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Signs of the PC era to have well and truly ended and the growing dominance of smartphones and tablets as computing devices are out in the open, and Microsoft surely isn’t smiling. Despite being a force to be reckoned with in the global desktop computing OS market share, the Redmond giant and its popular Windows OS is in serious danger of becoming a marginal slice in the overall operating system pie. At least that’s what Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking firm, believes.
A Goldman Sachs report suggests that Microsoft’s Windows operating system was deployed and used on 97 per cent of computing devices as recently as the year 2000. But that was the time when desktop PCs and laptops were dominating the market, the era of smart mobile phones and tablet hadn’t begun. According to the Goldman Sachs report, Windows’ current market share is just 20 per cent.
Such a drastic change in Windows’ fortunes in just over a decade is astonishing to say the least. The current market leader in OS market share is Google’s Android, installed on 42 per cent of all computing devices – and it’s been out of the blocks for barely five years or so. This makes Windows 8 ever so crucial for Microsoft’s foothold among consumer OSes, and no wonder it’s reportedly spending over US $1 billion globally in advertising the product.
Even Apple’s share in consumer operating system worldwide has surpassed that of Microsoft Windows’ – the Cupertino giant’s combined Mac OS X and iOS is now found on 24 per cent of computing devices deployed globally.
The Goldman Sachs report on platform ecosystems was first published in The Seattle Times article last week. And if you go through its entirety, the report states that Microsoft and Windows will struggle to keep up with the meteoric rise of Android and iOS for at least a few more years.
This prediction is in keeping with an IDC report (released last week) on tablet growth through 2016. According to the IDC report, Windows’ current market share of 2.9 per cent on tablets will only grow up to 10.3 per cent by the year 2016. Club that with the Goldman Sachs report forecasting PC sales to remain flat throughout 2013, tablets becoming critical drivers of growth in the technology market, the overall Windows market share in computing devices will largely remain stagnant in the near future – it won’t jump up drastically by all estimations.
While nothing is cast in stone and these are still early days in the war of platform ecosystems and devices, Microsoft and Windows have quite a task on their hands to reclaim their crown. Will they succeed? Or is it too late?