Microsoft’s Windows is doomed

“The new Microsoft is nearly unrecognizable. Years ago, when Windows was dominant and the smartphone era had yet to arrive, Microsoft was often the epitome of all that is wrong with a powerful company: They were accused of monopolistic tendencies, their arrogance made them miss the mobile era, and they stagnated for years while coasting on their most lucrative products,” Navneet Alang writes for The Week. “But Microsoft is now born again, adaptive, forward-looking, and with products like its augmented reality HoloLens, occasionally almost cool. So when it was recently announced that Microsoft is entering into a deal to make its Cortana voice assistant work with Amazon’s Alexa, barely an eye was batted.”

“But the deal with Amazon is actually far less positive than it might appear. In fact, it comes from a position of weakness,” Alang writes. “As analyst Jan Dawson points out, both Amazon and Microsoft’s voice assistants are dwarfed in usage by Google and Apple because those companies have their own massive smartphone platforms that literally put their assistants in people’s hands. For Microsoft in particular, this deal is an attempt to make up for the fact that, without a real smartphone base of its own, its assistant is limited to Windows PCs — a category that is diminishing in importance. And that simple fact signals a bigger trend at Microsoft: that while the company may continue to survive and even thrive, once-unassailable Windows is likely doomed.”

“Apple’s massive success with the iPhone led to both the iPad and the reinvigoration of its Mac sales. Developers often create for iOS first, which means that the services that came to dominate the digital world — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — are better on those platforms, which creates a virtuous circle for Apple,” Alang writes. “Platforms are like networks, and without the core node of mobile in a mobile-first world, Microsoft’s Windows cannot last. The network effects common with platforms will occur, and momentum and interest will continue to rally around Apple… Microsoft may well continue to thrive. But Windows — once the core of the company and seemingly central to so many of our lives — is likely beyond saving.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Even before iPhone, a few hearty souls foresaw that the Dark Age of Personal Computing was drawing to a close:

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

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Have a great weekend, everybody!

SEE ALSO:
Steve Jobs’ plan to take back the personal computing business from Microsoft proceeding apace – December 7, 2009
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005

65 Comments

  1. Well,I’ll be a suckeggedmule if I wasn’t right way back in January, 1999 (or was it 2000?) when standing watching the first OS X demo at Tokyo MacWorld Expo, I said to Japanese standing around me, “This will be the death of Windows. Not Microsoft, but Windows.” これで、ウインドウズが無くなりますよ。マイクロソフトじゃ無くてけど、ウインドウズが無くなります。いつか分かりないですが、必ず無くなります。

    1. How were you right? WIndows is STILL the dominant player in the desktop market by a long shot and Apple is abandoning the desktop market.

      Windows is alive and well, even though it’s a subpar OS. Apple’s desktop market share is at a 5 year low thanks to the incompetence of Tim Cooke.

      OS X holds appox. a 6.1% market share and you think OS X will be the end of windows? Tim Cooke will be death of OS X.

      1. No. Sorry. Windows is dying. Still quite popular in third world countries and with people who can’t afford Apple, but Apple’s 6% plus market share represents the best customer base a computer company could want. Meanwhile, Apple completely controls up scale mobile. Windows theoretically could survive as a kind of fungus at the bottom of the computer food chain, except that it is being eaten slowly by Google through Chrome and Android offshoots. So it has not hope at the top, and is being eaten up from the bottom. And there’s no reason for a middle to exist. Just a question of time before everyone abandons it. Still, it had a nice long run that made IT departments happy.

        1. Unfortunately you’re delusional.

          Virtually 100% of the big international companies and governments are very, very Windows centric. That inertia will keep Windows centric systems going for a decade or more from now — and like 15+ years from now. Large corporations are slow to change significant infrastructure.

          Yes, Linux is making inroads into the data centers, but most of those are still very Windows centric. Yes, with the concept of Bring Your Own Device having caught on in many companies the use of Google (including Android) and Apple devices is expanding for mobile devices (but NOT company sanctioned laptops). Point out a Fortune 200 company that plans on being Google or Apple centric (other than Google or Apple or one of their subsidiaries) within the next 3 to 5 years. They don’t exist. The same is true even for medium sized businesses.

