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Windows 7 will dominate by year’s end, Gartner says

Aug 9, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Windows 7 will become the world's most-installed PC operating system by the end of this year, according to a Gartner forecast that sees Linux rising to just 2 percent of desktop share in five years. Meanwhile, Windows is also popular as a development environment, a field in which Linux has slipped to third place behind Mac OS, says Evans Data.

Gartner's Aug. 9 forecast suggests great things are in store for Windows during 2011. But other statements made by the research firm hint that the year could see what amounts to a high water mark for Redmond's well-known operating system.

According to Gartner, 94 percent of new PCs will be shipped with Windows 7 in 2011. By the end of the year, Windows 7 will become the leading operating system (OS) worldwide in the PC installed base, running on 42 percent of PCs in use, the firm predicts.

Annette Jump, research director at Gartner, said, "By the end of 2011, nearly 635 million new PCs worldwide are expected to be shipped with Windows 7. Many enterprises have been planning their deployment of Windows 7 for the last 12 to 18 months, and are now moving rapidly."

But, the firm further stated, its forecast "assumes that Windows 7 is likely to be the last version of Microsoft OS that gets deployed to everybody through big corporate-wide migration. In the future, many organizations will also use alternative client computing architectures for standard PCs with Windows OS, and move toward virtualization and cloud computing in the next five years."

In 2012, Gartner says, the market will reach the point of crossover between Windows-specific and OS-agnostic applications for enterprises, as 50 percent of the applications will be OS-agnostic. In the consumer space, there are already more OS-agnostic applications than Windows-specific applications, the firm adds, noting "This could help Chrome OS and Android make inroads into the consumer space in the next three to five years."

Windows is safe — for now

Despite the above, lighter operating systems based on Linux, including Chrome OS, Android, or WebOS, are not likely to get much consideration on traditional professional PCs during the next five years, Gartner adds. This is because of "application compatibility issues and the high proportion of Windows-specific applications within many enterprises."

Linux, too, is "expected to remain niche over the next five years with its share below two percent, because of the remaining high costs of application migration from Windows to Linux." Gartner adds that in the consumer market, Linux will be run on less than 1 percent of PCs, as Linux's success with mini-notebooks was short-lived and few are preloaded with it today.

Apple's Mac OS continues to grow, however, especially in mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe. Gartner says Mac OS was shipped on 4 percent of new PCs worldwide in 2010 versus 3.3 percent in 2008. Its share will grow to 4.5 percent of PCs by the end of the year, and to 5.2 percent of new PCs in 2015, the research firm predicts.

According to a recent Net Applications analysis, Windows XP occupied some 49.69 percent of the operating system market in July, followed by Windows 7 with 27.92 percent, Windows Vista with 9.27 percent, and Mac OS X 10.6 with 3.76 percent.

Those figures were echoed by StatCounter, whose July 2011 figures gave Windows XP some 44.4 percent of the market, followed by Windows 7 with 35.94 percent, Windows Vista with 11.02 percent and Mac OS X with 6.31 percent.

Microsoft says it has sold more than 400 million Windows 7 licenses since the operating system's October 2009 release.

North America's most popular development environment

Windows safely retains its status as a popular development environment, according to Evans Data. More than 80 percent of North American developers are using it, the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based research firm says.

Evans adds that Linux has now slipped to third place, with only 5.6 percent of developers using it as their primary development platform. Apple's Mac OS has taken second place, being employed by 7.9 percent of developers, the firm adds.

Mac OS has not, however, displaced Linux as a development target. More than twice as many developers primarily target Linux as they do the Mac, according to Evans.

Other highlights from the research firm's "comprehensive survey of over 400 professional software developers in North America," conducted in June 2011, are said to include the following:

  • Developers believe mobile and cloud development will increase the most in importance over the next three years, followed distantly by open source and plug-in architecture, while the DevOps phenomenon will be least important.
  • Adobe's BlazeDS is being well received in North America, with over a third of developers using or expecting to use it.
  • Almost half (47.3 percent) of North American developers use or expect to use Java ME.

Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp, stated, "Apple has made tremendous strides in the last few years with innovative products and technologies, so it's quite reasonable to see developers adopting the Mac and its OS as a development environment. Windows firmly remains king, but developers are obviously attracted to Apple's devices, while at the same time Linux has lost some of its luster after years of only single-digit adoption."

Further information

According to Gartner, more information on PC operating system shares is available in the report "Forecast Analysis: PC OS Market, Worldwide, 2008-2015, 2011 Update," which costs $1,295. Meanwhile, a table of contents for Evans Data's "North American Development Survey 2011 v. 1," whose cost was not provided, may be found on the research firm's website.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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