Is Microsoft Actually in Third Place in Computing Devices?

A new report from Goldman Sachs and IDC makes the argument that when the unit of measurement is computing devices, Microsoft is actually in third place, behind Google and Apple.

As seen in the chart below, computing devices includes not only PCs and notebooks, but also smartphones and tablets, which have flooded markets worldwide since the launch of the iPad.

Goldman Sachs/IDC estimate that in 2012, while Google (via Android) accounted for 42% of all computing devices and Apple (on all platforms) for 24%, Microsoft cornered only 20% of this generalize market.

They explain it as follows;

“The compute landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade with consumers responsible for the massive market realignment. While PCs were the primary Internet connected device in 2000 (139mn shipped that year), today they represent just 29% of all Internet connected devices (1.2bn devices to ship in 2012), while smartphones and tablets comprise 66% of the total.

Further, although Microsoft was the leading OS provider for compute devices in 2000 at 97% share, today the consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share… “

Moreover, Goldman Sachs sees Microsoft remaining in third place through 2016, with only 26% of the market at that time, in contrast to Google’s 39% and Apple’s 29%.

Of course, Windows still dominates on the desktop and in the enterprise, so it is important to think through what this really means for Microsoft.

What it should mean is that rather than risk an opening for its competitors, Microsoft must take the battle to them in the smartphone and tablet arena as it is doing.

Given that the Surface (and Surface Pro) are likely to be the top selling Windows 8 devices in the short- to medium-term, Microsoft cannot lose by launching their own smartphone too. They should do this with no delay. Sometimes, you just have to do things yourself.

What else do you think Microsoft should do, given this new “computing devices” perspective?


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