Windows 7 will become the leading PC operating system by the end of 2011, running on 94 percent of new PCs, and 42 percent of all PCs, according to Gartner, Inc. While the industry research company predicts that Apple's Mac OS will be on 4.5 percent of new PCs this year, Gartner says it "does not expect Chrome OS, Android or webOS to get any significant market share on PCs in the next few years".
In a statement, Gartner research director Annette Jump said:
"Steady improvements in IT budgets in 2010 and 2011 are helping to accelerate the deployment of Windows 7 in enterprise markets in the US and Asia/Pacific, where Windows 7 migrations started in large volume from 4Q10. By the end of 2011, nearly 635 million new PCs worldwide are expected to be shipped with Windows 7. Many enterprises have been planning their deployment of Windows 7 for the last 12 to 18 months, and are now moving rapidly to Windows 7."
Previously, Gartner has warned that the Windows 7 migration will create problems for companies left behind on Windows XP, as industry support falls away.
Gartner says Mac OS X's market share of new PCs has grown from 3.3 percent in 2008 to 4.0 percent in 2010, and predicts it will grow to 5.2 percent of new PCs in 2015. It adds: "The Mac OS share still varies greatly by region, as Apple has much stronger presence in North America and Western Europe. The fastest growth is expected to happen in selected emerging countries, where Apple and Mac OS are growing from a small base."
However, Gartner is not predicting much growth for Linux. It says:
"Linux OS is expected to remain niche over the next five years with its share below 2 percent because of the remaining high costs of application migration from Windows to Linux. In the consumer market, Linux will be run on less than 1 percent of PCs, as Linux's success with mini-notebooks [netbooks] was short-lived and few mini-notebooks are preloaded with it today."
Gartner expects that "application compatibility issues and the high proportion of Windows-specific applications within many enterprises" will also limit the take-up of Chrome OS, Android or webOS on PCs. However, they could see some adoption in the consumer market.
Gartner adds that "only in 2012 will the market reach the point of crossover between Windows-specific and OS-agnostic applications for enterprises, as 50 percent of the applications will be OS-agnostic."
Of course, even one or two vital Windows-only applications can make companies unwilling or unable to migrate. Also, OS-agnostic applications may have limited functionality or perform poorly in comparison to Windows-specific applications.
The latest figures from Netmarketshare, based on web site stats, show Windows XP's market share falling by about one percent per month, with the July 2011 figure standing at 49.7 percent. Meanwhile, Windows 7 has gained about one percent per month to reach 27.9 percent. At this rate, it will take Windows 7 another 11 months to overtake XP.
However, Netmarketshare's numbers also include non-PC operating systems, with Apple's iOS having 3.0 percent of the market, while Android/Java ME combined have 1.9 percent.