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Is Microsoft Relevant?

Going into this year’s Gartner Symposium, which is one of the largest events for CIOs, we at Cloud Sherpas noticed what appeared to be a stark difference in the feel of the event. Specifically, Microsoft seemed to be more focused on the consumer side of technology while Google was strongly representing the Enterprise. We referred to this as the changing of the guard.

During Gartner’s opening keynote, something was missing. I noticed it and multiple people I talked to during the week noticed it as well. What was missing? Any and all references to Microsoft. Google was mentioned multiple times, but there was not one mention of Microsoft at all. This was very different than years past and, as I mentioned, it did not go unnoticed by CIOs in attendance.

Given that Gartner Symposium is one of the biggest CIO events of the year and Microsoft had a less-than-stellar showing, I have to ask: Is Microsoft relevant? Let’s take a look at some of the key points Gartner shared about this exact topic in its “Meet the New Microsoft” session at the Symposium.

According to Gartner, the web – specifically the proliferation of web-based applications – has eroded the relevance of the Windows platform. Simply put, the web does not need Windows to function. Currently, less than 50% of applications are Windows-dependent and Gartner predicts this percentage will continue to decrease, reaching around 10%, or less, by 2020.

Gartner cites the proliferation of new Operating Systems (OS) as another factor in this shift. In 2010, about 50% of devices (PC and Mobile) were running a Windows OS, but in 2013 that number decreased to about 25%. This shift away from Windows OS is due to the arrival of new Operating Systems such as iOS and Android, primarily in both the mobile and tablet form factors. In a study conducted by Gartner, if a user is given a tablet, a PC and a smartphone, the usage of both the PC and smartphone decrease and tablet usage increases significantly. The introduction of the tablet has been the most disruptive form factor in user computing in this BYOD era, and, until recently, Microsoft could not address this segment of the market.

So, what has Microsoft done to address these changes? Microsoft answered with Windows 8, and now Windows 8.1. Microsoft positioned Windows 8 as the Operating System for all device form factors and, upon release, it also released the Surface tablet line, a line of hybrid tablets and PCs built by Microsoft as part of its transition into a Device and Services company. In fact, Ballmer believed in Windows 8 so much that he bet the company on it.

What does Gartner think of Windows 8? During the session, the Gartner analysts stated that they never thought that Windows 8 was going to set the world on fire, meaning they didn’t think it would take off that well. In fact, Windows 7 adoption seems to be outpacing that of Windows 8. And what is Gartner’s recommendation? Well, during the session, Gartner stated that companies should not adopt Windows 8, or 8.1, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.

Let’s review some key facts:

  • Web-based applications have decreased the dependency on the Windows operating system

  • New operating systems (iOS and Android) in multiple form factors, such as tablets and smartphones, have been introduced to users

  • Gartner does not yet recommend adopting Windows 8

Does the combination of all of these factors mean that Microsoft is no longer relevant?

No. According to Gartner, Microsoft is not irrelevant, but its dominance and importance will weaken. So, Microsoft is not yet irrelevant, but, given the above factors as well as Gartner’s stated opinion, Microsoft is, in fact, becoming less relevant. And that is something with which I can wholeheartedly agree!

The post Is Microsoft Relevant? appeared first on Cloud Sherpas.

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Cloud Sherpas [www.cloudsherpas.com] is a leading Google Apps Reseller, systems integrator and application developer. Our Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists have migrated tens of thousands of users from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps and Google App Engine. We help organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. SherpaTools for Google Apps [www.sherpatools.com] is a free app from Cloud Sherpas that enhances the functionality and ease-of-use of Google Apps for both administrators and end-users.