As much as I believe StatCounter’s data is biased in various ways, it is interesting to see how the shares of page-views change over time. Within an order of magnitude, they do describe reality. Further, we can combine M$’s public pronouncements of strategy with StatCounter’s data to describe the world of IT by how the elephant in the room is doing:
As you can see, the strategy of “release early and often” gets M$ about 6% share of page-views on the cutting edge each year. If the lifetime of a legacy PC is about 6 years, their total share should slide asymptotically to about 36% share of page-views within a few years once XP is killed off next year and “7” the year after.
Assuming 36% share of legacy PCs is too grim a prospect for M$’s new CEO and board, what strategy will they follow to escape this reality?
- I think they will come up with Windows for Business (7.1?) or something that will preserve their business lock-in. Their attempt to provide cloud services could be part of this, switching from lock-in on the OS to lock-in on the office suite sooner or later. Expect their office suite to become a pure web-application or platform-independent within a few years.
- I think they will raise prices to business while cutting prices to consumers to try to slow down the slide in revenue.
Whatever they do, the world will be a better place with more choices and better prices for IT. I think business will reject higher prices forever to support M$ in the manner to which it has become accustomed. With cloud services from other providers and thin clients running GNU/Linux and web-applications running GNU/Linux they can escape M$’s web. Over the next couple of years expect everyone who wants to sell software services to businesses to make those services platform-independent. ie. Web-applications using open standards on FLOSS and support of multiple platforms including Android/Linux and GNU/Linux. The near future, then, is that M$ will trend down to ~36% of client operating systems and retailers will offer FLOSS and GNU/Linux widely. It’s not inconceivable that M$ will retire from the client OS completely and actually work for a living or retire on its nest-egg. The highest share that M$ can retain is not much more than 60% even if they lock business in completely and keep 36% of consumers.
It is amusing that this outcome was entirely preventable. M$ had only to produce a version of its OS for small cheap computers years ago and be riding high today. Instead they are teetering on the brink and Google and its partners are laughing all the way to the bank while the world cheers. Pride cometh before a fall. The very spirit of invincibility that fuels the trolls who visit my blog was the cause of the imminent downfall.
BTW, I am not happy with the way graphs are generated in LibreOffice. There is a bug-report about having to constantly tweak settings rather than just setting defaults once and moving on. I am using GNUmeric now. It still requires those settings but their method for settings is much simpler, staying in a single dialogue. The graphs are also SVG so they can scale nicely. I may go back to LibreOffice for graphs once the bug is fixed. He who lives by the graph needs styles/templates that support graphing better.