published by Indigo Productions


What Operating System Mix Do You Use?

There are three major Operating System families.  Those are Microsoft, Apple, and Unix/Linux with their derivatives, such as Ubuntu.  While some people are such devoted fans that they utilize the same OS for all their devices—especially Apple users who only work with iOS—most people use different operating systems for different devices, or even tasks with a virtual machine running on their local computer.

People who work with desktop and laptop computers for creating visuals and multimedia, such as web designers, graphic designers and video editors, tend to use Apple products.  On the other hand, hardcore programmers that are part of the Open Source movement tend to run everything on Unix-based platforms, such as Linux or Ubuntu.  In most cases though, people tend to use multiple environments—they may use a Mac computer but have an Android cell phone and host their website on a Linux server.  Let’s look at some trends and numbers then:

What are the Most Popular Operating Systems by Market Share?

I just pulled up the data of the Internet traffic Indigo Productions website received during 2013 (year-to-date, as of 12/11/13) to look at the operating systems of our visitors and the results were as follows:*

1) Windows: 45.38%
2) Macintosh: 42.54%
3) iOS: 7.77%
4) Android: 2.41%
5) Linux: o.89%

Please note that the statistics above may mislead into a wrong conclusion that Microsoft-based operating systems were used by just under 3% more, but that is not the case.  Macintosh and iOS are both Apple operating systems—the former is a desktop and laptop OS, while iOS is used mostly for mobile devices, such as the entire iPhone lineup.  A quick calculation reveals the winner:

Microsoft: Windows + Windows Phone = 45.38% + 0.01% = 45.39%

Apple: Macintosh + iOS = 42.54% + 7.77% = 50.31%

Rounded to the first decimal point, Apple’s operating systems account for over half of all the visits and beat Microsoft by 5%—this just goes to show why Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash before Adobe’s takeover of Macromedia) has virtually disappeared from websites around the world.  What’s interesting is how one company can kill a proprietary technology of another firm, and not a small one at that but a Fortune 500 business!  Adobe Systems counts its annual revenues in the billions of dollars and is a component of the S&P 500!

The other operating systems in the report included (in descending order): BlackBerry, Chrome OS, Windows Phone, Series40, Firefox OS, SymbianOS, Nokia, Playstation 3 (PS3), Samsung, MOT, Xbox, Google TV, Unix.

*The data above is based on the Web traffic from 1/1/13 to 13/11/13.

**Statistics above are based on a population of 47,831 visitors

***Data has been collected through Google Analytics (we value people’s privacy and we collect this data only for research and analysis purposes – a fact stated in our privacy policy) and presents a population of visitors to the Indigo Productions website and as such is not a sample of a population gathered through a survey (such as the following table) or other statistics tools.

While in our case Apple seemed to be a dominant player on the market, the situation looks differently based on the statistics released by a web analytics firm Net Applications.  The table below suggests that Microsoft is still the undisputed champion of the operating systems market:

Desktop operating system browsing statistics on Net Applications
Windows 7 46.64%
Windows XP 31.22%
Windows 8 9.30%
OS X 7.55%
Other 4.98%
Windows Vista 3.57%
Linux 1.56%


Similarly, Net Applications’ research suggests that Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer, is by far the most commonly used Internet browser:

Operating System Mix in 2008-2010

While data with market shares for browsers and operating systems is readily available, I have yet to see a popularity study for sets of operating systems that people use for their different devices and purposes.  I have been interested in the subject since early 2008 and at the time my (simplified) operating system mix, looked like this:

Personal Computer(s): Windows
Website Server(s): Linux
Mobile Device(s): iOS

Connecting with people on the Web—mostly forums and message boards for designers, programmers, and Internet marketers—I have found out that most of the people used the same mix as I did.

Changes in Operating System Mix After 2011

Naturally, while it stayed so for quite some time, this lineup has changed with time:

– After overwhelming success of the Apple products—iPhone, iPod, and iPad—the industry decided to follow and the iOS was joined by Android mobile operating system.  According to research released by Gartner in a press release on August 14, 2013, 79% of mobile devices sold to end consumers are running on an Android OS, with the iOS getting only 14.2% worldwide.

– Google’s work on the Chrome OS may be another player in the near future.

– Growing popularity of Apple computers and spread of the free Ubuntu are challenging Windows’ dominant position in the personal computer segment.

– The overall technology boom brings new devices, new software suites and operating systems a rate never seen before, so any OS mix popular today may get turned around within several months, if not weeks.

Operation Systems Mix Popularity Study—Why?

Using multiple systems has many downsides, but in the current technology landscape when something new is always around the corner and any attempt at standardization seldom, if ever, fully succeeds, the need to juggle several different systems is simply a reality.  I think that this subject is not only fascinating but a company that could get and understand this data would, in my humble opinion, gain a competitive advantage over other technology companies.

Importance of Understanding Operating Systems Diversity for Video Production

All this being said, what is the importance of the OS Mix for a video production professional or a business person that utilizes this medium?  Most importantly, we should remember that our video will eventually be watched by people using a variety of devices with many different operating systems and software suites.  The importance of this fact is that we want our entire audience to be able to fully enjoy your video, regardless of where and how they are viewing it.

Hope you enjoyed this article and please share with us your operating systems mix!  Did you carefully select it or did it just fall into place?  All your thoughts that you’re willing to share are much appreciated!

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Category: Video production Software

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