Gartner Believes Microsoft Could Be Irrelevant By 2017

The thing about dominance is that just like it begins it can so easily end. Intensely competitive products from Apple and Google are landing severe blows, leading some to believe Microsoft’s best days are behind it.

Gartner has published a new forecast today, saying that unless Microsoft makes some worthy ground in the key tablet and smartphone market in the next few years, it could soon find itself become irrelevant. Yup, just like that.

Back in 2005, Microsoft’s Windows operating system was installed on more than 97 percent of devices, but voices have been growing that the technology titan is very likely to experience a dramatic decline in the coming years.

Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst says that Microsoft’s share of the overall computing market is very likely to drop to 14 percent by as early as 2017:

“You need to own consumers in terms of mobile and tablet in order to remain relevant in this market. Consumers have options and consumers are choosing. Microsoft cannot take that for granted that they’ll be the one to be chosen.”

The analyst believes that competition in the PC, tablet and smartphone market is getting fiercer with the passage of time, and users are no longer limited to Windows now. There are several full-featured alternatives on the Linux and Mac platforms that are user-friendly as well as more affordable.

The research firm predicts that by 2017 the shipments of Android devices will outnumber any other operating system on the market.

In fact, just by the end of next year we will see Android on more than one billion devices. And it does not stop here. This shift in consumer preference will cause developers to focus their efforts on these competing platforms.

Of course, this is just an analyst forecast. How things will play out in the real world remains to be seen. Microsoft is working hard to unify the experience of its products and services, and the upcoming Windows Blue upgrade looks set to improve the experience introduced with Windows 8.

Time will tell whether that is enough.

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