Apple 2.0

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If Android is so hot, why has Java ME overtaken it?

January 1, 2012: 8:21 AM ET

Ranked by Internet market share -- rather than unit sales -- Google is now No. 3 

Data: NetApplications. Chart: PED

From the perspective of NetApplications, which has been measuring browser usage data since 2004 (currently monitoring the activity of 160 million users on 40,000 sites):

  • Apple's (AAPL) iOS is the still reigning champion of the World Wide Web among mobile operating systems (including tablets)
  • Google's (GOOG) Android made a strong showing in 2011 but has started to fade
  • Oracle's (ORCL) Java ME is now the world's fastest growing mobile OS, having retaining the No. 2 spot it lost briefly to Android in October.

Java ME?

Yes, Java Micro Edition, the Java platform designed by Sun Microsystems and acquired by Oracle in 2010. It's used primarily in embedded systems, such as the low-cost feature phones (A.K.A. "dumb" phones) sold by the hundreds of millions to people all over the world who can't afford or don't want a smartphone.

And according to the NetApplications report issued Sunday,  it's making a comeback.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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