Today in Apple history: iOS finally overtakes Windows Mobile


Original iPhone running iOS 1
Things have certainly changed in eight years.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 17: Today in Apple history: iOS overtakes Windows Mobile December 17, 2009: Apple finally triumphs over longtime rival Microsoft … on mobile operating system market share.

Figures released by research firm comScore show that iPhone OS (as iOS is called at the time) surpasses Windows Mobile in the United States. At the time, roughly 36 million Americans own smartphones. Of these, a quarter run Apple’s mobile operating system.

The undisputed leader at the time was Research in Motion’s BlackBerry operating system, found on 40 percent of American handsets. Apple came in second. Microsoft took third, followed by Palm, then Symbian and (in last position) Google’s Android operating system.

What a difference 8 years make

Things sure have changed in eight years.
Photo: ComScore

In some ways, these adoption figures represent a turning point in tech. At the time, Microsoft still led Apple in terms of valuation, although clearly things were changing fast. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer laughed at the iPhone, which he slated as a non-serious competitor to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.

By May the following year, Apple overtook Microsoft in market capitalization, surpassing the tech giant that dominated Cupertino during the previous decade. By the end of 2010, Microsoft dropped its Windows Mobile operating system in favor of Windows Phone OS.

The other rival operating systems of 2009 also shed light on how much things changed in the years since. BlackBerry, then the industry leader, has become an afterthought. Palm OS has meanwhile been discontinued, as has Symbian. Aside from iOS, the only other mobile OS to flourish is Android.

Figures from 2017 show that current U.S. smartphone operating system adoption breaks down like this: Android runs on 53.3 percent of devices, iOS on 44.9 percent, Microsoft’s OS on 1.3 percent and RIM/BlackBerry on 0.5 percent.

Things sure have changed in the past eight years!

Which mobile operating system and handset were you using back in December 2009? Let us know in the comments below.