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That AMAZING Windows comeback: Wow – 0.5% growth in 2015

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With new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella keen to cram Windows into ever more devices, the operating system behemoth is now forecast to swell by no less than HALF a percentage point.

Folks at Gartner told us Windows accounted for 13.96 per cent of the 2.33 billion devices shipped globally in 2013, and that they expect a dip this year to 13.7 per cent of the 2.43 billion units that will find a home. The analyst house added that the operating system is projected to climb to 14.4 per cent of the 2.59 billion PCs, smartphones, tabs and Ultrabooks estimated to be flogged in 2015.

"Microsoft is still trying to transition beyond PCs into ultra mobile and phones," said research director Ranjit Atwal. "They are not making inroads, the volumes are still pretty small relative to the overall market."

The Surface slab has hardly set the cash tills ringing, the push with Nokia is in the early stages, and the PC market is in decline and will remain so, according to the view Gartner sees in its crystal ball.

Sales of classic PCs into the channel shrank 9.5 per cent in 2013 to 296 million units, is predicted to fall again to 276 million this year and to 261.6 million next. When Ultrabook shipments are factored, the decline is less marked (304 million units for '14 and 209 million for '15).

Obviously the XP factor gave PC makers more reasons to smile in recent months as customers ran to refresh ageing estates when Microsoft pulled support for the greying OS.

"This will lessen the downward trend [for this year]" said Atwal. Gartner is forecasting some 60 million professional PC sales in 2014 due to the XP refresh. "The PC market has shrunk, not disappeared."

In contrast, tab sales into retailers and tech distributors are forecast to continue climbing, albeit at a less dramatic double digit pace. Projections are that slablets will grow to 260 million this year, up from 209 million last and reach 328.4 million next.

Around 1.86 billion smartphones are expected to be welcomed by owners in the current calendar year and 1.94 billion by the end of 2015.

In contrast to Windows, Gartner told us Google's Android OS is expected to stretch its lead at the top of the global device arena, from 898 million last year to 1.16 billion in 2014 and 1.37 billion by the end of the forecast period.

"You'll continue to see replacements in emerging markets and with larger screen sizes," said Atwal. He reckons a launch of $100 smartphones will help Google outpace rivals.

Apple's iOS is to be installed on 271 million devices in calendar '14 and 301 million in calendar '15.

Microsoft told us it does not comment on 'third party resources". ®

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