          Inroads are happening, but if you think Windows will shrink to a less than 50% market share within the next decade you are delusional. If you actually think Windows will become a minor player in the IT world within the next 10 years you’re nuts. Certifiably nuts.

          1. Companies would have been happy with a cleaned up version of XP. They don’t care about the bells and whistles. They want a cheap, simple OS to run Office or the custom software they make on the cheap, simple PC from Dell or similar boxes. In this sense I agree that Windows is doomed. No one I’ve met in my travels really cares about Windows 10. Everyone complains about it. People in industry think about Windows the way you think about the starter motor in your car.

            I still run across machines running Windows 2000 because it cost too much to upgrade them or there is no upgrade path. They are isolated because IT won’t allow them on the network. A new PC is cheap but the custom software they run only runs on XP or 2000. A new instrument may cost a few hundred thousand so they keep these old machines alive. Sometimes there are small companies that spring up to update these old computers. Even then, it will cost several tens of thousands to update.

            1. Unfortunately, this reminds me of Apple as well. Forcing the cloud down everyone’s throats and making features (I’m looking at you touch bar) that nobody wants.

        2. Linux is also rather popular in third-world countries. It’s an alternative to Windows which doesn’t require the purchase of an expensive new Mac, which makes Linux rather popular in third-world countries. People in third-world countries can just install Linux on the Windows PCs they already have or a cheap PC they just bought.

      2. I see 8 votes that agree with you. They must be Windows die hardship. I remember an online discussion I had not that very long ago, that MSFT was going to become irrelevant in the next 5 years. It happened faster than I thought it would.

        Baller was a great manager of a very large firm, but his management style suppressed innovation. MSFT missed the internet, search, music players, smart phones, tablets, wearables and now, because of all that new technologies, i.e., AI/AR will miss the train as well. BECAUSE MSFT doesn’t have a viable mobile presence.

        1. Microsoft Windows is not dead, but I agree that it appears to be slowly dying. Water is flowing over the spillway and all that it will take for the dam to begin collapsing is for a few major companies to begin renovation cycles focusing on new software tools rather than sticking with the old stuff. IBM can help them with the process.

          After other companies see the technical and economic success of the new strategy, others will rapidly follow and Windows will dwindle rapidly. The butterfly has flapped its wings, but it will take five to ten years for that disturbance to grown into a Windows-destroying storm.

          1. With the decline of PCs/Desktops and the rise of mobiles, I would expect web-based systems would come to the forefront. MS has a good headstart on Apple in this area and with Apple’s high dependence on macOS and iOS should the shift for HW to become commodities Apple will be caught flatfooted. Maybe they will continue to provide some of the best HW but that might not be such an advantage when everything important is out in the Cloud.

      3. OS X is also the foundation for iOS. Sales of iOS devices alone have outpaced sales of Windows devices since 2015. Android surpassed Windows long before that. That doesn’t mean Windows is dead, but in the scheme of things it’s much less relevant than it ever was before.
        Winodws only exists in the PC at this point and the PC is a platform in decline and has been for years. Nothing new or exciting is happening in the PC space. The vast majority of innovation (both hardware and software) is happening in the mobile space.

      4. I think they just know how to fool ppl by writing such rubbish market evaluations. But Microsoft Windows is been there as a great help to the ppl in all the aspects. And still it is. Windows can’t be replaced ever as it has its own value.

    2. People have been predicting the end of the Windows operating system since 1990 or so. Remember how bad Windows 2.0 was? Most people don’t even remember Windows 2.0 because virtually no one used it. It was that bad. Many pundits were saying that Windows 2.0 was the dead end for Windows. Windows 3.0 and 3.11 were tolerable for some. Windows 95 basically killed any forward motion of System 7 and sped up Apple’s decline into the Dark Days.

      No one should ever proclaim Windows dead in less than a 10 – 15 from any given point. The installed base and revenue stream is HUGE and the inertia to keep buying Windows based systems by virtually 100% of the large multinational organizations and governments will keep feeding Microsoft to keep incrementally fixing the many faults that make up Windows.

