At the desktop, it's still very much a Windows world, for now

Survey of 13,000 developers confirms Microsoft's continued dominance, but sees shifts looming.

Ninety-one percent of the desktop PCs in the world run Windows -- as has been the case for years. But the world is changing rapidly, as is the definition of a "personal computer."

That's the finding of a recent survey of more than 13,000 developers, published by VisionMobile. (In our previous post, we explored findings that showed a surprisingly slow pace of public cloud adoption by developers.)

Non-Microsoft platforms may have the lion's share of the mobile device market, but nobody has yet to make a significant dent as a client operating system on desktops. Not Apple with Mac OSX, or Linux. The VisionMobile survey shows three quarters of desktop computers running Windows 7 or earlier, and 16% running Windows 8. Apple's OSX has only 7% of desktops, and two percent are Linux-flavored desktops.

Of course, this is no time for Microsoft to celebrate, and it's clear no one at Redmond is doing so. Industry stats show that PC sales continue to slip, while mobile device shipments continue to surge. This is increasingly being reflected in application demand as well. Gartner goes on to predict overheating demand for mobile-based apps, predicting that by the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations' capacity to deliver them.

Plus, the report's authors -- Bill Ray, Mark Wilcox, and Christina Voskoglou -- warn that Microsoft hasn't developed the same cachet with developers that is seen in the Apple ecosystem. "It's clear that the developer-friendly additions to Windows 8, such as the integrated store and cross-platform development system, have not proved as attractive as Microsoft had hoped," they write. "Attempting to ape the success of Apple's desktop store, and integrate mobile and desktop platforms unto a common user experience, has failed to create a significant developer ecosystem."

Of course, this is a fast changing market as well. Windows 10 is now out in the wild, and Gartner says more people are turning to hybrid devices -- tablets with keyboards added to assume PC form factors. Ray, Wilcox, and Voskoglou predict more integrated development across device types.


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