A new study by Gartner shows that 94% of newly purchased PCs run Microsoft Windows 7, four percent run Apple OS X, and two percent run Linux. This number is boosted by corporate IT departments, which are conducting massive rollouts of Windows 7. Many enterprises are still running Windows XP because they had decided to skip over Windows Vista, which was widely panned due to software incompatibilities and overzealous security.
Windows 7 is currently installed on 42% of PCs and is the fastest selling operating system ever. However, Gartner expects this to be the last major rollout of a standalone OS on business PCs, as enterprises are moving toward hosted computing and virtualization.
The future of PC domination itself is in doubt as smartphone and tablet sales explode. PC sales slumped 5.6% in the second quarter of 2011, while smartphones enjoyed an 85% year-over-year increase in sales. An IBM engineer who helped design the first IBM PC believes the personal computer is “going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.”
Yet while smartphone sales are surging, with 500,000 Android phone activations per day and growing, Microsoft appears to have completely missed the smartphone wave. A new report by Gartner shows that Microsoft’s worldwide share of smartphone sales fell to 1.6% in 2Q11 from 4.9% the same quarter last year. That’s a 67% drop in one year! Even the little-known Bada phone by Samsung beat the Microsoft Windows phone with a 1.9% market share.
The PC certainly won’t die overnight and will continue to be the device-of-choice for developers, analysts, scientists, and other high-end users. But web-based computers such as the Google Chrome Book, virtualization, smartphones, and tablets will take an increasingly larger bite out of PC sales. Hence, the Microsoft cash cows Windows and Office are in serious jeopardy. Will Microsoft be able to recover?
Article published on August 12, 2011
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