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A Brief Story of the OS Wars

Over the years, the onetime giant's share of the consumer computing market has taken some dramatic hits.

A Brief Story of the OS Wars

[Illustrations by Aled Lewis]

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Intel and AMD announced a dual OS platform that would allow one device to run both Android and Windows—yet another blow to Microsoft, which has been fighting a losing battle against Apple, Google, and other companies.

Click to expand
  • 2005*: The 4GB iPod Mini is introduced, followed by the iPod Nano.
  • 2006: Two hackers, narf2006 and blanka, are the first to run Windows on a Mac.
  • 2007: The iPhone is released.
  • 2008: Android is released, on the HTC Dream.
  • 2009: Microsoft experiences the first quarterly sales drop in its history as a public company. Executives cite slackening demand for Windows as PC sales decline.
  • 2010: Apple introduces the iPad... and Samsung debuts the Android-powered Galaxy tablet.
  • 2012: With sales of its Surface tablet lagging, Microsoft launches tablet-oriented Windows 8. Windows head Steven Sinofsky leaves abruptly soon after. (Estimated)
  • 2013:Smartphone ownership cracks 50% of the U.S. adult population, 28% of whom own an Android. Only 1% of adults own Windows phones. (Estimated)

*Goldman Sachs chalks up the 2005 jump in the "Other" category to the "widespread adoption of non–PC computing devices," like cell phones.

A version of this article appeared in the May 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine.