Gartner: Microsoft’s OS supremacy over Apple to end in 2017

For the first time this century shipments of Apple devices powered by its operating systems outnumber those running Windows, Gartner said today.

In 2017, Apple's combination of iOS and macOS will take second place from Windows on the devices shipped during the year, according to the research group (the Android OS, spread across multiple devices and manufacturers, will dominate) The gap between the two will widen in 2018 and 2019, with Apple ahead of Microsoft both years.

According to Gartner, which provided Computerworld with its latest device shipment forecast broken out by operating system, in 2016 Windows powered about 260 million devices of the 2.3 billion shipped during the year. 

Meanwhile, iOS and macOS sank to 248 million devices in 2016, a 10% drop from the previous year because of lower iPhone sales. 

However, Gartner predicted that iOS and macOS, unlike Windows, will recover in 2017. Apple's operating systems will climb 8% to 268 million this year, add 3% in 2018 to reach 276 million, then increase another 3% in 2019, with that year's device shipment forecast at 285 million, according to Gartner.

Windows will power about 252 million devices shipped in 2017 for a year-over-year decline of 3%, the research group says. Windows will account for 253 million devices in 2018 (for a near-zero growth rate) and 257 million devices in 2019 (an annual growth rate of 1.8%). The gap between Microsoft and Apple -- 12 million last year, with Microsoft atop -- will widen to 27 million by 2019, “advantage Apple,” says Gartner.