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Microsoft's 'big opportunity' to goose device share stalls before it gets started

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 17, 2014
Gartner's revised forecast has Windows at 14% in '14, same as last year, with only a small increase for '15.

Gartner's forecast pushes out that timetable, given that Windows next year will be far from even Turner's first step to 18%.

The problems Microsoft faces remain the same. Traditional PC shipments will continue to decline; Gartner forecast a drop in shipments of 7% this year and 6% in 2015. All the growth in what could generously be called "PCs" is in what the research company calls "ultramobile premium" systems -- top-priced lightweight laptops and premium 2-in-1s like Microsoft's Surface Pro -- which will post increases of 75% in 2014 and 71% in 2015. But Windows does not account for all those devices.

And Windows has flailed at smartphones and made only small inroads into the tablet market.

Windows wasn't the only platform Gartner said would grow slower than it believed in July, when it last issued a forecast: Apple's iOS and OS X combined number was also downgraded.

For 2014 and 2015, Gartner now forecasts that iOS/OS X will power 263 million devices this year, down from the 271.1 million it estimated in July, and 295.2 million in 2015, off from the earlier 301.3 million estimate. Those figures would result in year-over-year growth rates of 11.4% and 12.2%, respectively.

Android will take up the slack, said Gartner, which predicted Google's mobile operating system will become even more pervasive, with shares that in the political world would represent landslides.

Where three months ago Gartner projected that Android device shipments would grow by 30% and 17.3% in 2014 and 2015, today it modified those estimates to 38.1% and 17.2%, respectively. Gartner has now pegged total Android device shipments for 2014 and 2015 at 1.24 billion and 1.46 billion, up from previous bets of 1.17 billion and 1.37 billion, enough to account for 51.5% (2014) and 57.4% (2015) of all devices.


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