It looks like Windows 8 won’t have much of a competition from rival operating systems, both traditional and emerging OSes, since the Windows platform is expected to continue its dominance through this year, and most probably the next few years as well.
Gartner is forecasting that Microsoft will sell approximately 635 million new Windows 7 PCs
worldwide since Windows Vista’s successor was launched.
This year alone, Windows 7 will be featured on no less than 94% of new computers and will climb to an operating system market share of 42%, dethroning Windows XP as the top OS worldwide.
In mid-September 2011 the software giant is expected to deliver the first deep dive into Windows 8, and even to share an early development milestone, or perhaps even the Beta, with early adopters for testing.
Windows 8 will be launched in 2012, and with Windows 7 becoming the top dog on the OS market, is hard to believe that rival platforms will be able to make sufficient inroads in Windows territory to actually matter.
For example, Gartner expects only 5.2% of all computer shipments in 2015 to be Apple Macs, up from 4.5% in 2011, and 4% in 2010.
"The adoption of Mac PCs and Mac OS is a result of Apple's ability to grow well above the market average in the last 12 to 24 months, thanks to its ease of use from the user interface (UI) point of view and ease of integration with other Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and the existing Apple ecosystem of applications and programs," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner.
The open source Linux operating system will most likely be affected by a continued stagnation as far as market share evolution is concerned, Gartner opined.
“Linux OS is expected to remain niche over the next five years with its share below 2 percent because of the remaining high costs of application migration from Windows to Linux. 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 mini-notebooks are preloaded with it today,” the company said.
In addition, it also appears that new operating systems such as those from Google, Chrome OS and Android, or HP’s webOS, are not likely to win over territory from Windows on PCs in the next few years.
“Gartner does not expect Chrome OS, Android or webOS to get any significant market share on PCs in the next few years. Analysts believe that to get any consideration as an alternative for a traditional PC, lighter OSs will first need to get strong positions on emerging client devices such as Web books and media tablets,” the company added.
“Even then, it is unlikely that they will have any impact on Microsoft and Windows OS's hold on positions on traditional professional PCs in the time frame of the current forecast. This is because of application compatibility issues and the high proportion of Windows-specific applications within many enterprises.”