'2013 is going to be ugly' for Microsoft as it shifts to Windows 8, Forrester predicts
It's already lost its once-dominant spot in operating systems, firm argues; now it's all about holding on to what it has
Computerworld - As Microsoft launches Windows 8, and with it, an attempt to stabilize a precipitous decline in its share of operating systems for "personal devices," 2013 is going to be a tough, very tough year, research firm Forrester said today.
"This is a pivotal movement for Microsoft," said Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester and the lead on the report "Microsoft: The Next Five Years," that was released Monday. "But 2013 is going to be ugly."
Gillett based that on a rapid drop in Microsoft's share of operating systems since the debut of Apple's iPhone in 2007.
When traditional PCs, tablets and smartphones are combined -- Forrester dubs the three as a category called "personal devices" -- Microsoft's 2008 share of all operating systems, a whopping 95%, has fallen to 30% in 2012. The exploding growth of smartphones, where Microsoft has little traction, and tablets, where it has essentially none on the eve of Windows 8 and its offshoot Windows RT, have not only negated Microsoft's gains in Windows users of traditional PCs, but put it in the hole.
For the next five years, through 2016, Forrester's said, Microsoft will retain that 30% share. But it's lost the dominance of this "personal device" category -- that ship has sailed -- and has virtually no chance of getting it back.
What Microsoft can do -- what Windows 8 and its successors must do, said Gillett -- is hold on to what it has.
The two companies that Microsoft faces -- and with which it now shares the personal device OS market -- are, of course, Apple and Google. Both California firms have large shares in smartphones, with Google's Android leading Apple by a wide margin in 2012 and going forward, and Apple's iOS the dominant tablet operating system.
Microsoft's Achilles' heel is smartphones, where it has a very minor share currently, and by Forrester's estimate, will have no more than a 14% in 2016. "Smartphones are their weakest link," said Gillett.
In tablets, Forrester is predicting a 27% share for Microsoft in four years, while it will hold onto nearly 90% of traditional personal computer operating systems.
"The growth in tablets and smartphones will help offset incremental PC losses [for Microsoft] through 2016 [but] it can't grow much more without a much stronger showing in smartphones than we expect," the report stated.
- Chinese regulators target Microsoft for office visits
- Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella
- How Microsoft's CEO sees growth for Windows Phone and Lumia
- Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8
- Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts
- 'Nadella Effect' makes Ballmer $2.8B richer
- Microsoft reveals bankruptcy of devices strategy by dumping Nokia feature phones
- Microsoft may drag out layoffs for a year
- Surface survives Microsoft cuts, but tablet strategy remains muddled
- As it lays off workers, Microsoft also kills its low-end Nokia X smartphones
- What is this "File Sync" Thing and Why Should I Care About It? All of a sudden, getting a file from your work laptop to your iPad became as simple as clicking "Save." So it's no...
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- BYOP: How Mobile and Social Are Creating New User Personas The digital world of mobile + social creates new customer segments and behaviors. Companies need to reorient their customer interactions around these segments...
- Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets Today's trends like BYOD and SaaS are new and exciting in terms of how they will help make our jobs more productive but...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator...
- Technology for Everyone A Kansas school district modernizes teaching and learning and paves the way to a one-to-one program with a comprehensive upgrade of its wireless... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts