Are Your Windows Getting Dirty?

Will Microsoft be able to hold the consumer and enterprise market dominance they’ve enjoyed since, like the beginning of computing, or is this the beginning of the end?

My good friend, Preston Gralla is on a roll. He’s had a number of really compelling articles on Microsoft lately. His latest contribution is no exception. His theory here is while MS Windows is the number one desktop OS in 2013; it’s the number three OS in 2015.

His points are clear and concise.

  • Apple PC’s and operating systems (both OS X and iOS) are growing in popularity
  • Android currently has a larger market share than Windows (22.8% to 15.6%, respectively)
  • Both Apple and Google OS are going to continue to gain market share. Microsoft is going to continue to lose share.

Microsoft’s biggest problem is BYOD (bring your own device). Most consumers are not choosing Windows when they purchase new computing devices. With OS X, iOS and the many flavors of Android available, affordable, and with available, professional, productivity tools for them, there’s a great deal of choice available to the consumer.

Users don’t have to stick with a Microsoft compatible computing device to get MS Office compatibility. You can choose from any number of open source options or any number of cloud based options, INCLUDING Office 356 and Google Apps.

Apple will soon be joining the cloud-based Office Suite Revolution when it completes and releases iWork in iCloud, currently in beta. Any and all of these office based suites can be accessed from just about any browser, making the type of computing device irrelevant.

Currently, Microsoft’s computing devices – Surface RT and Surface Pro – aren’t selling well. Both are expensive for what they do, there expandability and upgrade options; and the OS’s they run – Windows RT and Windows 8, respectively – have NOT been received well. This combination is proving deadly as their share of the current computing markets is dropping. The current projections have traditional PC sales dropping by nearly 20% by the end of 2014.

When you factor in rising BYOD trends that add non-Microsoft diversity to the enterprise – traditionally Microsoft’s saving grace – you get a dismal picture. According to Gartner, Windows is the number 2 OS in the world right now with a 15.6% share. Android is number 1 with 22.8% and Apple is third with 9.6% (includes both iOS and OS X).

Gartner is predicting the following shifts for 2014:

  • Android – 42.3%
  • Microsoft – 15.1%
  • Apple – 14.2%

By 2015, Apple will overtake Microsoft, according to Gartner. Microsoft has a lot of work to do to prevent this from happening. Ballmer needs to wake up and find someone with a better mobile vision than he currently has if he wants to turn this baby around.

In my opinion, Mobile has been Ballmer’s biggest weakness. He hasn’t gotten it from the get-go. It’s the single biggest reason why Windows Mobile sucked and then tanked, and why they haven’t been able to get a handle on the Mobile Market with Windows Phone. Windows RT is confusing both the market and its users, and Windows 8 is a hybrid mish-mash of mobile and desktop OS components that few understand or find value in.

The traditional cash cows Microsoft has been milking – Office and Windows – have lost their enterprise appeal due to BYOD and the growth of non-traditional PC markets. Microsoft hasn’t kept up with the trends, and is now in a nasty cross road. The time for indecision is long past. Serious mobile leadership is needed.

Preston is right when he implies that Microsoft’s last hurrah may be Windows 9 (or whatever they call it) in 2015. They COULD get it together between now and then and release something that really catches on, but based on their current direction, momentum, vision and products, it’s unlikely…which is really sad, considering how much Microsoft has shaped not only computing, but world culture as well.

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