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Is Windows Share Really Slipping?

Windows has long had remarkable market share, well over 90 percent for most of its mature life. Now Forrester says that share is down to just 30 percent. So what took over? The Mac, Linux, some new-fangled PC OS? No, it is all smartphones.

This kind of math makes for a good headline, but is horrible research. A smartphone is not a PC, nor is a tablet (unless it's a Surface).

A PC is a multifunction computer capable of handling work computing tasks, documents, content creation and editing, communication and fundamental corporate computing. Phones and tablets do some of this, and are used for corporate computing on no more than a part-time basis.

I'd venture that Forrester did not craft its surveys on a tablet, crushed numbers on a smartphone version of Excel and wrote the report on a Kindle.

When you talk about Windows market share, please talk about PCs. When you talk about phones please talk about phones. And when you talk about tablets, stick to tablets.  

Instead Forrester considers almost anything with a processor and screen a personal computing device.

Yes, the computer industry is changing and new mobile OSes are challengers for Windows. But to get it all straight requires a more subtle analysis rather than tossing apples (mobile devices) and oranges (PCs) into one big mush.

Am I too hard on the number crunchers at Forrester or are they fundamentally misunderstanding what Windows market share is all about? Feel free to agree or disagree at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/02/2012 at 1:19 PM


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