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Microsoft could be an irrelevant force in the mobile market in just 4 years, says Gartner

It looks like Gartner has whipped out its crystal ball and is back with another prediction, this time that Microsoft could become irrelevant in the consumer OS market as early as 2017.

According to Gartner’s Carolina Milanesi, more and more folks are moving to tablets as their main computing devices, and this is true regardless of where you are in the globe. Most users are either turning to Apple or Android, with Android continuing to expand rapidly largely due to its cost-effectiveness compared to other alternatives.

Android will get sales volumes “that are three times those of Windows” in the future, says Milanesi, unless Microsoft can find a way to successfully capture the interests of emerging markets.

By 2017, Android shipments will be higher than any other OS on the market, and in 2015 tablets will outsell traditional notebooks and desktops. “Winning the tablet and phone space is critical for Microsoft to remain relevant in this shift”, she further asserts.

Now before you bring out the pitchfork and torch, let’s remember the analyst is NOT saying that Microsoft is doomed to fail, merely that if they can’t do something to capture the interest of the tablet market (especially in the emerging markets), then they will continue to fall behind and no longer be a major player in the consumer PC devices market.

This isn’t saying that Microsoft won’t still be king of the enterprise world, and of course Microsoft still has its Xbox gaming endeavors to fall back on. The point is simply that Microsoft needs to push forward, and quick.

Does the analyst have a point?

Yes, she certainly does. Microsoft has yet to capture the mobile market in any meaningful way, though in the phone market, Windows Phone 8 is certainly doing better than Windows Phone 7. This doesn’t mean Microsoft is going to fail, I think the opposite will happen.

The bigger point is that the mobile market really is that significant to Microsoft’s future plans, and obviously Microsoft isn’t arguing that point!

The company has risked totally alienating some power users with Windows 8, and why? Because they don’t want Gartner’s bleak prediction to come true. They have further pushed the envelope with Windows Blue and are continuing to make the idea of Windows tablets more appealing.

Microsoft shouldn’t be worried, Gartner’s prediction won’t happen. It is a valid point that Microsoft needs to make a dent in the mobile world, but honestly Milanesi is overlooking the fact that Microsoft has already made big strides into the mobile arena with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 just by changing the way Windows works (the new Modern UI, and switching to NT for Windows Phone).

The long-term strategy is there, and Microsoft IS paying attention, even if the critics and analysts refuse to see it.

As for the emerging market? The answer is in low-cost tablets. Microsoft has expressed that they are interested in 7-inch and 8-inch tablets in the not-too-distant future, and if they play their cards right, they could use these devices to build a bigger presence in the emerging market’s tablet sector.

Summing it up….

Bottom-line, Microsoft is going through a rough period. So did Apple, once upon a time. What changed was that they totally transformed the way the company did things in the very late-90s and used that change to bring about a new Apple empire.

Microsoft has laid the groundwork, now they just need to play their cards right and watch it all unfold. Do you agree with Gartner’s bleak prediction or do you think Microsoft has already taken the proper steps to ensure that they do play an integral part in the future of the mobile market? Share your thoughts below.

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  • http://twitter.com/VasileBrusti Brusturean Vasile

    there no chance for that to happen beacause u can’t use android on a pc, android or other mobile os are nothing compare to windows

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bradley/100001591676304 Michael Bradley

      I read a very interesting article yesterday about “people hate to change or be forced to learn something new”…which (according to the article) was why people don’t like Win8….they want the “good ol’ Start button” back….which is inhibiting sales of new “laptops”…the same thing that prevented Linux (FREE!!) from dominating the desktop…for OVER TEN YEARS!!! Face it, people who need productivity computers also need cell phones, and the way the wireless companies are pushing “free” cell phone plans, people will always have both a cell phone and a “PC” – which will likely be running Windows for a very long time…..

  • Paul Smith-Keitley

    Until now I never truly understood the term asshat, I believe I now understand it to be a Gartner analyst. They appear to have no understanding of MinWin, OS portability, corporate computing or OS fragmentation. Not mention gen3 xbox, home automation and a dozen other technologies that will prove them wrong, like they have been so many times before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.lloyd.148 Thomas Lloyd

    I think that ‘Microsoft has already taken the proper steps to ensure that they do play an integral part in the future of the mobile market.’ YES Microsoft !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002045363365 Robert Wilson

    The majority of users will be going to moble devices in the future an area that Microsoft is lagging behind. There will always be a need for computers. However in the area of corporate enterprises mobile devices will become the norm.

