Imagine this future headline: Mac and iOS Beat Windows and then take it all in.
Eight years ago, there were 54 Microsoft Windows users for every Apple Mac user. However, as Bob Dylan might say, “the times they are a-changin’.”
According to Asymco founder and author Horace Dediu, the number of OS X plus iOS users will equal the number of Windows users by 2013. From there, Microsoft’s lead over Apple, which many once viewed as being insurmountable, could actually come to an end.
In his comprehensive report, Dediu states that Microsoft’s domination over Apple actually began to wane before iOS debuted in 2007. It was in 2004 when PC volumes continued to grow, but they did so more slowly than the Mac. The result was a slow but steady erosion of Windows’ lead over OS X.
As a result:
The consequences are dire for Microsoft. The wiping out of any platform advantage around Windows will render it vulnerable to direct competition. This is not something it had to worry about before. Windows will have to compete not only for users, but for developer talent, investment by enterprises and the implicit goodwill it has had for more than a decade.
I cannot say that I’m surprised by this news, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t significant. This is especially true for those of us that were alive when Apple’s chance of survival as a company was very low.
After all, as anyone who read “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson can recognize, Apple beating Microsoft was never something the late Apple CEO aimed to do. In fact, recall that in 1997, it was Microsoft that threw Apple a lifeline (to the tune of $150 million) just to help Apple survive.
Now, just 15 years later, it is Microsoft that is on the ropes.
This doesn’t mean Microsoft is through, of course. The Redmond, Washington company will still heavily dominate the overall desktop and laptop OS market. And who knows, maybe the company’s new Surface project will take off too. However, until Microsoft finds a way to break into the “post-PC” world that Jobs once talked about, their problems will likely continue to the benefit of that little company in Cupertino, California.
Will Microsoft recover or are their best days behind them?