Can Windows 10 revitalize the PC?

With the introduction of Windows 10 this summer past, Microsoft (and its PC vendors like HP, Inc., Dell, Lenovo, etc.) are hoping for a significant surge in the sales of Windows-based desktops, notebooks, and tablets. However, the results to date have been modest at best.

Microsoft seems to have done a good job with Windows 10:

  • The update process is free (for a year), reasonably easy (for individuals, but not as much for organizations), and somewhat user-friendly. Also, updates are now “continuous”, mimicking the operating system-update policies of competitors Google and Apple. 1
  • Windows 10 is more secure with enhanced security features and improved look/touch login via Windows Hello.
  • There are new, useful features like Cortana (voice-activated assistant) and Edge (Internet browser replacing the old Internet Explorer).
  • Microsoft added built-in apps like Maps, Photos, Groove, Movies & TV, etc.
  • There are many, new, mostly free apps by third-party developers. 2
  • Reset and Refresh have been optimized for SSD drives.3
  • Some of the wrongs with Windows 8 (ie: no Start Menu) are now righted.

Windows is also somewhat of a player in mobile devices with increasing sales in Microsoft Surface (now a $1B business) and Lumina phones (purchased from Nokia), which contributes about $2B quarterly. (Although growing, these sales represent only 3% of the sales of mobile devices worldwide.) 4

These improvements seem to be part of Microsoft’s two-part mission:

  • Have Windows 10 run across as many devices and screens as possible, and
  • Make consumers love Windows 10, rather than just need it.

On the positive side:

  • Microsoft reports that Windows 10 is installed on over 110M devices to date.
  • Gartner predicts that Windows 10 installations will eclipse Windows XP and Windows 7 by 2019.

However, Windows is losing market share (and has been for some time) to other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets; there are over 2B people running Google Android or Apple iOS-based devices compared to about 1.5B running Microsoft Windows. 5

Another troubling trend: Although PC ownership is relatively stable among adults (at about 73%), PC ownership among 18 to 29 year olds dropped from 89% in 2012 to 78% in 2015. (This may change as these younger folk enter the workforce and require a full-sized keyboard and large or multiple monitors.) 6

Basically, Windows 10 is off to a good start, but only time will tell if the Windows franchise will retain its powerhouse status.

References

  1. Windows 10 is here and you can get it for free at Microsoft.com.
  2. 10 (mostly) free must-have Windows 10 apps by Paul Mah at ComputerWorld.
  3. Windows 10: Disk Optimization by Russell Smith at Petri.com.
  4. Microsoft gets hardware foothold as Surface, Lumina sales jump by Nick Statt at CNET on 1/26/2015.
  5. Windows 10 Launch Results: A Success or Fail? in the 7/31/2015 edition of The Gazette Review.
  6. Smartphones, Tablets Take Toll On PC Ownership Among Youth by Joseph Palencher from the November 3, 2015 edition of Twice.