Microsoft has traditionally enjoyed a long-standing monopoly over the operating system market. 1.5 billion desktops and laptops are thought to run on the Windows operating system, giving Microsoft a market share of 44%, according to Net Applications.
Google’s Android’s market share currently sits at 17.4%. But according to analysts, dramatic changes are afoot. Research firm Gartner estimates that by 2016 the number of Android driven computers, tablets and smartphones will have soared from 608 million to 2.3 billion, overtaking Microsoft, which, Gartner predicts, will be running Windows on 2.28 billion devices.
How does Gartner qualify these radical predictions? Microsoft’s Windows software has reigned supreme over the personal computer industry for years and given the recent launch of Windows 8, surely global giant Microsoft stands a good chance of retaining its market dominance?
Technological change continues to thunder along at breakneck speed – Google’s Android operating system may have only emerged four years ago, but it is now well-established, widely available and proving to be fierce competition for rivals Windows and Apple. For decades, the PC served as our primary device. But then Apple created iOS and Google’s Android was born. Suddenly we started viewing our phones and then our tablets as very real rivals to our desktops and laptops. Many activities that used to be the preserve of the PC, such as watching films, listening to music or browsing the Internet could be done on a smaller device, on the move if necessary.
Microsoft has been struggling to keep pace with the smartphone sector and currently presides over a market share of only 3%. Increasing numbers of us are choosing a mobile device as our primary computer. Worldwide PC shipments slumped 8% in the last three months alone and it is likely that this trend will continue – four years from now, smartphones and tablets may well have taken the place of the once ubiquitous PC.
Some analysts believe that Microsoft faces a monumental challenge luring customers away from Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The launch of the revolutionary iPhone in 2007 made an already powerful brand even stronger.
Android now powers around 150 devices on the market in Western Europe and is continuing to gather momentum. Gartner believes that ‘broad-scale deployment of Windows 8’ is unlikely to happen. Most enterprises, management vendors and consumers are thought to be unprepared for such a radical change – a new and unfamiliar operating system which features a tile-centric touch-interface. Read the rest of this entry »