      If the author is trying to say that Windows, as we currently know it, will be dead by 2032 or later, I’ll agree that’s a distinct possibility, but don’t count Microsoft out.

      Yet the author gets one thing absolutely wrong, “They were accused of monopolistic tendencies…” No. They were convicted of monopolistic practices multiple times. The fact that the penalties amounted to not much more than a firm, “Don’t you dare do that again.”, is not relevant. Microsoft was convicted of using monopolistic practices for using a monopoly in one space to extend the reach of a product for which they did not have even a major market share.

  2. “No company is invincible. Not even [Apple].”

    Look, I come here to MDN because I admire Apple as a company and I’m a fan of their products. But forgive me for not sharing the same arrogance as the MDN editors. I sure hope Apple Inc. doesn’t share the same arrogance.

    Competition is good. Apple is what it is partly because of its competitive realationship with MSFT. The iPhone is what it is partly because of the competition with Android. Competition is good for the consumer.

    1. Can you make your point without the word “arrogance” repeated twice and “competition” four times?

      Saying “arrogance” is not making a point.

      And the cliche about competion is just that – a cliche. Steve needed no competion to strive for excellence… and do it again… and do it again.

      1. Well said. Apple did not compete against IBM or Microsoft. That is a direct quote from a high level person at Apple. We don’t compete. We make insanely great products that speak for themselves.

  3. All the more reason why Apple should develop a professional software package to complete with Microsoft Office that would address what is needed by large data base users in the enterprise — business & commerce, corporations, government, science and research, engineering, etc.***

    If Apple addresses this issue, then its ecosystem for the enterprise will be more holistic along with the the iPhone and other highly integrated ecosystem –to become truly a potential alternative to the enterprise ecosystem developed by Microsoft.

    CGC
    ____________
    ***And please, no more argument that Pages and Numbers are good enough for your use, MacDailyNews staff and the majority of Apple customers

      1. “How about…”

        It must be a complete suite***, just like iWork but made more robust purposely for the Mac and perhaps the iPad Pro for more serious “enterprise work.

        Also, as noted by others, it must be able to accept “data” from related enterprise software duties, like Microsoft Office. The latter is critical because we cannot live in a vacuum. “Enterprises” must have the option to transition less painfully and more gradually from a Windows to a Mac-iOS ecosystem.

        CGC
        ____________
        ***FileMaker Pro is mainly a database software

        1. “…that would address what is needed by large data base users in the enterprise — business & commerce, corporations, government, science and research, engineering, etc.”

          Well, ya, I thought a powerful database program is what you say you wanted. FileMaker Pro is amazing software. Powerful. Versatile. Easily — and almost infinitely — programmable by users. Have you checked it out, at least?

          1. Filemaker Pro is *NOT* in any way, shape, or form a “powerful database program”.

            It is an intermediate database platform. Sure, it’s plenty for most “mom and pop” shops, but no one in their right mind would run a large enterprise on it.

            It is not equivalent to the big boys: SAP, DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, and others. It just is not. Besides, when was the last time you heard of SAP or DB2 or SQL Server running on top of macOS? There was a time 15 years ago when Oracle said running Oracle on Mac servers was THE most cost effective way to run big data bases. But, Apple killed the great Xserves and the rest is history.

            Apple does NOT have a powerful, enterprise class data base product. It simply does not.

    1. Apple started to enter the enterprise area and was doing pretty well for starting up.

      Then like all other Apple’s hobbies, regardless of how well they were recieved, apple just out of the blue abandoned it and Xserve drifted off into oblivion.

      1. The server business is irrelevant. Yes, it’s a good business, but, it’s dominated by Linux based servers because it’s very cost effective and it performs well. Microsoft is not going to grow in the server business any more than Apple is.
        As for Apple, they are making great headway into the enterprise business through mobile. Companies like IBM, Accenture, etc. are tripping over themselves to partner with Apple. By 2015, Apple’s enterprise business alone had ballooned to be a $25 Billion business annually and growing at a very fast rate.

