Goldman Sachs: Windows' true market share is just 20%
Desktops are over, tablets and Smart TVs are in
Windows might still be the dominant desktop computing OS by a large margin, but Microsoft is in danger of becoming a small player in today's global computing market, according to a new report from financial bigwigs Goldman Sachs.
The report, which was obtained last week by The Seattle Times, says that while Microsoft operating systems were found on 97 per cent of all computing devices as recently as 2000, Redmond's current share is just 20 per cent, thanks to the explosion of mobile devices in recent years.
Throw smartphones and tablets into the mix along with traditional laptops and PCs, and Google emerges as the current platform leader. Goldman estimates that the Chocolate Factory's Android OS is now installed on 42 per cent of all computing devices worldwide.
Coming in second place is Apple, which helps to explain its mammoth stock valuation. Between OS X and iOS, the fruity firm actually has more users than Windows does now, with 24 per cent of the overall device market.
Goldman analysts aren't particularly hopeful about Microsoft's chances of reviving its platform, either. Although they see Redmond recapturing some market share thanks to the introduction of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, they see Apple remaining the bigger player through 2016, at least.
"Microsoft faces an uphill battle (though not insurmountable) given it lacks meaningful share in either tablets or smartphones and as such will need to rely on its appeal to knowledge workers to help drive adoption as its complement ecosystem will remain behind the iOS and Android platforms at least over the next 6-12 months," the report breathlessly states.
While Goldman Sachs predicts that the consumer PC market will remain flat in 2013, it believes tablets will be the key to the market in the coming years, with tablets helping to drive sales of devices in other form factors.
"If left without a meaningful competitor in tablets, we believe Apple's dominant share of tablets will act as an anchor that pulls its smartphone share ... steadily upward over time," the report says, noting that developing "a credible tablet" will be a must for Android's continued success, too.
That's not great news for Microsoft, though, if other recent predictions are to be believed. Just last week, analyst firm IDC estimated that Windows-based tablets would only account for 10 per cent of all tablets sold in 2016, with their current share a mere 2.6 per cent.
But the tech industry is a tricky thing, and Goldman Sachs is quick to point out that we may yet see still another device category emerge that could shake up the market just as much as tablets have.
Goldman's pick? Smart TVs, including standalone sets and devices such as Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, and Microsoft's own Xbox.
"We see [Smart TV] as having the potential to either further entrench current winners, such as Apple, or completely disrupt the market once again," the report says, adding that "consumers will match the platform of their more frequently purchased smartphones and tablets to the television they already own." ®
You lack imagination and an understanding of how to make technology work for you instead of simply doing whatever the most recent whitepaper you read tells you to do.
I do the majority of my work on Android endpoints. I use an Asus Transformer or a Samsung Galaxy Note II. A huge quantity of that time is spend using them as thin clients to RDP into my Windows XP VM running Office 2003, but this is only because Android lacks a sufficiently good Office package for me to totally jettison that VM.
Browsing, research, even a fair chunk of the server administration I do can be – and is – done directly on my Android devices. I can access Teamviewer, RDP, various terminals, transfer files, compose documents…you name it.
We don't work on TVs you say? Well, my third most frequently used Android device is…my television. I sure do get paid to work on my TV. It's a 47" 1920x1080 screen perfect for doing all sorts of useful work on. In fact, it is generally where I keep browser widows up for research, since the nice large type that appears is easy on the eyes.
Do I have Windows systems? Yes. Do I plan on refreshing them any time in the forseebale future? No. In fact; I am "Libre Office that works with touch, keyboard and mouse on Android" away from being able to walk away from Microsoft for anything except my collection of older Steam games.
For the actual heavy lifting stuff, I find that all the big apps I need have been ported to OSX.
I do "work" on these devices. Systems administration. Writing. Research. Video and image editing. A squillion types of communications. I don't need Microsoft and that – I think – is exactly the point that Goldman Sachs is getting at here. Most of us don't anymore.
Some do. Certainly Autocad isn't going to run on Android anytime soon, and there are a squillion legacy apps still stuck on Win32. Frankly, RDP (especially thanks to things like Nvidia's VGX and Microsoft's RemoteFX) is becoming more than capable of delivering legacy apps to non-Microsoft systems. App-V and ThinApp-style applications exist to also help ease the transition.
For the first time in 30 some odd years Microsoft is actually being forced to compete on merit. They are ill equipped to do so. They have institutionalised mistreatment of their customer base to such an extent that they are corporately incapable of rising to the challenge of getting end users excited about their offerings.
Microsoft – like Oracle, IBM's mainframe geeks, HP's Itanic division and other legacy vendors – doesn't really have very many customers any more. They have hostages. They aren't competing only against their last version anymore, they are competing against "good enough" offerings from others.
Is Libre Office a feature-for-feature replacement for MS Office? No. But for most people, it doesn't have to be. Nor does iWork or anything else trying to play the game.
