Windows Winding Down

Article first published as Windows Winding Down on Technorati.

I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of Microsoft Windows. Windows 8 sales (both Pro and RT) are not doing well, and global tablet sales in 2013 are expected to be up almost 40% over last year. While PC sales are also down I am not declaring the end of the PC, as computing devices are simply evolving away from the beige box - smartphones and tablets are still computers. But as far as the Windows operating system being the driver of the computer industry for consumers, it's influence is declining. Even Enterprise customers are seeing an increase in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), where workers are being allowed to use tablets and smartphones if they prefer to.


Considering Windows Server products, they are needed to support Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint and so on, which are integral components to many businesses, and the cost and complexities of switching out major infrastructure like that scares companies into lethargy and inaction. I don't expect a drastic switch to Linux or Unix anytime soon in that arena.

While Cloud-based products and services can be usefully incorporated by some businesses, the Cloud is off to a bit of a shaky start in some regards (like security and reliability). Even so, we may well see the Cloud taking over some duties now handled by dedicated Windows Servers. Whether Microsoft can adapt in this scenario remains to be seen.

Windows products for consumers will still be here for a while, it won't disappear - it's too big - but I doubt even the anticipated 7 inch Windows RT tablet or Windows Blue will make much difference at this point. When Windows XP support finally stops next year (no more Windows updates, so it immediately becomes a liability) I expect another significant move to tablets for those remaining users - and Android and iOS are beating the pants off Windows RT.

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