Is Android the new Windows?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | December 3, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Google's operating system is installed on almost three quarters of all mobile devices sold, and these devices are now outselling PCs. But is market dominance where the similarities end?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes




Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

Best Argument: No


Audience Favored: No (54%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

The new Windows

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: The PC is on life support. Sales have flatlined as a result of consumers and enterprise choosing spending their money on new devices such as tablets and smartphones, sending PC OEMs into a tailspin. This shift from the PC to a post-PC world has resulted in an erosion in the dominance of Windows, and in its place mobile platforms have gained both popularity and market share.

When it comes to mobile platforms, Google's Android platform is the runaway leader. Not only is the operating system installed on almost three quarters of all mobile devices sold, these devices are now outselling PCs.

While Microsoft's dominance on the desktop essentially prevented Linux from making any headway in that market, a shift in demand to mobile devices has in a matter of a few years done the impossible -- crushed the PC.

Android is the new Windows.

Very un-Windows-like

Chris Dawson: Microsoft has enjoyed near-monopoly status both in the enterprise and with consumers since the introduction of Windows 3.1 over 20 years ago. The product remains entrenched and has gone through a number of mediocre revisions with lengthy development cycles until Microsoft finally delivered a highly polished and relatively secure OS with Windows 7.

Android, on the other hand, has grown into the dominant mobile operating system after just five short years, relying on the efforts of the open source community and massive backing by Google. Its dominance is hardly a sure thing and certainly doesn't represent a monopoly as Apple's iOS provides serious competition and drives enormous innovation in the mobile space. In fact, the only characteristic it shares with Windows is its ability to run on commodity hardware produced by many OEMs. Rapid release cycles, community development, and open licensing models make Android very un-Windows-like.


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  • Of course NOT!

    So what if 3/4 of mobile devices are Android. They are not PCs.

    Now compare the number Chromebooks (or any Android notebook for that matter) to Windows Notebook PCs and we can talk.

    Compare the number of Android tablets to iPads and we can talk.

    It is way to early to judge the success of Windows Phone 8 against Android smartphones, but if you want to compare iPhone sales to Android, be my quest.

    It is also way too early to compare Windows RT to Android or iOS but it looks promising for Microsoft.

    The other point is that, granted, consumer sales of Windows notebooks, among consumers has flattened out but that is because, by definition, consumers "consume". They are not content creators so a lame task-switching operating system is sufficient. Tablet sales not only represents former Windows notebook owners, it represents current Windows notebook owners and it also represents an entirely new group of consumers - lots of pent-up and previously untapped demand.

    The Android tablet is also attractive for its price-point, but can these extremely inexpensive devices stand-up over the long-haul against more expensive devices from Apple and Mictosoft?

    In the enterprise, the picture is quite different. The enterprise uses Windows personal computers (desktop and notebook) extensively. In economics cycles such as this, the enterprise looks for ways to extend the life-cycle of its devices but it does not stop buying them. Further, enterprise interest in tablets is focused on road-warriors and BYOD devices - not in mainstream mission-critical functions.
    M Wagner
    Reply 8 Votes I'm for No
    • you're arguing the wrong point

      The question is a little unclear to what it is asking and you are arguing the wrong point. If you read the original article from a couple weeks ago that recorded over 400 comments, the suggestion is NOT whether Android is replacing Windows as a desktop operating system but rather is Android's operating practice currently resembling what microsoft did in the 80s and 90s? and to that i say yes.

      Microsoft built an empire by creating an operating system and installing it on various devices provided by various OEMs (HP, Gateway, etc) and dominating sales because their software has its hooks in all the hardware vendors. This is exactly what Android is doing right now (except with HTC, Samsung, LG, etc). In no way is the author saying Android is replacing Windows as a desktop operating system. Just the business practices.
      Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
      • I'm for Yes

        also i voted yes, this says im undecided. silly voting system.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Adrian makes no such connection to previous articles ...

        ... in his opening statement - which was clearly comparing apples-to-oranges. Comparing smartphone sales to tablet sales to notebook sales muddies that waters. He does not take into account anything but numbers of units sold. He might was well compared automobiles to goldfish.
        M Wagner
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
        • Fail!

          Looking back at your comment, you were wrong in so many accounts. RT failed. Windows 8 failed.... Bye bye!
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Yep

        and more so, Linux is the new Windows: Backbone of the internet on servers all the way down to routers, it powers PC's, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Chromebook and others
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • Powers MacOS? That is a certified Unix system.

          Apple uses some open source as it suits them and where they can profit from it, but the core of the OS is Unix.

          the funniest part of all of this is that the government paid for the development of Unix during DARPA and other projects in Universites and private research centers around the country in Nixon's quest to have superior computer technology in the U.S.
          In doing so, SUN was started by taxpayer dollars and McNeally was handed the company with ANTI TRUST Exemption . Hmm..

          so bottom line, no matter who is best or on top or whatever, this Linux you talke about it is 100% based on a system that was paid for by U.S. taxpayers into the Billions upon Billions of dollars. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from American workers so you coudl have your "Free" OS.

          And the same people have the nerve to be angry about Microsoft who did it all on their own from a tiny company to over a billion PCs worldwide, not once getting AT exemption from the Feds nor Funding from taxpayers into the Billions.

          It's pathetic. Linux is THE most expensive OS in the world. I've alive long enough to know that my tax dollars have gone toward paying off that massive bill to have a decent *X.

          the other thing that is very ironic and comical is the system from which Linux was born was created by the largest Monopoly (except maybe standard Oil?) in our country's history, dwarfing any status Microsoft was wrongly tagged with by a Judge who showed he's not even worthy of night court.

          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Ok, then the Blog Title is an Epic Fail.

        Is should be is Google the new Microsoft.
        Not is Android the new Windows.

        And Google is not the new Microsoft, they are far more evil. I don't touch Google because I don't want them owning my data. They get some of it anyway simply because you can't use the internet without passing through their monopoly territory and they feel happy and free to take any of that data they see fit and do whatever they like with it.
        Much like the Bush era Feds.

        That's it, the blog should be: Is Google the New Dubya?
        Vote : YES!!!!
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Of course NOT!

      @M Wagner Chrome OS is NOT Android, not even close. Calling a Chromebook an Android notebook is akin to calling a bicycle a car.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
    • The real Question

      Does Android have the kind of potential Windows has.
      While Android is still in it's infancy, it is evolving faster than any OS on the planet.
      There is not a lot separating the potential of Android and Windows.
      It is just the maturity of software development that separates them.
      Windows has been all things to lots of people for a very long time and Android is becoming that and more.
      They are both very scalable from embedded systems to client/servers.
      They both come in many form factors and Android even more so with the lighter OS.
      While many argue that Android cannot do the heavy lifting, that is only because the application software is not there yet. The hardware is scalable and can do whatever you want.
      Android is fast becoming the new Windows.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided