Life without Microsoft?

May 23, 2010 § 10 Comments

Don’t expect to see that any time soon…

I am convinced than Microsoft is here to stay.  Microsoft has not only a great infrastructure and market dominance in place, but also has bunch of bright people working hard to maintain this power (maybe with the exception of its CEO, Steve Balmer,  see below to see my point).

But rather than discussing subjectively, lets take a small look to the metrics. Below I am summarizing the actual (2010, Q1) market share for the main products from Microsoft: Windows (by far their biggest product),  Internet Explorer and Windows Mobile software. I am adding my own prediction 2-year ahead, where I think the market share would look like in 2012.

Desktop OS Market Share 2010 – Q1 My prediction 2012 Dif.
Windows XP 63% 40% -23%
Windows Vista 16% 10% -6%
Windows 7 12% 30% 18%
Mac 5% 10% 5%
Linux 1% 1% 0%
Google 0% 5% 5%
Other 3% 4% 1%

Desktop OS: Clearly declining, but will continue to be the biggest players on the game here despite the growth of Apple and Google (with its Chrome OS appearing later this year). My biggest question here is, how long does the desktop computer will continue to be part of our lives as we know it. If we are moving (replacing) to mobile devices such as smartphone, iPads (tables, etc) or Google cloud computing computers, OS market will shrink considerably and the Microsoft dominance with it.

Browsers Market Share 2010 – Q1 My prediction 2012 Dif.
IE (Microsoft) 61% 40% -14%
Firefox (Mozilla) 25% 30% 5%
Chrome (Google) 6% 15% 4%
Safari (Apple) 5% 8% 2%
Opera 2% 5% 2%
Other 2% 3% 0%

Browsers: Still quite high due the Desktop OS market dominance but loosing speed rapidly against Firefox and Google Chrome. I predict one of these two to take them over soon after 2012. The browser is important because it is by far the most used application of a computer. For no other reason, Google is building its OS around the browser.

Mobile OS Market Share 2010 – Q1 My prediction 2012 Dif.
Symbian (Nokia) 44% 20% -24%
Blackberry OS (RIM) 19% 20% 1%
iPhone OS (Apple) 15% 20% 5%
Android (Google) 10% 30% 20%
Windows Mobile (Microsoft) 7% 5% -2%
Linux 4% 4% 0%
Other 1% 1% 0%

Mobile OS: Clearly out of the picture here, even with the announcement of the completely new concept of Windows Phone 7 Series. I am quite sure, this “great” concept has just arrived to late… and will definitively join the Zune to the “Looser” corner. The Mobile market is the fastest growing segment and here Microsoft has lost its dominance… UPDATE [24.05.2010]: actually Microsoft is looking desperate here!

In my view, everything was ok for Microsoft until:

–  iPhone appeared. (Steve Ballmer laugh about it, and now is probably whining about it!). With the iPhone, we all suddenly discovered what was possible to do with mobile devices. The iPad is a perfectly example how mobile OS are evolving and how we will use mobile devices in the future. Google with Android, which just overtook the iPhone in the USA (due their open to any manufacturer business model), will be in my opinion the big player here in the near future.

– HP has bought Palm! Are the new HP tablets, that will compete against the iPad, use Microsoft Mobile OS or Web OS as Palm did on their smartphones???

UPDATE [25.05.2010]: – The iPad appeared! See here some insights from a long-term Windows developer about why Windows is now threatened!

Microsoft has in my humble opinion fewer chances to make big things right in order to define the use of computers for the years to come. I am sure they will figure it out somehow. They do have very interesting things in the pipeline (i.e. Surface, Project Natal (X-Box), Kin One and Two)…but until then, they will continue experience a significant market share drop for their OS (Both desktop and Mobile) and Browser markets in the years to come.

Blog to you soon…

– This blog was written by a very happy Apple user from his MacBook Pro using Safari. =)

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§ 10 Responses to Life without Microsoft?

  • Hi Guerson,

    I really like your analysis!!!

    Just one query with regards to your analysis? I do see the potential of Linux as an open source OS and would like to hear your opinion why you do not see an increase in market share?

    Thanks a lot Guerson!

  • Hallo dear iPhone user Joe =)
    i think i meant the Mobile OS market. In the desktop OS market, Microsoft has clearly the lead and wont loose it soon despite Google’s threat (Apple will never be a threat here). But I am predicting that we will be moving more and more to mobile devices and the software here is different. It has to be design to perform under battery constraints and specially developed for touch (multi-touch) technologies!
    Here Android and iPhone OS are taking the lead, not Microsoft, but lets see…
    Viva la competencia!

  • joencmorrison says:

    I´d like to join the chorus of people in saying very, very nice post. Great data and wonderfully readable, Guerson.

    I also agree with you that Microsoft faces significant competition in the browser market, and that most innovations come from the likes of Mozilla and Google rather than Microsoft.

    Where I tend to strongly disagree, though, is that Microsoft faces trouble in the OS market. From where, exactly? For consumers, Apple is practically a luxury product. For businesses, while it works better in some (like media, architecture, engineering and design firms) for the most part Microsoft has a huge advantage in most other business settings, especially when they tie their OS into other business platforms. Look at the world market share, and it´s significantly outgunned 18 to 1, no?

    And in the end, I suppose I might as well come clean. I´m a PC. But I dig my iPhone!

  • you may be right Radek. HTC may match iPhone design, but the iPhone concept as a whole (ecosystem) hasn’t been matched yet in my opinion. Wait 2 more weeks to see the new iPhone 4HD with iPhone 4.0 OS. This will be huge! Besides, a soon as iPhone opens to new carriers in the USA, iPhone may recover the lost lead in that particular market. Of course Android has more chances to win, cause it is open, but I don’t like to idea that the Android Software has “catched” the iPhone yet. =)
    See you in class! =)

  • Very interesting insights and links as well! I would be even more aggressive with Android growth prediction. The new devices from HTC like Legend and Desire are becoming market hits, which usability is already very close to iPhone. According to me, design of HTC Legend matches iPhone.

  • Jose Ramon says:

    Great analysis!!

    I am sure that Microsoft wont go away anytime soon but when you consider consumer’s current perception/sentiment of Microsoft I believe it is changing. I believe consumers are starting to notice the alternatives and eventually this will pick up, to what degree, well that all depends on Microsoft.

    • Totally agree with you this time! :)
      I believe that this new customer perception about Microsoft and the fact that there are now good alternatives, are the reasons why Microsofts market share is shrinking.
      All that said, time to switch to Mac! You won’t regret it! :)

  • I think your analysis and predictions look solid, although I slightly disagree about the reason for Android’s growth (its not exactly the open to any manufacturer part that matters as much as the locked to a single carrier part). Not many would choose Android over an iPhone, with all else being equal, unless they are planning on just replacing a feature phone and don’t care about all the extra capabilities a true smartphone gives you. The fact is that, in the US, being tied to ATT is hurting Apple quite a bit at this point when you have an “OK enough” product in Android. In fact, I’d argue that being locked to a carrier in general has hurt Apple quite a bit. Look at how many fellow students are running blackberries – sure many of them might just be textaholics – but Im sure more than one or two would be on iPhone if it wasn’t locked to specific carriers here (like in the US). Once you see the universe on a real smartphone (not an email terminal like a blackberry) I think its hard to go back.

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