5 factors that are set to challenge the dominance of Windows in the future.

Taking a look at the recent Microsoft financial result for Q2 ending 31 Dec 2009, one thing that stands out is the fact that Windows is still the major cash cow for MS. It is in this light that I believe the following five things are likely to give MS execs sleepless nights in 2010 and beyond.
Falling hardware prices
The more the prices of hardware falls, the lower is MS able to charge the OEMs a per unit installation license for Windows. Given the fact that hardware prices have fallen drastically in recent years and are set to do so in the foreseeable future, Ballmer may not be sleeping well at all.
Desktop Linux
No I’m not going to say the year of Linux is here and now. But whatever the case, the relatively increasing popularity of Linux among the general masses-spearheaded by Ubuntu-is set to cause some discomfiture to MS execs.
On the smartphone platform, Android is set to make life very difficult given the fact that the almighty Google itself is now directly competing with its own hardware branded phone. Tough luck MS.
Change of landscape
In years gone by, one used an OS for almost all of their tasks. Today however, the OS is increasingly becoming only a means for users to access the web on their PCs where it ends. Almost everything that can be done with the OS can be done in a browser. In fact, the browser is the most important piece of software on the machine of almost everyone out there. What this means is the increasing growing irrelevance of a mostly bloated, full fledged OS like Windows. With this shift comes search for a lighter, and web centric OS.
Google Chrome OS
In steps Google Chrome OS. Flowing from the previous post, Google Chrome is set to be the world’s first web centric OS that has a browser at its core. The aim of such an OS is to get you online in seconds. With everything shifting from the desktops and hard drives of users to the ‘cloud’, I can foresee Windows gradually being left in the dust. More insomnia will naturally be the result.
For over two decades, Windows has been the single most dominant piece of software known to man. However, I am deeply convinced that such a situation is about to change. The change is not going to happen overnight, neither is it going to happen within one year. 
It is going to be a combination of factors, mostly those outlined above and others, that are going to cause the gradual decline of Windows and with it cause MS execs to suffer serious insomnia. Of course I’m holding the assumption that Windows stays as it is without changing.

Who knows, maybe Windows is planning a WebDows edition to counter Google Chrome. However, all things being equal, recent developments in the tech arena has made it clear that the only way for one to stay on top is to keep up with the times via innovation. MS is yet to learn this lesson and this will cause its execs lots and lots of discomfiture. What do you think?

3 Replies to “5 factors that are set to challenge the dominance of Windows in the future.”

  1.   Hardware prices have NOT fallen. A fully-featured computer costs roughly the same now as it did 15 years ago (inflation-corrected). Power has increased in leaps and bounds, but price has remained the same.

      Windows' main competitor is Apple's OSX. The fact that all alternative OS' are becoming popular is a sign of change, but I don't see any particular Linux distribution posing any threat to Windows or OSX, simply because of the software base both commercial systems offer, as well as their far better integration.

      It is true that the need for thin web clients has increased in the past few years, mostly due to the popularity of online applications (cloud). However, the need for powerful personal computers has not diminished. A lot of applications (CAD, CG, video, photographic and sound editing, gaming, development…) still require plenty of local power. People do a lot more with their computers today, and what they do is far more complex and CPU/GPU-intensive than yesterday's standards. And because local and international internet connection speeds are trailing so far behind computer power, I don't see this type of requirement going away any time soon. In fact, with the rapid development of nanotechnology and quantum computing, we may see the home computer's performance increase even more dramatically in the next few years.

      Google OS may be a great solution for 'peripheral' systems such as netbooks, tablets and such, but it cannot, and will not replace a full-fledged OS.

  2. Simple point here Dexter. What you call a fully-featured computer is more powerful than what most people need todo what they want. Basic Video and Photographic editing only needs a 2ghz machine duel core. Basically a bottom end atom bit of junk will do the job.

    So the people now can move to the lower end of the market.

    The integration argument is becoming less as time passes.

    We are going same thing calculators did. Ie split between powerful and non powerful versions.

  3. Lower hardware prices. Naa.. Where to you get the notion that the price of hardware is dropping? Just because companies are forking out (cheap) netbooks doesnt mean that the defacto price of the chips and other bits are getting cheaper. Seen with a bit of perspective, I'd say that prices will rise long term (~ 4-8 years). Raw materials needed to make computer parts are getting increasingly expensive dude.

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