By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
January 13, 2014

FORTUNE — Oranges are being compared with Apples in the attached chart. Or rather, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows PCs with four kinds of Apple (AAPL) devices — Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.

But Asymco‘s Horace Dediu, who posted it Monday, is bending the rules to make a serious point:

In the 1980s and 1990s computing platform decisions were made first by companies then by developers and later by individuals who took their cues from what standards were already established… A platform could win by convincing 500 individuals who had the authority (as CIOs) to impose through fiat a standard on the centers of gravity of purchasing power.

Today, with mobile products there are billions of decision makers. 500 decisions mean nothing. In fact, Apple with at least 500 million loyal and wealthy users is considered [by Wall Street] to be in a precarious situation…

Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft’s power over the purchase decision. It’s not just unlikely that this situation will be reversed, it’s impossible. Computing decision making has moved to the furthest edge where use has been for decades. The computer has become personal not just in the sense of how it’s used but in the sense of how it’s owned.

In footnote, Dediu mentions that in 2012 he predicted that iOS plus OS X would catch up to Windows in 2013 or 2014. He’s not wrong yet.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story showed a different Asymco chart that some readers had trouble interpreting. Both versions are available at the link below.

LINK: When Apple reached parity with Windows.

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