  • dnr2

    I think that Microsoft is still its own worst enemy. The fractionalization within the company continues and this infighting will continue to cripple the possible success of their, what I consider, great products. Microsoft needs a leader.

  • Loller1

    You mean that company that predict that Windows Phone will take over 2nd place from iOS in 2015?

  • Larryalobo

    The future is not predicated on the past. Depends on how well Microsoft ties all it has together and get better ads to show us what their products can do and work together and be more relevant to those it wants to convince and win over. I hope their departments have stopped shooting at each other and are working together more to make this happen. I’ve read where Kinect was years ahead of everyone else some years ago but since Microsoft has seemingly not done as much with it as it might have, others have caught up with their own motion control technology. Siri seemed innovative when Apple brought it out (but it generally sucks even though it might be getting better) but Apple promoted the hell out of it and people’s impressions were that it was great (I think Android has something better, so it seems). Its the impression people get that’s the impression – if you don’t define yourself, someone else will define you, and that’s the impression.

  • Daniel Gray

    Nope, dont believe a thing she says as she is too generous with Mac and the iPhone. Bloomberg Business news had people from Apple on there last night and they admitted that the new iPhone is selling less then they wanted it to by a factor of 7. Meaning for every one iPhone that is sold, 7 of them are not. Apple admitted that they have stopped production on the iPhone 5 as they have more then enough in stock to last them till the iPhone 6 rolls out in the near future. They also admitted that Google’s Android phones are whooping their butts in sales by a factor of over 500 to 1.

    And sorry Vasile, seems that you paid no attention to the latest Electronics show. A show where they clearly showed a Windows PC running an android OS (Bluestacks) which CAN be used as a phone via the internet with a device that plugs into the speaker jack. They also showed a nice little windows pad that doubles as a cell phone, that is in production as you read this..

  • ac492

    How you envisage the future depends a lot on how you PERSONALLY feel about a company or organisation. Take Apple. I look at their pricing and don’t buy their stuff – I think they’re laughing at their customers as they rip them off. (Though of course the Apple fans don’t see it that way!)

    I’ve bought into the Microsoft brand since Windows 95, but when I bought my copies of
    Millenium and Vista I really, really felt ripped off and just a bit upset at being sold stuff which fell a long, long way short of Microsoft’s hype. And I don’t feel any better about Microsoft today, having bought Win 8 only to see ‘Win Blue’ on the horizon, doubtless to be paid for when it really should be an included upgrade.

    Android however, has been a different kettle of fish. So far I haven’t felt cheated with my successive Android phones and tablets, and I’ve been pleased and happy with them all. AND I can upgrade the OS whenever required without additional cost.

    On that basis, assuming there’s no change in Apple, Microsoft or Android’s attitudes towards their respective customers, I’d agree with the analysis and put my money on Android flying far ahead of the rivals. But of course, business success can alter corporate perspectives and diminish respect for the people who buy the product.

  • tafa

    other os are nothing compared to windows. but did wp as simple as it say it is yes its too simple . am a win os user for my the best os is something smarth and simple make think easier et.comviniant and still dont feel that smart way not 70 there yet for example listen.to.music turning down the sound make.all the system sound down ..i usually miss call because of that . multitasking ah not that good i mean each time you touch an icon even if the apps still running that will automaticly reopen it again we have to wait the apps to.relaod ……most people dont know about programming hitech ….the just some want all the best of what the like on there phone and they make it there own sorry compare to ios and android its not that my daily use phone is 920 but always found my self on that android tab because its juste feel better when i came to usuability etc…..
    i did a quick compare to gs4 and iphone5 i didnt compare camera apps or navigat..
    i compare the multytasking the share picture part the the notification(realy bad compare to those two) sound personnalization and phone setting….just one thing hope nokia and wmicrosoft will. make the need change. because i just feel my phone in that ear isnt the smarter .and have insultin galaxy s 4 cheap plastic guess what actual feel better in the hand also its just amazing . a really think.microsoft should let partner go more on their own.on the os specially nokia else it will ..

