I’ve been saying it for a while and now it seems the BBC has cottoned on too. With the advent of Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) and users wanting to use consumer devices in the workplace, the decline of Microsoft as an operating system is almost guaranteed.
I believe that manufacturers will still ship Windows on new PC’s but far more operating system choices will be available (Citrix has arranged for XenClient to ship on board some models of laptops widening the choice to load your own). This choice will lead inevitably to lower market share for Microsoft in the consumer o/s world (though I expect them to still dominate the corporate market for some time to come, especially for virtualised desktops). Similarly, with the move to Software as a Service, productivity applications such as Office will be consumed far more from on line, especially as connectivity increases and becomes more reliable (still no link on the 6pm back from Waterloo though !).
Is this an issue for Microsoft ? Not really. Microsoft will be offering Office from the cloud from early next year (http://www.office365.com). This allows them to guarantee they will be paid for the software (they’re offering it free to consumers to ensure that users continue to request office in the workplace) which will lead to lower prices for customers and higher profits for Microsoft. Conflict versions will disappear as everyone will be updated together. Bugs will be fixed on time without being announced and the platform will be looked after by the people writing the software making it a more stable solution.
The same will hold true for Exchange, SharePoint and Lync.
So, always available, free upgrades, built in anti-virus, no upkeep or support costs, no hardware, bug free and cheap. Who wouldn’t want to transfer across ?
In my view, its a changing world and Microsoft probably are running to catch up but they will get there but with a smaller company making more money than before.