Back in 2005, we charted 30 years of personal computer market share to show graphically how the industry had developed, who succeeded and when, and how some iconic names eventually faded away completely. With the rise of whole new classes of "personal computers"—tablets and smartphones—it's worth updating all the numbers once more. And when we do so, we see something surprising: the adoption rates for our beloved mobile devices absolutely blow away the last few decades of desktop computer growth. People are adopting new technology faster than ever before.
Humans are naturally competitive creatures. Not only do we compete with each other for money and power, but we form strong allegiances to various tribes. Whether it's a favorite sports team or a chosen computing platform, we passionately cheer when they win and feel a punch in our guts when they lose. Companies know this, and they will trumpet their successes and quietly hide their failures. But is it any more important to want one multi-billion dollar company to win over another than it is to root for one arbitrary multi-million dollar athlete? Is it anything more than cheerleading?
Well—there's certainly plenty of cheerleading, but tracking the rise of fall of market share over time has more serious uses, too. Software developers need to keep track of market share so they can decide where to invest their resources. Consumers may then choose platforms based on software availability. Platforms can live—and sometimes die—by market share. The successes and failures of one generation of platforms affect the next, and ultimately this has an impact on everyone's digital lives.