Tim Bajarin: Within three to five years, Windows will be an afterthought

“Windows and Mac OS X have been my operating systems of choice for years, while iOS and Android have been supplemental OSes for smartphones and tablets,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine. “But I believe there is a changing of the ‘OS’ guard happening as younger tech users move into the business world.”

“Some of this younger generation use PCs, even though most use Macs. However, much of their time is spent on phones and tablets for personal and productivity projects, particularly iPhones,” Bajarin writes. “I believe Apple understands this better than anyone, and the introduction of the iPad Pro is a nod to this generational trend. More importantly, I see Apple using this to drive millennials towards making iOS their OS of choice, even at work. In fact, within three to five years, I suspect Windows will be an afterthought.”

Apple's all-new iPad Pro with Apple Smart Keyboard
Apple's all-new iPad Pro with Apple Smart Keyboard

“Beyond millennials, Apple is eyeing the enterprise market. While Apple lost out to Bill Gates and the Windows crowd for the first 30 years, Cupertino could dominate the world of personal computing over the next 30 years, if it executes this plan as I think it will. Although Tim Cook is now at the helm, make no mistake that Jobs was the architect of this enterprise push,” Bajarin writes. “Jobs knew that he lost my generation and the Gen X’ers but understood that if he could get the generation under them hooked on his newest OS, iOS could someday become the cornerstone of his broader strategy to undermine Windows. The iPad Pro is Apple’s first serious tool that is at the heart of this strategy.”

Read more in the full article – recommended, as usualhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal is now coming to fruition.

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft. — MacDailyNews, January 10, 2005

Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005


  1. “Windows and Mac OS X have been my operating systems of choice for years” what a pointless statement, all that says is that essentially he doesn’t use Linux. That’s effectively not making a choice.

    1. I think it is a reflection of front line people in business. Just like me. I use software tools and pick the OS that runs them.

      If I had an application that demanded Linux or worked with managing data server applications, I would use Linux.

    1. The PC will be the gamer’s choice for a while, but you have to look at the end game here. As mobile devices become more powerful (look at the iPad Pro / A9X for example), the types of games that need to run on the PC will be restricted to the most hard core games. As mobile devices become more powerful and PCs sell in less quantity, where do you think gaming companies are going to go?
      Further, I think the days of dedicated gaming consoles are numbered as well. There will surely be another generation or two, but you’re going to see common set top boxes (like the Apple TV, etc.) get more into gaming. Apple didn’t hit it out of the park with the current Apple TV in terms of gaming, but it is setting up the infrastructure to make that happen. It’s also establishing a gaming base for dedicated gaming controllers, etc.

  2. From stage right we now get a procession of one dimensional ‘workers’ who will claim it isn’t a desktop standard OS without once querying that the way that work is being done by an increasing section of the working population has much to do with the traditional paradigm that they can’t get their head out of.

    Yes it will take time, yes it won’t be the answer to many who will increasingly become specialist (or purely outmoded) computer workers’ rather than the new norm. And I certainly cannot see it happening unless Apple truly resolves certain differences between iOS and the Mac OS to take full advantage of this changing mind set and opportunity, but as I said on another thread that creative users are not all using the Mac Pro most workers don’t inherently have to use a ‘desktop’ operating system especially when Apples SOC looks like increasingly out performing Intel’s mobile chips, stuck as they are with an unsuitable design for the job while more and more work goes mobile. However a lot depends upon whether Apple gets complacent or not in where it needs to go and it has been guilty of that on occasion in recent years. Give MS half a chance to take a toehold with their Windows everywhere push and they could yet retain their power base if its advantages outweigh its inherent disadvantages as things stand. I suspect that within 5 years we will see which way this battle will likely go.

    1. Absolutely right on complacency.

      The Mac Pro either becomes a max-performance device or a Mega-Mac Pro emerges or the people who need highest performance will move to hardware & software that runs pro apps as fast as possible.

      1. And …

        As much as I admire Apple for building its own MacPros in Texas, it is possible that a Mega-Mac Pro might be made by one of the giant suppliers of high performance servers for ISPs or similar max performance workstations.

        People forget that there are individual engineers and designers running software that does extensive FEA or analysis and a single run can take 1-10 hours to complete on some runs.

        Max speed does count. You can never make up for lost time in business.

    2. I think you’ve got it mostly correct, however, there is a limit as to what can be done on a mobile device – not only CPU/memory pose a limit, but screensize poses one too. If you look at the flatlining of tablet sales, you’ll see that we’re as mobile now as we need/want to be. Some tasks require extended concentration and mobile isn’t conducive to that. So the mobile movement is really as much as it ever will be, I think.

  3. As usual, Bajarin is right. The way Apple is blending all its devices in its ecosystem is amazing. The Airplay function brought an Apple TV and MacBook Pro into our all Windows office. The Continuity feature has allowed me to take calls on my Mac or iPad when my iPhone is in the other room. Try this trick with Windows.

    In fact, I love to sit in business meetings with folks lugging Dell laptops, while I sit there with my Air. I tell them in 5 years Windows will be gone. They look at me like I’m nuts. Then I instantly flash something from my Air or iPhone to the conference room TV and they ask: how did you do that? As long as they are a Windows user, they will never know.

