News Analysis: Google Android and Apple's iOS and Mac OS X may get all the attention, but it's Microsoft Windows that still matters the most. The latest version, Windows 8, is already in development.
Looking around the operating system industry right now, IT professionals and everyday consumers will find a host of platforms from which to choose. Linux and Apple's Mac OS X are favorites among some on desktop and laptop users, while Google's Android and that other Apple operating system-iOS-are scoring major points with mobile customers interested in tablets and smartphones.
However, when it comes to operating systems, it's Microsoft's Windows that people know best of all.
It's for good reason.
Windows has long been the most dominant operating system in the world. Microsoft's latest release, Windows 7, is helping to keep that going, and the software giant already has its eyes set on all sorts of form factors
, including tablets, with Windows 8, which is being previewed for developers at the BUILD conference all this week. At this point in the product's lifecycle, it appears that Windows is still very much at the top of its game. And the chances of it losing steam anytime soon seem slim.
And yet, it receives far less attention than it should. Android and iOS are all the rage right now
, thanks to the growing demand for both smartphones and tablets. There are even some analysts who believe Chrome OS, Google's other operating system, could eventually make a significant dent in Windows' market share. But all this fails to realize the importance of Windows, and the fact that, like it or not, it's still the most important software platform in the world.
Here are 10 reasons why Microsoft Windows still matters and why the operating system will continue its dominance within the tech world.
1. It's the way the enterprise wants it
Microsoft's power in the operating system market is only possible because of the enterprise. All over the world, companies are deploying Windows computers, and in the process, making their employees more comfortable with the operating system. So when those employees go home, they buy Windows PCs, as well. Until any other operating system can work its way into the corporate world, there will be no stopping Windows.
2. Look at the installed base
It's hard to find any other operating system that matters more than Windows if one considers the sheer number of people who use Microsoft's operating system around the world. Although it's difficult to pinpoint an exact number of people who use Windows, consider that, according to data from NetMarketShare, Windows has 86.58 percent OS market share. Mac OS X comes in at 5.62 percent, followed by iOS with 3.38 percent. Android has 1.02 percent share, according to the firm. If that doesn't say everything about Windows, what does?
3. No other OS can come close in usability
Android and iOS are undoubtedly the top platforms in the mobile space, but when it comes to comparing them to Windows, there's no contest. Windows is simply the most usable and capable operating system on the market
, beating all mobile platforms, as well as Mac OS X and Linux. And with Windows 7 Ultimate, offering a virtual version of Windows XP, it's hard to find many products that won't work with it.