only successful (and usable) on smartphones. If they had ever come up with a good tablet formula and gotten the app support, who knows where that might have gone, too.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      Isn't Apple cratering in China ? Where's the iLoyalty ?

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      I see a lot of people using laptops for BARELY productive things every day....IMO it is a total failure on Google's part to not sell a laptop that runs Android and allows you to open many "mobile-designed" apps on a "desktop"....like, say, a deck of cards. I might never personally use that, but I know a lot of young people who would. Chromebooks are a dud.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to Jorge Garcia: Isn't that basically what they are trying to do with the Android Play store on Chrome OS? I actually do have an ASUS 'laptop', convertible actually, that runs Android. Android didn't really support windowing though, and the device isn't getting any updates.. Even if it were, just two apps, split screen, or this PiP thing, wouldn't make it a 'laptop'.

        • Jorge Garcia

          In reply to SvenJ:

          "Trying to do" that is the operative word...they have refused to release it yet, and when they do it (reportedly) feels a little hack-ish...because it is. Clearly they are waiting for some "whole enchilada" move...but I'm getting impatient, because I really thing the age of (MS) Windows in the home needs to end. I think Google should have simply made (Windowed) Desktop Android a long time ago...others have, but those are not official.

      • Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to Jorge Garcia:

        Yes, but isn't Google still trying to make a laptop OS that does what you say? Yeah, it hasn't been good so far, but maybe they are trying to make it work correctly at launch, so it doesn't flop like the tablet sector did. Honeycomb was quite the failure.

        • Chris Lindloff

          In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

          Yes they are. It is called Fuchsia. I believe it has multiple goals....

          Get off Linux because it has its own set of issues (security/driver model)

          Get off Java to shutdown the Oracle BS for good.

          Combine the features of Android and Chrome OS into one OS that runs on anything....kind of like the vision of Windows 10.

          This OS, if they stick to it (which is an issue for Google) should replace both Chrome OS and Android and be their platform going forward.

          If this happens and Android apps can be easily ported, really easily then Microsoft could be in serious trouble when it comes to Windows on the desktop.

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to Jorge Garcia:

        Microsoft struggled to scale down Windows to fit on mobile because of the legacy API's they're stuck with. Google realized a mobile device isn't a desktop device, so launched ChromeOS - which is actually fine for >90% of uses (listen up MS!), but now they are working on merging the two into a unified platform, and when they finally do, MS could have a real problem on their hands. It's likely these days Google don't even see MS as a threat anymore, as MS have already shot themselves more times than you can believe!

  14. hrlngrv

    But the difference is that, today, Google controls the client, not Microsoft.

    Perhaps Google also understands its customers/users a heckuva lot better than MSFT does.

    Back when MSFT was a big bad monopoly, there were many reasons to prefer MSFT's offerings to those of its competitors. That is, maybe to an extent MSFT earned its monopoly.

    Today, maybe Google has earned its dominant position, and in the opposite sense, MSFT has also earned its relative obscurity. And not just due to MSFT's failure in mobile, but also that people prefer Google web search to Bing, Gmail to Outlook.com, Youtube to ????, Play Store to the, er, understocked Windows Store. Or perhaps Microsoft has become a byword for your grandfather's software source.

  15. hrlngrv

    Re Google Chrome having more than 1 billion active monthly users, it hits an ideal middle. Not as many add-ins as Firefox, but a lot more than anything else. Available on Windows, macOS, Linux (and nearly Linux BSD variants), Android and iOS. Only Opera tries for such breadth. MSFT seems to be interested in only providing browsers (are they still part of the OS?) for Windows, not that anyone in their right mind would try using IE for any other OS, but Edge is exclusively Windows and has fewer regular users than Safari (on all device types).

    That is, MSFT has CHOSEN to have a SMALL user base for its browsers, and they're succeeding in keeping the user base small.

  16. jimchamplin

    1.97 billion of them suck too hard to use.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      If 80% of smartphones are bought by fools looking for cheap (Android) and another 19% by fools looking for the Apple logo, is the remaining 1% of sensible, rational phone buyers really relevant?

      The market is what it is, and it's unlikely there's going to be any opening for either Windows phones or Blackberries or anything else (sorry Jolla) to establish itself as a durable third option.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Oh yeah. That's so true. At this point this is what we're stuck with. It's just so daunting a thing when you realize just how bad most Android hardware is. I'm talking about products that are pretty much feature phones.

        If you've never seen one, never known someone who took them from their carrier over and over then count yourself lucky. I'm talking about real trash.

  17. Jules Wombat

    well Google is a Global company, with global services, unlike Microsoft who seem only to offer their best services to US only.

    Google deserve to have toppled Microsoft.

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