Monday, August 1, 2011

Wintel Market Share Slips

I noticed an interesting piece today about market share.

It seems that Apple shipped 20+ million smartphones in Q2 2011 an increase of 12 million over Q2 2010. This eclipsed Nokia who shipped 16+ million smartphones in Q2 2011. Interestingly, if you look at Nokia’s results they’ve only been able to move this many by shaving their margins to the bone. If they were making their regular margins it looks like this number would have plummeted.

To make matters worse Samsung shipped in excess of 19 million smartphones for the same period.

To put some context on this Nokia has lost over half of its smartphone market share in 12 months.

The other interesting fact that came out of the article was the following assertion by industry analysts Canalys:

the share held by “Wintel”, which it defined as “any PC running any version of Windows in conjunction with any x86 architecture”, fell below 82 percent, its lowest point in more than 20 years“.

I know that falling below 82% doesn’t sound that spectacular, but, its an earth shattering statistic. Not that long ago the Wintel market share was well above 90%.

Something’s happening and its big.

Think about it. if we look back 20 years people were running Windows 3.0. The first really stable version of Windows released. Prior to that people were running DOS. Windows 3.1 and 3.11 were released in 1992 and the Windows juggernaut really took off once Windows 95 hit the market in mid-1995.

So these guys are saying that Windows market share has slipped to where it was when Windows 3 first saw the light of day. If this is actually the case then I'd be sweating it if I owned stock in Microsoft. Imagine if Coles or Woolworths suddenly saw their market share slip back to where it was 20 years ago the Daily Garbagewrapper would be screaming it was the end of the world, or maybe even worse than that!

Back in those days a Windows release was greeted with as much fanfare as a new iPhone. People would line up at midnight to be the first to buy a copy of Windows 95 from Harvey Norman.

I’m not going to have a discussion here about the pros and cons of lining up to be the first to buy anything at midnight let alone an Operating System but lets just think about this for a second, Windows market share has fallen below 82% since it became a stable operating system that could be used in the everyday corporate world.

This fact is even more surprising when you consider that each new PC shipped from everyone except Apple includes a copy of Windows.

Are people giving up on desktops for tablets, and I mean of any flavour?

Is everyone buying a Mac?

Are people going in Linux in droves?

I don’t have any answers, but, anecdotally I can say this; as I go from company to company, client to client the questions that I keep getting asked is ”How do we use Linux servers in our business and we also want to use Macs, iPads and iPhones as well as our Windows machines?“

One client asked me ”How come Apple can sell a new operating system for under $50 and Microsoft want to charge me over $400?“

Is this a taste of things to come or have the analysts screwed up their numbers?

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