  • Andrew Christodoulides

    MS should be more scared of Linux and not Android.
    Can I run CAD, CFD, Adobe Professional on Android? NO!
    Why is IBM Lotus Notes, Catia V6, UG NX8.5 now being released for both Windows and Linux OS? If tehy thought Android was the way to go would they not? Yes IBM has Notes Traveller for Android and it works well..about only app on my S2 that does.
    Corporations, proffessionals are the ones that spend the bucks.
    Of course costs are important and that is where Linux is eating out MS. Ubuntu & Suse are taking over many Server operations and some Companies are moving desktops to Linux… Look at latest Ubuntu and Suse and you will see teh similarity to Windows 8. Who is copying Whom?
    MS must learn to LISTEN to Customers and dramatically improve its Customer Support and I agree with the comment that Windows 8 Mobile would be Great if MS allowed people liek Nokia to put things liek rsap *Remote Simm Access Profile) on their Lumnia.
    I would throw away my Samsung for a Lumnia with rsap capability.
    Just google rsap foir Windows phone and you will see how many people feel same way.
    Yes Android has free upgrades..but with annoying bugs and virtually no support.
    Linux also has free upgrades and a HUGE support infrastucture based on both free and paid ones.
    No MS will stay around as long as it takes teh “Customer is KING” approach and not listen to trendies like MS Milanessi.
    I like Windows 8 and have 4 machines running the Pro64 at Home. My family all got used to it in 1-2 days.
    Yes I hate the fact that I can not stop apps like SKYPE and others in Metro.
    Yes I love my Windows 7 desktop but I can use the Windows8 desktop and create start up shortcuts to my most used programs.

  • bob bray

    looking ahead 4 years i see integration of the phone/tablet/laptop/desktop more important than ever in the corp world. security across platform will still be a major problem. will M$ close shop? comming from the same peeps that 1: said google stock was overvalued at 100 $ a share 2: facebook stock a great deal at ipo

  • jonney

    Hi what i think is that all the os componys must come to gethere and make 1 big os that works on all platforms. all it needs then is a good market plan. I my self is a die hard fan of windows 7 and 8. Thanks for a gr8t news letter. from spekkies2007@yahoo.com.
    I am from South Africa

  • http://www.facebook.com/edward.allen.54 Edward Allen

    Microsoft and Apple both might fade to the edge of the galaxy if the trend depicted in the graph regarding Android OS continues to prosper. The real question is “Is Android an operating system that has it’s own stand alone business applications that are useable on a mobile device like a tablet, phone, etc.?” if it is headed in this direction, it is conceivable that they may grab the business software market from Microsoft but I doubt it. The reason I say this is that the more sophisticated the business hardware, the more bang will have to be put into the mobile devices they use to run the new software. I believe that would introduce the factors of both increased cost to the business and increased complexity in using the new devices. The first factor, in particular, might definitely cut into the business user’s bottom line, especially if they have to provide these devices to a very large number of employees.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bradley/100001591676304 Michael Bradley

      No way Android will dominate…Wintel will kick butt in 2014…I’ll bet 2 to 1…

  • TD Grae

    I doubt it. Windows phones have connectivity with Windows PCs. IOS phones have connectivity with OS X Macs. What does Android have connectivity with? The MiiPC? Even Linux phones have connectivity with Linux computers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bradley/100001591676304 Michael Bradley

      Uhhh… look at the free AirDroid app, downloadable from Playstore. That one should be included with all Android devices out of the box…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Bradley/100001591676304 Michael Bradley

    This article counts all computing devices including phones as “PC’s”. Already very close to 100% of people owning either a laptop or tablet also own a phone…..and unless the world changes very radically, that statistic will continue….Microsoft only entered the tablet space last year. Intel is concentrating on low-power Atoms to compete with ARM…ASUS predicts X86 tablets averaging $ 50 more than ARM tablets by the end of this year…would you prefer to spend $50 more for a Windows tablet that can run any Windows app????