    1. EVENTUALLY he’s right.

      However, he’s got the timeline wrong. In three to five years Windows won’t be an afterthought. Absolutely NOT in three. Exceedingly likely not in five. Possibly in seven to eight. Probably in 10 to 12. Absolutely in 15 to 20.

      The current installed base of Windows machines is just too huge to be marginalized in three to five years. The Windows majority (still selling well over 85% of the non tablet/phone systems out there — and including tablets if you include things like Surface) will stumble on for another decade at lease. It probably won’t stop being the majority for at least another 5+ years.

  4. When we hire new people, I have to set up Mac stations for them. 99% of the time, it’s their first time using a Mac.

    And they usually complain complain complain. They have windows at home. They don’t care to know about any differences. They just want to use what they are use to using.

    I use to be able to convert them over time. But any longer. They just don’t care about the differences. They just don’t want to learn anything new.

    It is very frustrating.

    1. It is. Unfortunately, you no longer have the ability to fire them on the spot. Welcome to the millenial generation – the most spoiled and narcissistic generation to grace the earth. Fortunately, their ineptitude and tantrums means that we will have jobs until we die. Unfortunately, their ineptitude and tantrums means that we will have to work until we die. That national debt isn’t going away through their efforts!

      1. Okay, sure. Every generation blames the one before and the one after. Are you referring to the national debt that you and I helped create through our inefficient use of resources? Are you referring to the jobs that don’t exist because corporatism has replaced liberty and justice for all people?

  5. It will be interesting to see where all the new Macs and PCs are used. My guess is that Macs are used for personal use in a greater proportion than in business environments. Some businesses that do not rely on Office may be Mac dominated. That trend will grow as more businesses switch to cloud computing.
    PCs in the end will be restricted to cheap boxes that run kiosks, specialized equipment etc. My company is still on Windows 7 for the most part.

  6. You read the comments below, and virtually all of them disparage the new iPad pro with the same, monotonous, tiresome and useless arguments most everyone here has heard for years.

  7. I toured two private colleges in the past month that have two of the strongest business programs in the state and over 90% of the students were using Macs.

    I told this to some of my customers and they freaked. But I told them that if they want to attract the best and brightest minds that offering them a black plastic hunk of a PC when they are used to a vertically integrated platform that ties their business and personal life together won’t work.

    1. Do you honestly believe that the professional computing needs of companies is equivalent to the personal computing needs of students? Perhaps if all one does is web-based stuff and communication. But if you’re in any way involved in science or engineering or cutting edge data processing, Apple just doesn’t deliver anymore. Apple hasn’t even tried to serve the professional market for over five years.

      I wish it was different. Apple is missing out on a lot of potential new sales, but as it is, a huge percentage of the smartest kids graduating college are going to have to learn Linux and Windows. Until Apple changes its ways, that’s the way it will be for many years to come.

      1. The same thing used to be said about AutoCAD and other professional, niche products. Now you can get AutoCAD on a Mac. And more software coming from AutoDesk will be able to be run in a browser on any platform.

        Sure, some products are PC only but how long do you think that’s going to last as there is a massive push to decouple the front end of software from the back end?

        If IBM, one of the biggest analytical and enterprise company can figure it out, eventually that will translate to others following suit or be left out.

  8. Windows was always an AFTER THOUGHT.
    If Windows was a well thought out plan it would not be the frankenstein it became. Fragmented, hacked and toyed by so many other companies all caught up in the marketing game just to be pre-installed on junk. You know, same as Android is today. These monsters live on, confused on how to truly change the world.

  9. As much as I wish it were true…wrong. People continue to flock to stores to buy new PC’s because they have decided they cannot afford a mac. These PC’s come with Windows. Well, most do anyway. Most companies I work with still deploy Windows machines and will continue to do so for years and years to come. Why? For the same reason those home users buy the PC…the perception is they are cheaper. Mac’s are about the same or even cheaper when you look at total cost of ownership over a 3-5 year period, but most people don’t do that. If people forecasted that well, none would ever allow the government to deduct taxes from their paycheck. You can save a ton of money if you set it aside yourself and let it earn interest. But that requires planning.

  10. “As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.”

    Yeah, but now that Apple’s in the driver’s seat (and especially given the latest issues…) we can now start writing:

    We might now feel victorious, waiving the checkered flag, but the war is not over. And, yes, we shall stumble as well… No company is invincible. Not even Apple.

  11. I’d love to believe that, I really would. But as long as there are “gate”s, Apple won’t rule, thy’ll stumble under their own wait. Yes, they’ll move forward, but it’ll be too fast, too soon. Windows has the apps, Mac has the potential, and iOS is locked and loaded, so that no app blessed by Apple can be ran, unless the user has a Mac, and further, xCode, and further, the willingness to go through xCode to deal with compiling an app. The iPhone and iPad, even the iPad Pro, is not a general purpose computer. Its an Apple device, through and through. And as long as Apple keeps that attitude, they won’t win everyone. People will always want the freedom of the PC or even the Mac.

    Sent from my iPhone


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