PCWorld cites an IDC study where Microsoft operating system market will drop to 58% by 2007. Neowin members mostly responded derisively to these findings.
Why is change so hard to stomach? The article is may be optimistic, but by no means misinformed. Windows has a strangehold on the PC market right now, but it’s not so in other faster growing fields – game consoles, PDAs, smartphones, Internet appliances, etc. All these devices need operating systems, and they are getting more powerful and versatile every day. There is a growing shift in demand from PCs to these convergent devices.
MS has been trying to gain footholds into these emergent markets via the Xbox, WebTV, SPOT Watch and a bazillion Windows XP branded OSs – Media Centre, TabletPC, PocketPC, Embedded – but are no means the dominant player in any of these markets, even after years of effort. They’re running up against companies that are equally large and powerful and hungry and smart – not to mention the modularity of Linux, which has appeared in everything from TiVo players to Volvo dashboards.
Of course, it’s not wise to discount MS out of hand – they have a lot of smart cookies working there – but it won’t be an easy battle for them.
Many people still cannot take portable convergent devices seriously – sort of how minicomputer users refused to take personal microcomputers seriously when they appeared in the early 1980’s.
Eventually wireless, whether it’s Wi-Fi or 3G or WiMax or its grandchildren – will become so advanced that network access will be ubiquituous and network bandwidth will approach system bus speeds. When that happens, AGP, PCI and USB will be replaced with pure IP, and we’ll never have to fiddle with DVD-Rs and flash memory cards again. A future MP3 player could access your music from your home PC’s file storage as fast as it was on your person. A portable videogame player could outsource its 3D graphics work to your PC’s videocard while remaining inexpensive, small and light.