Browser compatibility is more important than operating system compatibility for the overwhelming majority of users and that given the plethora of options this puts users in a position where they can make choices based on those intangibles like "does the company I'm buying from treat me with respect, listen to my gripes and play ridiculous profit maximisation licensing games that make me feel like I'm dealing with an American cell phone company?"
What nerds and fanboys don't get is that alternatives don't have to exist for every conceivable use case for a migration to begin. Your market share is whittled away every time someone looks at their budget, says "I have $1500 to buy myself some new shiny," and chooses someone who is not you.
A fanboy is bound to pop in and say "Microsoft isn't doomed, it's just that people are updating thier systems on longer cycles than before!" I argue that this means they are, in fact, doomed. People are updating their systems on longer cycles because they don't see a need or reason to update! They do see value in an iPad, a Galaxy Note II or a Kindle.
They are getting something they want – hardware or software that meets their needs – from another vendor. That vendor isn't sitting still, either. Those devices and those vendors are becoming more and more capable every single day.
So what happens when Aunt Tilly's computer finally breaks? When that Windows PC she's been nursing for 3, 6, or 10 years finally gives up the blue smoke or gets that one, final virus? Do you – Microsoft, fanboy, nerd or otherwise – honestly believe that Aunt Tilly is going to rush out the next day to Staples and buy a new Windows PC?
Maybe. Maybe not! Maybe fucking not. Isn't that scary, right there? Aunt Tilly may well look at the broken PC and say "you know what, I never use the damned thing. I don't think I'll replace it."
That is what analysts who understand people - as opposed to those who have attached their nerdy self worth to a corporation or product's success – understand about this whole smartphone/mobile revolution thing.
It is why Smart TVs will, in fact, be "a thing."
Why? Because when Aunt Tilly's PC dies and she wanders in to Best Buy…if the Apple TV is sitting there she may just buy it. That Apple TV has a nice big screen, can do everything she used to do on her old PC – including type with a keyboard and use a mouse – but doesn't take up the space that PC used to…she'll choose it. It's about the same price as a PC, but it's got a bigger screen. Besides which, she's been happy with her Apple iPhone and her Apple iPad…why not get the Apple TV?
This is not a world Microsoft can live in. Microsoft's corporate culture of treating us like substance-addicted prostitutes won't fly in a commoditised world. PCs aren't dead, but Microsoft's dominance is.
In case you missed it, 2012 was the year of Linux on the endpoint. The endpoint just happened to be in our collective pockets, not on our desk.
Apple, Google, Microsoft? Who cares? I – like so many others, it seems – am going to use the device/software/ecosystem that works best for me. I am going to look for return on my investment, and actually care about the total cost of ownership. I am going to assign some value to how I am treated by a company, and whether or not my needs are being met.
The days where I simply do what I am told, eat what's put in front of me and like it are over. I don't have to learn to use whatever interface Microsoft chooses to foist on me. I don't have to use their codecs or live with their DRM or give up my privacy or use only approved apps from only one walled garden store.
I'm the fucking customer and you will make what I want, or I'll take my custom somewhere else.
We can't all do that, yet. Some of us are locked in to one platform or another. But when you get there, when you finally get there and realise that this is the power you have; the choice that you can actually make…it is intoxicating.
Choice. What a novel concept. About fucking time.
Re: Ms hate
Because they don't listen to customers, attempt to bamboozle us at every turn, have byzantine and purposefully misleading licensing, are insanely expensive and generally treat customers like shit.
The better question is "why do some people feel that pointing out flaws in Microsoft's actions, products or strategies is akin to personally attacking them as individuals?" How and why do people let themselves get so attached to a company that they marry their sense of self worth to it?
If the consumer market leaves Microsoft's cloistered little world, then people at large - people who work in companies, people who administer network and even people who own companies - will start to see and understand a world without Microsoft.
They will see that it is possible, even enjoyable to move away from the Beast of Redmond. Microsoft is used everywhere only because Microsoft is used everywhere. IT is not (for most people) because they adore the company or the product.
This is my point. I'm pretty sure it's Goldman Sachs' point as well. The spread of "not Microsoft" in the consumer sphere will eventually erode Microsoft's dominance in the corporate sphere. In fact, I already see it happening, despite the ardent protestations of the fanboys.
Microsoft is losing the SMB market and is beginning to lose the SME market. This will edge up the stack until even the Fortune 500 are starting to operate heterogeneous environments.
Perhaps like the massive uptake of non-Microsoft environments at Intel. Or the 30,000 deployed Macbooks at IBM. Those could be examples. It depends on how strongly you feel the need to believe that Microsoft is eternal. But what do I know, it's not like investigating such things is my job or anything...
As to "sustain Microsoft for some time," youa re 100% correct.
RIM still sells handsets. Novell still authenticates users. IBM still sells mainframes and HP still ships Itanics. Even Sco still licences their variant of Unix. Microsoft will be around for a long time yet.
But that doesn't mean it will be anywhere near as important in 5 years as it is today, or that in 10 years it will be aught but a shadow of it's former glory.