  4. They may well be dead, but as long as Windoze users continue to use XP and Seven, MS will be around for a long time. Most MS users don’t really care about vertical integration or clouds or anything technical, they go on line and do some FB and get their mail and that’s it.

    1. The real issue is privacy. I do not understand how anyone who cares about their privacy, identity theft, and online security could prefer MS over Apple anything.

  5. MS is about more than just windows now.

    They are becoming more of a platform company with a cloud OS than anything else.

    All you have to do is look at the state and direction of Visual Studio to see that.

  6. I agree – the world has changed.

    I was in a meeting yesterday with 40+ business owners and entrepreneurs at an app training session and the first thing the tech guy said who was doing the training was that he apologised to the 2 people in the room who were using a windows smart phone as there is no version of the app for that platform.

    He then suggested that they just use the website.

    Who would have thought that Microsoft could become so unimportant over such a short time.

      1. Time to bring the short, fat “medicine man” back with some powerful ritual dancing saying “developers, developers, developers…until he sweats himself dry with passion.

    1. Honestly? Anyone who was paying attention. Windows has always been a badly reverse engineered version of the Mac OS. anticipate a similar fate for Android. You can only coast for so long, marketshare isn’t really an indicator of anything but convenience. The PC was the gateway device of the 90s, mobile is the gateway to the present. Microsoft is pretty much a non-player, and more and more people are catching onto Google’s shenanigans.

    1. If the history of Apple vs Microsoft has taught us anything, it is that long term, market share is not as important as profit, good management and innovation. The argument that market share was an invincible advantage has been proven false.

    1. No, actually. Mac has been continually gaining market share for years now.

      However, I’d agree that for the current Apple fiscal year, the Mac has been treading water. I’d point directly at Apple as the cause of that problem. They’ve blatantly neglected the Mac. But I’d also have to point at Intel who are far behind their intended CPU update schedule. I think of it as the death (for now) of Moore’s Law for x86 CISC chips. Meanwhile, ARM (Apple A-Series) RISC CPUs are right on track.

      Intel in general has been slipping lately. Their Atom CPUs continue to limp and have problems. The ME controller chip on their motherboards also has problems.

      1. It makes perfect since that Apple focused most of it’s resources on dominating mobile. Could they have done more for the Mac? Sure. But their might have been a cost. Apple is now in a position, super rich and in control of the best technology, to pivot and prop up the Mac. It could be argued that it was even a smart move to wait a while to do that so Apple Mobile got all the press and Microsoft rotted from within first.

        1. Hmm. Maybe. It of course is wise to wait for the future to occur, then we can look back in hindsight and have some actual understanding of what happened over there.

          However, I don’t see the BFD with Apple keeping up with the latest Intel processors. The required R&D is minimal. The hardware implementation is minimal. Updating macOS to accommodate the new hardware is minimal. But we know they neglected to do so. From at least a marketing point of view, they blew it. From an internal technology point of view, if they haven’t got the staff to keep the Mac up-to-date then go hire some! This isn’t the rocket science division of Apple. It’s standard PC technology that doesn’t require a genius graduate from MIT, etc.

        2. ” Could they have done more for the Mac? Sure. But their might have been a cost.”

          ?

          Apple’s got 200 billion bucks in the bank.
          They spent 10 million on the prize of Planet of the Apps, going to spend 1 billion on TV content (Note Netflix today LOSES money so TV content is crap shoot … ), spent billions on the New Campus, spent millions on Apple Music ‘exclusive’ deals with artists (as Spotify with double the paid subscribers ALSO loses money, that’s another questionable expenditure.. ) etc … but yet no money for Mac development?

          Can’t work on Macs which make more money than iPads.
          which make TWICE the revenues of Watch, Apple TV, Beats, AirPods, iPods COMBINED..
          Practically nothing on Mac marketing.
          ???? (as an aapl investor and Apple consumer it makes ZERO sense to me).

