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%.
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.