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