“Simple arithmetic shows that unless Microsoft manages to make a dent in the smartphone and tablet market, it’s pretty much the end of its dominance”
I found this insightful article which has just about everything right, except it leaves as an open question how M$ will do in 2013. I am certain M$ has passed its prime. It’s whole empire rests on the Wintel PC which has definitely peaked. M$ has gone as far out on that limb as it can and the world isn’t even paying attention. I remember when people queued up to buy Lose ’95, a really shoddy OS. Now they produce much better software and they cannot get it installed on a telephone. They still have some retail shelves and OEMs locked up but you can only pay people so long to give up their freedom. Much of the world is about to buy its first personal computer and they have no idea that the game of Wintel being the only choice even exists. Even the big PC OEMs are shipping millions of GNU/Linux PCs and just about anything else they can sell. The gate of the castle is bending inwards under the weight of increasing competition, something with which M$ has not had to deal with since the 1980s. They’ve been on an exclusive dealing binge since then.
The world can and does produce hardware and software unrelated to M$ and the rate of production of the new personal computers exceeded Wintel’s unit production last year. This year, everyone on M$’s treadmill are looking for the exits. This is the most tentative uptake of M$’s next release since Lose 3.x. This time around the Chinese are ready to produce millions of units of anything that sells within weeks. If M$ could stop the flow of tablets, smart phones and GNU/Linux PCs by Christmas, there would be a whole new set of products and players by June of 2013. M$ is just too small to control the world. For 20 years, instead of expanding and diversifying, they relied on the desktop PC monopoly and the world moved on. Moore’s Law, global education and the Internet means the world can move on without any contact from M$’s arm-twisting salesmen. Too much is happening for Ballmer and Gates to intervene.
Yes, 2013 will be a highly defensive year for M$. They are sweating bullets that FLOSS and ARM are just about to absorb hundreds of millions of former users of Wintel. Those old machines won’t last forever and only a small minority see the necessity of buying Wintel today. Even business can throttle M$’s cash-cow simply by using GNU/Linux thin clients, web applications and just a few terminal servers running that other OS. M$’s CAL-count won’t recover the loss. With fewer PCs running that other OS, there will be less need for M$’s server OS and its office suite. The sound you will here in 2013 is called “implosion”. It still makes a lot of noise but the bubble shrinks really quickly and then it’s just a damp spot.
I had an indication of how irrelevant M$ has become at a party recently. The people there are the most connected on the planet. Everyone had a personal computer of one kind or another. When they stopped to eat every flat spot in the place was covered with digital thingies, none of them Wintel. There was a Wintel PC in the home but it was never used. The smart thingies were phoning, texting, e-mailing, photographing, playing media, and browsing amid the din of the party. There were four generations of humans present. Only the very old (I and a couple of others) and the very young (0 to 10 years) seemed to be unconnected. Everyone was having fun. The youngest who seemed not to have their own gadgets could mostly pick up any gadget and use it to take a picture or to replay one. I was impressed. I was 18 before I could control a computer.
The thing that was so awesome about that party is that it was not a select group. There were people from every age, financial status (probably no billionaires though), career, education. It was a pretty good sample of people in Winnipeg and Wintel did not control them at all. The retailers had better wake up real soon or be replaced with ones who give these people what they want, great IT at a fair price. They should at least expand the space for gadgets and put Wintel under the counter. Better, they should stop excluding GNU/Linux.