          SVPs were making Coffee Table books, Christmas trees, Furniture for charities, sponsoring fashion shows like the Met Gala, Working on Planet of the Apps, the life of Dr.Dre Miniseries, and according to Reuters Apple designers spent one and half years on the DOOR HANDLES of the new campus (the report also stated that every other item in the Campus like ceiling tiles, door thresholds, orchards for growing fruit trees also received that crazy amount of attention, “iPhone Standards”. Jony Ive is so proud of this he has ‘Campus Design’ on his official webpage . Please NOTE Apple builds COMPUTING DEVICES, not BUILDINGS… etc etc)…

          the do all that and they can’t work on Macs? They can work year and half on door handles and not update the Mac Pro since 2013 ??????????????

          even the chips thing… they had SKYLAKE Macs at the END of the chip cycle, that’s why the Kaby Lake Mac Pro came out just months after the SKYLAKE version . Also PCs had 3-5 times more powerful GPUs than even the highest end Mac Pro cylinder for years . etc

          NO THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.
          it was INCOMPETENCE AND NEGLECT.

          (people can go all fanboy and down vote me all the want but what I’m saying is just based on facts and the truth).

      2. That’s called myopia. Everything that’s being built for iOS is down heading down to Macs vs the other way around.
        There was a time that technology going to from Macs to IOS was the norm and it was iOS gaining advanced technology. Now it’s the other way around.
        The writing is in the wall in all caps.

  7. I have to maintain some laptops with XP and Snow Leopard. For engineering reasons, not Facebook reasons. Using either one of those OSs is like a breath of fresh air. Everything just snaps and the workflow is as clear as a bell. Then I have to go back to Win10 and Sierra. I think MS and Apple are both in trouble.

  8. my 2 cents:

    1) Macs make more money than iPad and has for many quarters — in spite of Apple leadership practically trying to neglect it to death.

    At the time of his passing the CEO torch to Cook Jobs ran about 1 NEW Mac Ad a MONTH ( 66 different Mac PC guy ads in 4 years) which dwindled to near ZERO when Tim “who needs a PC” Cook took over , followed by obtuse neglect, today some Macs are still not updated for 4 -5 years

    and remember with this ZERO ATTEMPT AT SELLING, Macs STILL make more money than iPad. Macs make 30-40% of the world’s PC profits today, they make more than Dell, or Lenovo or Acer. Imagine if they (the Coffee table book, Christmas Tree, one and half year to design New Campus Door Handles, Fashion Show etc Apple leadership) had taken it seriously.

    An extra 5-10% in sales compounded over years would have made billions more a quarter.

    There has been some indication of Mac turnaround with the very fast (desperate?) introduction of Kaby Lake Macs. I suspect without them and the TB3 EXTERNAL GPU work around Apple would have had to install Windows or Linux machines in the new Multi Billion dollar Showcase Campus to do advance VR/AR research (which is Apple’s new hot thing) and 3D design work as pro Macs are so far behind especially in GPU …

    (before people start flaming remember Apple sold EXTERNAL GPU solutions to Developers in the last WWDC. That shows that Apple’s own GPUs were too weak for some new app development. )

    2) what we take from Microsoft is that EVERY PART of the ECO SYSTEM is important. Msft. thought that Windows that made SOOOOOOO much more money than Phones (at that time) was the holy grail. So they neglected less profitable Phones and tablets. Sounds so much like those today who keep saying “iPhones” is IT !!! There’s nothing else… !!

    3) Without Apple there would be NO WINDOWS in the first place.
    Or a very different Windows.

    Remember people were using command land line MS DOS when Apple came out with the GUI (developed from basic tech they bought from PARC with apple shares). So many ‘experts’ (Enderle seems to be STILL saying it ! ) said the Mac GUI was a ‘toy’ and serious work could only be done with MS DOS.

    The reason Msft. got away with copying Mac was that the young Jobs made some patent mistakes, trusted Bill Gates (who was writing Mac app software) too much , followed by more legal errors by successive Apple CEOs. Jobs when he returned finally struck a deal to get rid of the lawsuits Apple was waging against Msft. in exchange for the Msft giving 150m for some Apple shares and Msft’s guarantee of continued development of Office for Mac for several years… ( I think Jobs was right due to apple’s weak patents, the lawsuits wouldn’t have gotten much).

