Why Windows Won't Always Dominate

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Microsoft's domination of the client operating systems market will fade over the next few years, according to Avneesh Saxena, vice-president for Asia-Pacific computing systems research at IDC.

Microsoft currently has around 90 percent share of the client operating system market with Windows, and while its dominance of the desktop client OS market is expected to continue, the proliferation of new client devices such as smart phones and PDAs means that its share of the overall client OS market will fall to 58 percent by 2007, Saxena said at the IDC Directions conference in Singapore this week.

"Operating systems are not going away and we're not going to one single platform," he says. "Different workloads tend to have a strong affinity to different platforms and while there will be swaps among the operating systems, no one OS will dominate completely."

By 2007, Windows on PCs will account for 58 percent of the client operating system market, with the Symbian OS for communication devices taking 17 percent, according to IDC figures.

Going Mobile

Only smart mobile phones with the ability to run applications are considered to have true operating systems, in IDC's definition. Windows for communication devices will account for 6 percent of the market and Linux for digital video recorders will account for 5 percent, Saxena says.

The server market will also remain mixed, with variants of Unix accounting for 36 percent, Windows for 35 percent, and Linux for 15 percent, he says.

The wide range of devices being used in enterprise by IT systems will create major problems of complexity for ITT managers in future, Saxena says.

"Complexity will rise phenomenally in the next few years," he says. "By 2012, data transmission to the center [from client devices] will account for about 45 percent of traffic and there will be billions of embedded devices."

These changes are being driven by four main business imperatives--the need for faster access to information, greater efficiencies, reduced costs, and improved collaboration with partners.

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