Microsofts Windows dominance is due mainly to the enterprise. Both big and small companies around the world rely upon Windows to perform essential business tasks. Many of the applications they rely on require Windows. Even better for Microsoft, as employees become more comfortable using Windows in the office, they typically opt to buy a similar machine in the home with the same applications. Without the enterprise, Windows wouldnt be what it is today.
Companies like HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo have practically institutionalized Windows dominance for the foreseeable future because they keep shipping millions of laptops, desktops and netbooks with Windows pre-installed. They realize that Microsofts operating system is what the vast majority of customers want. They also understand that developing their own operating system isnt practical or necessarily the best idea. PC vendors contribute quite heavily to Windows dominance.
Before Apple launched the Mac App Store and started playing nice with developers, Windows was long-established as the preferred operating system platform for independent software vendors. Because of that, both enterprise- and consumer-focused applications relied heavily upon Windows to succeed. The Mac OS X is coming a long way in software compatibility, but considering that so many applications are only on Windows, it will be hard for any other operating system to supplant Microsofts platform as the go-to service for customers around the globe.
Microsoft's Cash Flow
Though it might not be as important as software compatibility, Microsofts huge coffers of cash allow the company to adapt when times are tough. When Microsoft released Windows Vista, there was concern that it would lose significant market share to Apple. But then Microsoft responded with Windows 7 and all that concern was thrown out. Microsofts cash helps the software giant stay a step ahead—and adapt when it must.
Sheer Market Share
As noted, Windows owns 89 percent of the market. Mac OS, the second-placed platform, owns just 5.4 percent of the space. The chances of any operating system making up that huge deficit anytime soon seem slim, to say the least.
The Question of Necessity
As Google prepares to launch Chrome OS, the question of whether or not a new operating system is all that necessary has cropped up again. When Windows launched, there was a need for it in the marketplace. But there is no urgent need for Chrome OS or any other new operating system. Until the market identifies a compelling need, Windows will stay on top.
Luckily for Microsoft, most companies are now focusing their software efforts on the mobile market. Googles Android platform is dominating that space right now, followed closely by Apples iOS platform. However, neither operating system can reach the unit volume Microsoft has amassed with Windows. Those companies focus on the mobile market leaves Microsoft open to continue dominating the PC space. Simply put, the industrys mobile focus is only helping further insulate Windows.
They Keep Launching
As noted in a previous slide, PC vendors are reliant on Microsoft and Windows. But it goes beyond just vendor support. All those companies are now launching dozens of new PC models running Windows every year. The sheer number of PCs launching each day only further helps Microsoft keep a stranglehold in the OS space.
All the Form Factors Are Covered
One of the key reasons for Microsofts success over the years has been its willingness to support different PC form factors. The company has Windows versions not only for desktops and laptops, but also for netbooks and now tablets as well. Those who want to run a tablet PC will find a special version of Windows for that form factor. A mobile version, Windows Phone 7, is available for smartphones. No matter what customers are after, Microsoft offers an option. And that has helped the software giant secure its position in the OS space.
The Competitive Landscape Isn't Dangerous
Mac OS X is a fine operating system, but its designed with consumers in mind. Linux appeals more to a niche audience than Windows. Chrome OS has yet to even officially launch. At this point, the competitive landscape isnt such that Microsoft has much to worry about.