    1. not only do Macs make more money than iPad.

      they also make more than TWICE AirPods, Apple TV, Beats, Apple Watch COMBINED.

      Mac revenues Q3 2017: 5.59 billion

      Other Products Category (includes: AirPods, TV, Beats, Watch, accessories , iPod.. etc COMBINED) : 2.7 Billion.

      And that’s with slow updates and ZERO Mac Marketing. (not even cheap web ads. When i read MDN I get Acer, Amazon, Dell ads… ) while Watch, iPads, AirPods etc get dozens of ads.

      people get the mistaken assumption (go read those stats again) that Macs are dying.

      with those financial numbers maybe more people should ask why the horrible Mac neglect in the last few years ?

      1. It’s not the first time Apple has done this.

        The first time damn near killed them.

        Back in the early 1980s, the Apple II was the dominant computer. Steve decided that instead of working with and improving that platform, he was going to move everything to the Mac, and use Apple II revenue to pay for it, while letting the platform languish.

        Steve was fired (and rightly so) but Sculley continued that path, and gave up Apple’s huge market share to MS.

        Had Apple continued compatibility with the Apple II and not split the product line while continuing to improve technology, MS would have been known for their office software, their OS division would have collapsed before 1990.

        If Apple does it again with the Mac, we’re going to be looking at the late ’90s Apple soon. Phones are great and all, but most people need computers, not just phones.

      2. further 2 cents:

        In the old days Steve Jobs wanted in Macs Best in Class machines. He would have ‘shootouts’ where Macs running Photoshop etc would trash Windows PCs as fans cheered “1, 2, 3… ” for the seconds that the PCs keep churning after the Mac had finished. I remember in PC world etc there were a few Macs listed as ‘best and fastest WINDOWS machines’.

        (Today the Mac Pro has a GPU a least a THIRD SLOWER than current PCs)

        If Apple today would build reasonably priced best in class PCs in Macs (just like iPhones are best in class) and get those ‘best Windows ‘ machines ratings, Apple might gain a lot of new users who can use Macs to run Windows (and thus be exposed to MacOS as well). With under 10% market share now there’s plenty of room to grow. Msft. has shipped 300 – 400 million Win 10 licenses.

        (and get that Mac Mini updated. Lots of Windows switchers don’t want an iMac and lose their monitors)

        And more market share = more developers which is a virtuous growth cycle.

        The Car might be a great experiment but to me Macs are EASY money (not taken advantaged of by Apple ) — see my finance stats in above posts .

        1. This is the part I don’t get. I had no desire to switch back to Windows after 10 years. But I can’t deal with the Mac hardware anymore.

          I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that has lasted longer than my 2013 did. It’s great for surfing the web or looking up stuff while the other machine is busy.

          BUT it can’t do video or photoshop large files or much else AT ALL.

          And the 2013 is bad too. And the new one’s aren’t much better than the 2013. For 3k? No thank you.

          I just don’t get it. It’s like someone is mad and wants to prove a point. But there is no point.

          1. I understand.

            what were they thinking? this whole Mac thing baffles me.

            I’m typing this on a Cheese Grater Mac Pro with updated processor and a GTX 980 Ti card. At least the old tower mac I can upgrade it.

            until recently with the TB3 External GPU solution (that Apple tried to push at developers as Mac GPUs were too weak) there was NO power GPU option in the entire Mac line up for about 3-4 years. Crazy. TB2 was too slow for effective eGPUs. My cheese Grater in GPU is significantly faster than the Cylinder.


            I have an iPad Pro 12.9 and a iPhone 7 plus (which I love) so I’m not anti Apple or iOS but the Mac neglect really bothers me.

            Today with ‘just in time built to order’ manufacturing they don’t even need to keep a lot of high end machines around. And when they have new processors, GPUs, bigger drives, they should just ‘plug them in’ in a ‘speed bump update’ , no need to redesign the whole chassis, just give power users power when available.

        2. reread and found I made a statement mistake:

          “Today the Mac Pro has a GPU a least a THIRD SLOWER than current PCs”

          should be :
          HALF to a THIRD the SPEED… (like one third) of top PC GPUs. The mac pro is from 2013

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