Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

Summary: Many of us see personal technology moving from Windows PCs to Android smartphones, Apple iPads and other tablets, but has it actually already happened?

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According to Download.com, Windows is failing fast.

According to Download.com, Windows is failing fast.

When I look into my technology crystal ball, I see people moving from desktops to smartphones and tablets. I'm not the only one who sees a post-PC world coming. What I didn't expect was to find proof that desktop Windows was already a dead technology walking.

Over at ZDNet's sister site, CNet, they recently reported on 15-years of Download.com. I expected this to be little more than a nice historical walk down a popular site's past. Well, it is that, but it's also contains lots of bad news for Windows users.

You see, in 1996, when Download.com was founded, 89.5% of its downloads were Windows programs. Would you care to guess what the percentage of Windows downloads are in 2011? It's a mere 28%.

Wow.

Today, 67.5% of Download.com's downloads are mobile applications. Think about that. Even with Apple's App Store and Android's Market getting the vast majority of mobile downloads since they're built into iPhones, iPads and Android devices, people are still downloading more than twice as many mobile apps than they are Windows programs from Download.com.

Look still closer. What applications are Windows users downloading? In the top ten list, four of the most popular programs are anti-malware programs and one is a Windows clean-up program. That tells me that when people are downloading for Windows the odds are they're doing it to try to keep Windows bug-free and functional.

This does not bode well. Suddenly I understand why Microsoft is taking what I consider to be a foolish attempt to retro-fit Windows, via Metro, into a do-it-all PC, smartphone, and tablet platform: Windows 8. Microsoft has no choice. Traditional Windows isn't going to decline in the future. It's already lost its hold on users to smartphones and tablets.

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Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Tablets, Windows

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108 comments
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  • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

    Gee lets use statistics in a 15 year time span and conveniently only use Windows PCs in the title when the statistics show a decline in MacOS platforms as well.

    Seeing as in 1996 the Mobile App was not even really a thing yet why would you use that as your start date. Why not something like 2004-05 when Mobile Apps really began taking form?

    Of course there has a been a shift to a more mobile platform use in the last 15 years. I guess I could have summed up this post with simply saying "DUH"!

    I think you just wrote this blog in another attempt to bash Microsoft and Windows and once again you fail miserably.
    bobiroc
    • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

      @bobiroc If you actually look at the stats, it clearly says the amount of Apps listed on downloaded. Download.com can't tell you how many times Angry Birds from the iOS App store has been downloaded. The graph actually shows that 67.5% of the apps LISTED on download.com are mobile apps.<br>By his Logic, if Windows is Dead, MAC is deader, Linux(which didn't make the list) is deadest.
      rwalrond
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @rwalrond
        >>By his Logic, if Windows is Dead, MAC is deader, Linux(which didn't make the list) is deadest.

        :D
        Ram U
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @rwalrond and ramia.net

        Except Android uses the Linux kernel - go figure.
        BanjoPaterson
      • Have Linux PCs already fallen to smartphones and tablets?

        @Rama.NET

        Could be why Linux didn't make the list - I have a feeling that the cemeteries are already full of dead and burried Linux PCs. ;)
        William Farrell
      • Linux is off the charts

        "...Linux(which didn't make the list) is deadest."

        Ah, well, may it is and maybe it isn't.

        Can't prove either case with these numbers because the thousands of Linux apps are downloaded from other repositories, not Download.com.
        Dogcatcher
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @William Farrell
        >>Could be why Linux didn't make the list - I have a feeling that the cemeteries are already full of dead and burried Linux PCs.

        LOL. :D
        Ram U
        • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

          @BanjoPaterson<br>There is a 1000 mile stretch at least between "Using Linux" and "Using Linux Kernel". Go figure. If we take your statement as the basis saying Windows Phone 7 has a lot of user base is also valid because Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile and a lot of POS systems, barcode scanners, Healthcare systems use Windows CE as kernel. And of course you could say a lot of routers use Linux. Given that fact, could you run sopisticated software that we run on any type of PC (could be Linux, OSX or Windows it doesnt matter) as equally well on realtime devices such as routers, POS terminals, barcode scanners etc. Go Figure, you will know the answer.
          Ram U
      • Ya, your pointing out some obvious issues.

        @rwalrond

        Its guys like these authors who just either don't get why statistically based conclusions are always so problematic, or worse yet they simply do not care.

        True statisticians will tell you that predicting something like this based on statistics of this type is dangerous unless you do LOTS of research on many statistics that come into play and fully explore all the related issues that may be involved in creating the situation.

        People who have even a basic understanding about the problems involved with relying on an incredibly weak statistical number to make an argument like this will tell you that these people are not predicting anything.

        One old comparison is the story of they guy who looks outside at his neighbors house every day and when its sunny out the front window is wide open, when it rains its closed. His conclusion? When my neighbor closes his front window it makes it rain.

        We know thats stupid and wrong and we shouldn't let this very same kind of conclusion in this article have any more weight to it because its clear no other issues, possibilities or even simple realities were taken into account and resolved before coming to this weird conclusion.

        Its very bad math. To say the least.
        Cayble
      • Good news, @bobiroc!

        http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/25/8482818-windows-xp-turns-10-still-thrives

        Read it and weep.

        lol...
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @rwalrond
        And I'd like to add: Apps-Smapps?? Who cares about apps that waste most of peoples time. Frog, Dead Frog, Frogger, Rotten Frogger! Who Cares???
        eargasm
      • What's popular?

        It seems to me that the 20 top downloads listed are all Windows apps.
        Bill Weisgerber
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @Will Farrell @Rama

        I went to the site and looked. It shows no Linux downloads because it has no Linux software. If I go to Red Hat, I find a lot of Linux software, and no Windows or Apple software.

        This doesn't mean that there is no Linux software being downloaded. It also doesn't mean that there is no Windows software being downloaded.

        What it does mean is that business only sell things that they sell.

        Big woop.

        This really tells us nothing. All it means is that CNet downloads apps for Windows and Mac. The new figures also show that they download some phone software too. They don't do any downloads for things that they don't download.

        If you two trolls can't figure this out, then your previous responders are right, you really are dumber than rocks.
        YetAnotherBob
    • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

      @bobiroc <br><br>I'm sure SJVN has no need of PCs, but for the rest of us with real jobs, the idea of using a phone or a tablet to do the task with more difficulty and less efficiency is frowned upon.<br><br>However, since SJVN seems to only produce short, speculative columns, he may be able to move to a phone <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"><br><br>Also one thing is guaranteed, MS has devoted a lot more intelligence, research and design to Win 8 than SJVN could ever hope to achieve, so forgive me if I go with MS for their "foolish attempt" rather than his opinion.
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @tonymcs@...
        Agreed and not only should it be 'frowned upon', it is just downright stupid.....
        12312332123
      • I know. Who's running a multi-billion dollar business

        @tonymcs@...
        and who has a website that looks like it costs him $9 a month to maintain. ;)
        William Farrell
    • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

      @bobiroc
      I agree. Also, most PCs now come loaded with many programs, making it unnecessary to download them. And smart phones, tablets need apps, so naturally there is more downloading of apps. Then, I've never heard of download.com because I've found other download sites to get programs that I might want. This is a report that wouldn't pass a grade school test because it's so flawed.
      runnut1@...
    • SJVN draws out the usual Windows fanboys

      And I can see the usual indignant suspects are here already.

      ;)
      ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @ScorpioBlue
        Glad to see ya back Donnieboy!
        eargasm
      • RE: Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

        @windozefreak
        Gimmie a high five, freak!<br><br>lol... :D
        ScorpioBlue