Caught an article yesterday that Microsoft is breaking up it’s Windows division and moving to spread it across it’s other divisions. On one hand it does make some sense, however I think that the shift will further degrade Microsoft’s hold on the PC market. Don’t get me wrong I am an avid Linux user, primarily running Mint and Manjaro, while occasionally utilizing other distributions, so personally anything to further enhance Linux utilization is a good thing to me. That said it speaks some as to the continued move away from Desktop/Laptop operating systems, the logic being that each year the market from desktop and laptops dwindles some. As the world continues down the path of IoT, Smart phones and tablets the PC world becomes further and further diluted. Sure there will for most likely decades to come be a continued user base in the Corporate and Power User worlds for PCs. I don’t foresee the day were I don’t own at least a couple desktops/laptops anytime soon, if ever. From the 8088 days I have also had some type of desktop/laptop, so well since the beginning of the Personal Computer age. But while my daughter has never known a household without multiple PCs, she has never really shown an interest in them to any extent outside the occasional PC game played with me. She has grown up in a world of smart phones and tablets since she was old enough to old one. And most of her generation is the same way. Outside of using a Chromebook for school, everything she is interested in doing can be done from a mobile device.
Of course there are still a good number of even her generation that have use for a PC. While you can do things like programming, office productivity and video editing from a mobile device, it is hard to beat having a powerful processor, keyboard and mouse for example for those items. Sure you can game on mobile devices and do even more powerful gaming on dedicated consoles, but nothing beats gaming on a med to high end PC. It is those type of things that will keep the PC a must have for many people even for years to come. So I think that Microsoft is somewhat jumping the gun with distributing their Windows division across other divisions. It’s almost like since they failed at garnering any real share of the mobile environment that they believe doubling down and pulling away from what has been for 30+ years their bread and butter, the OS, that they can suddenly compete against Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android market instead of focusing on the market that they already dominate. Once again this is a good thing for us Linux advocates as there has never been a better time to sell people on moving to Linux. Regardless though it has me shaking my head wondering just what Microsoft hopes to really gain from this restructuring, outside playing what they must believe is the long game. However I am not so sure that them playing fully into the long game of trying to move their business from the desktop world to the mobile world is going to gain them even.
Sure Apple and Android device makers could misstep and lose their stranglehold on the market, but at this point it would take some major blunders on Apple and Samsung’s part for this to happen in any major way. In effect it is no different than those times that Apple has tried to step outside their true market place in the PC world. Apple was very lucky to hit the phone market at just the right time and innovate on the front end of the smart phone marketplace. Since then while they have continued to mostly make good moves, they have held back on any real attempts to innovate and let other phone makers take the risk, and only move with redesigns when a product was proven elsewhere, take edge to edge displays for example. At this point that is actually a good thing. They don’t move often on product enhancements that aren’t already field tested by others, allowing them to come in and do the trademark Apple thing of putting old consistently solid products with aesthetically pleasing UI and form factors.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t hurt to attempt new things, however cutting up your breadwinner in hopes of moving into a market where you have yet to truly succeed isn’t the way to do it except in very rare cases. At this point it seems that Microsoft is hedging their bets on such a move, yet doesn’t seem to really know where to place the chips. It will be interesting to see where it takes them, but I think it is a very huge risk for a company that has already made some costly miscalculations. If Microsoft isn’t careful it is steps could come back and bite them hard. It wouldn’t take too many missteps to really start to lose more of the OS market to Linux. It wouldn’t take too many more to lose out to other open source products either. As I earlier stated over the past couple of years it has become drastically more easy to replace Windows with Linux. No longer is that just the case in the server environment but also the desktop environment. This holds true as well for other MS products like SQL Server.
Either way it should be very interesting to see how this change will change the PC marketplace for years to come.