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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

December 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Goldman Sachs: Microsoft has gone from 97 percent share of compute market to 20 percent

Goldman Sachs has a new report out on the tech titans’ competing platforms and ecosystems in which it starkly quantifies Microsoft’s loss of share among computing devices over the last decade.

According to the report, Microsoft’s operating systems have gone from 97 percent of all computing devices in 2000 — back when desktop and laptop PCs were dominant — to 20 percent expected in 2012 — when PCs, tablets and smartphones are all part of the computing-device picture.

Here’s a chart from the report showing part of that shift. (The chart shows consumer computing devices, rather than total computing devices — which includes both consumer and commercial. That’s why Microsoft is shown is having 93 percent in 2000 in the chart, as opposed to 97 percent.)


[Update 12:58 p.m.: I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame — as seen in the above chart — that made Apple’s vendor share jump, Microsoft’s share plummet and the “other” category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.]

These days, the Goldman Sachs report says, the consumer compute market is led by Android at 42 percent share and Apple at 24 percent share. Microsoft has 20 percent of the consumer compute market.

Goldman Sachs views Microsoft’s launches of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 this year, and their performance in the upcoming year, as critical if the company wants to expand its share of the consumer compute market, which is also becoming increasingly influential in the business market, as consumers bring their own computing devices to work, influecing workplace adoption of those devices.

Goldman Sachs believes that tablets will “move into more of an anchor position,” influencing people to buy smartphones within the same ecosystem.

“If left without a meaningful competitor in tablets, we believe Apple’s dominant share of tablets will act as an anchor that pulls its smartphone share (estimated at 18% in CY13) steadily upward over time,” according to the Goldman Sachs report. That’s why “a credible tablet becomes a strategic imperative for Google or it runs the risk of platform defection resulting in a steady decline of Android smartphone share (estimated to be 55% in 2012) starting in CY13.”

The Goldman Sachs report also has these thoughts on Microsoft:

  • “Microsoft faces an uphill battle (though not insurmountable) given it lacks meaningful share in either tablets or smartphones and as such will need to rely on its appeal to knowledge workers to help drive adoption as its complement ecosystem will remain behind the iOS and Android platforms at least over the next 6-12 months.”
  • “Nevertheless, we are optimistic that Microsoft will be able to regain some share in coming years assuming that adoption trends around the company’s newly launched tablet and smartphone operating systems are positive.”
  • Goldman Sachs sees Smart TVs as “the next potential catalyst for disrupting current market dynamics,” with devices such as Xbox, Apple TV, Google TV and Roku boxes. “We would expect the launch of Xbox720 in 2H13 to take gaming and streaming content to another level and for online communication to be enhanced by leveraging assets acquired by Skype. “
  • Goldman Sachs analysts are forecasting that the consumer PC market will be flat in 2013. “Of note, we estimate that Microsoft would have to sell roughly 5 Windows Phones or roughly two Windows 8 RT tablets to offset the loss of one traditional Windows PC sale. … With 2013 being a critical period of adoption for the company, we expect the shares to stay relatively range bound near-term, and then, based on the adoption of its new compute SKUs, we would expect heightened volatility post a conclusion on whether Microsoft will be a true competitive platform to current compute leader Apple.”

All that said, Goldman Sachs concluded in the report that it’s still early days in the battle of computing ecosystems. It believes “there will ultimately be a closed loop between smartphone, tablets and other devices, such as TVs, that will keep users tied to an ecosystem,” but it’s still too early to tell who the ultimate victor will be.



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