Windows 7 will become the leading operating system (OS) worldwide in the PC installed base, running on 42 percent of PCs in use by the end of 2011, according to Gartner. Gartner’s latest PC OS forecast shows 94 percent of new PCs will be shipped with Windows 7 in 2011.
Gartner’s forecast assumes that Windows 7 is likely to be the last version of Microsoft OS that gets deployed to everybody through big corporatewide migration. In the future, many organizations will also use alternative client computing architectures for standard PCs with Windows OS, and move toward virtualization and cloud computing in the next five years.
Shipments of Apple iMacs and Mac OS share on new PCs have seen increases in the last 12 months. Mac OS was shipped on 4 percent of new PCs worldwide in 2010 versus 3.3 percent in 2008. Mac OS is forecast to be on 4.5 percent of PCs in 2011, and grow to 5.2 percent of new PCs in 2015. Shipments will grow stronger in mature markets where consumers are buying into the Apple product ecosystem.
[advt]The Mac OS share still varies greatly by region, as Apple has much stronger presence in North America and Western Europe. The fastest growth is expected to happen in selected emerging countries, where Apple and Mac OS are growing from a small base.
Linux OS is expected to remain niche over the next five years with its share below 2 percent because of the remaining high costs of application migration from Windows to Linux. In the consumer market, Linux will be run on less than 1 percent of PCs, as Linux’s success with mini-notebooks was short-lived and few mini-notebooks are preloaded with it today.
Gartner does not expect Chrome OS, Android or webOS to get any significant market share on PCs in the next few years. Analysts believe that to get any consideration as an alternative for a traditional PC, lighter OSs will first need to get strong positions on emerging client devices such as Web books and media tablets. Even then, it is unlikely that they will have any impact on Microsoft and Windows OS’s hold on positions on traditional professional PCs in the time frame of the current forecast. This is because of application compatibility issues and the high proportion of Windows-specific applications within many enterprises.
Gartner estimates that only in 2012 will the market reach the point of crossover between Windows-specific and OS-agnostic applications for enterprises, as 50 percent of the applications will be OS-agnostic. In the consumer space, Gartner believes that the proportion of OS-agnostic applications is already above the Windows-specific applications. This could help Chrome OS and Android make inroads into the consumer space in the next three to five years.