We all know that Windows dominates the OS market in terms of market share, but rarely do you see someone talk about the most important number in the OS wars, revenue. Today Gartner offered up its estimations on the various OS player’s, and the results put Microsoft in a dominant lead, with $8 out of every $10 spent on operating systems ending up in the companies coffers. The results, which include server products, give the Redmond based software giant a 78.6% share of the pie, with Apple scraping by on a mere 1.7 percent. When you consider that in 2010 the OS market was worth $30.4 billion, the stakes here are definitely worth pay attention to.
The sky isn't falling, the world isn't about to end, and PCs aren't dying. Why, then, is market research firm Gartner bugging out? Call it an overreaction or a temporary blip as tablets settle into the marketplace (or a little of both), but according to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 1.1 percent slip from the same period one year ago. Doesn't sound like much, but Gartner says the shipment results are indicative of a potential sluggishness, not just a normal seasonal dip.
Research firm Gartner fanned the flames of anti-PC fanboism by essentially declaring that mobile PCs are dead. To be fair, Gartner didn't actually say as much in so many words, but it sure did paint a pretty grim picture for the future of notebooks and netbooks, which Gartner predicts will have a tough time competing with tablets. Listening to Gartner, you'd think that by this time next year, we're all going to be a bunch of iPad and iPhone toting hipsters too cool for for PCs. More blasphemy after the break.
Disney just let go of 200 employees, most of which had been dedicated to the company's console gaming business, in an effort to put more focus on the mobile market and it's easy to see why. According to market research firm Gartner, mobile app store revenue is only forecast to grow 1,000 percent to $58 billion between 2010 and 2014.
That's a lot of pieces of eight, more than a quarter of which will come in 2011. By the end of this year, Gartner figures app store revenue to add up to $15 billion on 17.7 billion downloads, a 117 percent increase from 8.2 billion downloads in 2010.
"Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so," said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. "We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more personal and richer experience to the 'vanilla' experience that a Web-based app will deliver."
We don't doubt Gartner's prediction. The granddaddy of them all -- Apple's App Store -- just topped 10 billion downloads with a catalog of more than 350,000 apps, and the Android Market is growing at a fast clip as well. Throw in increasingly powerful smartphones and the emerging tablet market, and it's easy to envision the kind of Skrilla Gartner's crystal ball reveals.
Recession smession -- according to market research firm Gartner, worldwide semiconductor revenue hit an all time high in 2010, "reaching a landmark $300.3 billion." That's up a whopping 31.5 percent from 2009, Gartner notes.
"In 2010, the semiconductor market was driven by pent-up demand as system makers scrambled against depleted inventories to obtain parts," said Stephan Ohr, semiconductor research director at Gartner. "Manufacturers — both integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and foundries — scrambled to put new capacity in place. With slowing demand and a weakening consumer confidence in the third quarter, lead times are coming down and inventories are slowly starting to build. Still, semiconductor vendors are working on fulfilling backlog orders, and 2010 will go on record as a banner year for the semiconductor industry."
As usual, Intel clung to the top spot, the 19th consecutive year the chip maker has done so, and despite losing a tiny bit of share in 2010. Intel now claims 13.8 percent of the semiconductor market, down from 14.2 percent in 2009, but still ahead of Samung, which now holds a 9.4 percent.
It looks as though the recent price war that erupted in the eBook reader market has been doing the segment a world of good. According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide connected eReader sales will add up to 6.6 million units by the end of the year, nearly an eight-fold increase from one year ago.
""The connected e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by sales of Amazon's e-readers, primarily in North America. This is the dominant region for e-reader sales, and we predict that it will account for sales of just over 4 million units in 2010," said Hugues De La Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner. North America will remain a key market through 2014, although its dominance will decline significantly as regions such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific become the leading locations for growth. Growth in North American and other markets will remain constrained by the success of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad."
Gartner defines an eReader device as any portable gadget that uses E-Ink, e-paper, or similar display technology, and says that they're "at risk of commodization due to developments in adjacent markets, such as those for media tablets." And while Gartner notes eReaders have "carved out a solid niche" in large part because of their portability and battery life, the research firm maintains that "cannibalization by media tablets represents the biggest threat to eReaders."
Samsung played its cards right by making its Galaxy S smartphone available to all major carriers, something we wish more manufacturers would do. Maybe now they will. According to market research firm Gartner, Samsung is now the top Android smartphone provider in the U.S.
Thanks to the Galaxy S, Samsung was able to capture 32.1 percent of the U.S. Android market in the third quarter of 2010 based on retail sales. That's up 9.2 percent from one quarter ago. The Galaxy S, which is available with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and Cellular South, recently surpassed the three million shipment mark.
Perhaps what's most impressive about this is that Samsung's strategy propelled the company past HTC, makers of the first Android smartphone (T-Mobile's G1) as well as a bevy of Android devices since then.
Google's Android platform took a bite out of Apple -- and Symbian -- during the third quarter of 2010 in terms of global smartphone sales, according to market research firm Gartner.
With 20.5 million Android units sold in Q3, Android jumped into second place for the quarter with a 25.5 percent share of the smartphone market. Symbian maintained its position at the top with nearly 29.5 million units sold and a 36.6 percent market share, while iOS sat in third place place with around 13.5 million units and a 16.7 percent chunk of the smartphone pie.
"Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Any platform that fails to innovate quickly — either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity — will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users."
Innovation hasn't been a problem for Google, which continues to update its Android platform at a breakneck pace. On top of it all, the Android Market has come into its own with nearly 100,000 apps and over 2 billion downloads to date, according to AndroLib.com.
With so many tablets on the horizon -- think several dozen -- it's a bit premature to anoint Apple's iPad as the go-to device. Nevertheless, market research firm Gartner is encouraging CEOs to take the iPad seriously as a business tool.
"It is usually not the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple's iPad is an exception," said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president. "It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about if they have not already done so."
According to Gartner, tablet sales will reach 19.5 million units by the end of 2010, most of which will belong to the iPad. In 2011, that number will jump to 54.8 million, and surpass 208 million in 2014.
"Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them," said Mr. Prentice. "While some IT departments will say they are a 'Windows shop,' and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organizations need to recognize that there are soft benefits in a devices of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity."
Gartner called the iPad an iconic device that's currently redefining the market, and advises CEOs to act sooner rather than later.
"While there are no certainties, the iPad looks to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it," Prentice says.
In the long run, Microsoft didn't do itself any favors by releasing Internet Explorer 6 as a non-standard browser. Now all those companies who were forced to develop apps specific to the nine-year-old browser are struggling to migrate to Windows 7, according to market research firm Gartner.
Even worse for these companies is that Microsoft doesn't seem all that interested in fixing a problem it created, instead hoping to sweep IE6 under the rug.
"Microsoft would rather put the non-standard browser technology behind it," said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner. "Microsoft needs to explore all avenues that could ease the transitions away from IE6."
Here's the problem. Businesses still clinging to IE6 told Gartner that 40 percent of their browser-depending apps don't work with IE8, which comes baked into Windows 7. Fixing these apps to run in IE8 takes a sizable investment, both in time and money, and temporary workarounds all carry downsides. Probably the most promising is to use application virtualization tools, but as far as Microsoft is concerned, that's a violation of licensing agreements.
"It's ironic that Microsoft would oppose methods that would help organizations accelerate the move to Windows 7," Silver said. "Microsoft must do more to help organizations with their IE6 problems that Microsoft helped create."