Five reasons why the sun is setting on Windows dominance

five reasons why the sun is setting on windows dominance logo sunset

Today, HP announced that it will begin loading its PCs with its own webOS sometime next year. The Motorola Atrix 4G is a smartphone capable of docking and becoming an Android laptop. Windows Phone 7 is losing momentum. These are only the first trickles from the Windows dam, but it is cracking. Windows has ruled the PC world for more than 20 years, but times may be changing. Here are five reasons why the Windows PC empire may be ready to burst.

PCs are no longer dominant

For the last thirty years, personal computers have been the heart of the computing experience. For a long time there was nothing else, and when connected gadgets started popping up, they all needed a PC to sync with and show them love. This is changing. While there are still plenty of devices that require a PC, the list is shrinking fast. A whole host of digital devices have begun becoming Internet aware without the PC. When’s the last time you needed to connect your Kindle to a computer? How about your smart TV?  Manufacturers are finding ways to further untether their products every day. PCs are becoming a single unit in a large, networked, connected system of Internet-capable devices like tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs.

The smartphone and tablet are the two biggest examples of this trend. In many ways, they are becoming more important than PCs, because they are on your person at all times. As we have continued to demand more out of smartphones, their app ecosystems have soared to unprecedented levels, offering hundreds of thousands of apps in one easy-to-find place.

The iPhone spawned a new breed of competitive, capable OSs

The iPhone hit shelves a little less than four years ago and it has bred change. Apple redefined the mobile computing experience with a full touch experience that let users easily browse the Web and perform a multitude of tasks that just weren’t as simple before it came out. When it launched the App Store, the iPhone solidified its place at the top of the smartphone heap. Since then, Apple has continually added new capabilities to its bottom-up OS, which was based on some core ideas from Mac OS X.

five reasons why the sun is setting on windows dominance apple iosIt took two years for Android, iOS’s first viable competitor, to spring up, but it has grown astronomically (888 percent) in the last year and a half. Tablets and touch devices of all sizes have sprung from Android. It and iOS have collectively kicked the rest of the industry into high gear. RIM has shown off a new BlackBerry Tablet OS based on new architecture, while HP has continued to refine and expand the role of its own webOS. Nokia is set to release MeeGo, it’s own custom new-generation OS, and even Microsoft released a completely redesigned OS called Windows Phone 7. This is likely only the start. Unlike the PC industry for most of my life, the smartphone and tablet industries have bred real, capable, competitive operating systems that are proving to be more useful than many of us ever thought they would be.

Windows 7: Unfriendly to touch

Unfortunately, Windows is not a part of this growing smartphone ecosystem. While Microsoft continues to tinker and perfect Windows 7, it is largely the same operating system as it was when it was first released as Windows 95. The graphics have improved dramatically, as has its functionality, but there is little innovation coming out of Redmond in the PC realm.

For the longest time, its familiarity was one of Windows’ strongest traits, but the tide of the market has turned against it. As touch-based tablets continue to rise in popularity, users and manufacturers are demanding new types of touch interaction on all their devices, and Windows 7 just isn’t up to the task. Microsoft tried to popularize tablet PCs a decade ago, but it hasn’t spent much time optimizing its OS for them. Windows 7 remains an unintuitive, clunky mess on touch devices. There are a host of relatively simple modifications that could improve the experience, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to be making them.

Microsoft split its platform with Windows Phone 7

Worse, the company is sending mixed messages at a time when the market doesn’t know what to do. Windows Phone 7 is supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to modern touch interfaces. It was developed by Microsoft’s underrated Zune team from the ground up, and has a unique and imaginative new interface, but Microsoft is holding it back. We have yet to see a Windows Phone 7 tablet or any new WP7 devices since its launch in November. Instead, at CES and since, Microsoft has been touting Windows 7 as the platform for touch PCs, tablets, and devices of all kinds. While CEO Steve Ballmer says MS is behind WP7 on one hand, his actions are undermining it on the other. WP7 is a beautiful OS that could run tablets and other devices wonderfully. It would be nice if Microsoft would tap its full potential instead of trying to shove Windows 7 into most touch devices.

five reasons why the sun is setting on windows dominance ballmer phone 7

Really, it’s all Apple

Call it a comeback or call it a long-standing diabolical plot by Steve Jobs to eventually destroy Microsoft and take back the computer throne by reinventing computers themselves, but like it did in the late 1970s to mid 1980s, Apple has completely changed the game. Unlike Microsoft, which has long been content to sit on its pile of money, Apple has been on a quest to change computing for the better. It began with the iPod a decade ago, which bred the iPhone, which gave way to the iPad last year. Apple is completely leading the consumer electronics world right now, from a sales and mental standpoint. Though HP was the first to announce that it is bringing its webOS to the desktop, Apple even foreshadowed that idea, as it began bringing some of the lessons its learned from the iPhone and iPad back to the Mac. The Mac App Store is the first small example of iOS infiltrating Apple PCs, but a big change is coming to Macs as well.

Get moving, Microsoft

The world is shifting under Microsoft’s feet. In just a year, its dominant Windows 7 OS has gone from looking like a mammoth success to appearing as yesterday’s news. Sales don’t reflect it yet, but if Microsoft wants to hold onto its place in the market, Steve Ballmer may want to re-read the departing memo of Ray Ozzie, his former chief software architect. In it, he talked about how complexity kills, and the ever connected future ahead of us. He foresaw a post-PC world and explained what Microsoft will have to do to stay relevant. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know if the company is heeding his wisdom. Hopefully, a connected, forward-thinking Microsoft is still ahead of us.

Computing

Microsoft’s rumored Always Connected Surface Pro could emerge as a 5G PC

Microsoft could be developing one of the first 5G PCs to hit the market if a report that the company is prototyping a Surface Pro with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor — instead of Intel's chipset — proves to be accurate.
Trash

In 2019, laptops are better than ever. Here are the best of the best

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. Our picks for the best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while they're at it.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Computing

PC sales slide 5 percent in 2019 and they’re taking Apple with them

PC sales are down year on year with nearly three million less systems selling during the same period in 2019. While this is bad news for Apple, Asus, and Acer, Lenovo increased its lead to almost a quarter of the entire industry.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Mobile

The best Huawei P30 Pro screen protectors to protect your new flagship phone

The Huawei P30 Pro is Huawei's first high-powered flagship on 2019, and it's a stunner. But it needs protection from scratches and chips. Here are the best Huawei P30 Pro screen protectors to keep it safe.
Photography

Family feud: Huawei P30 Pro vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro camera shootout

The Huawei P30 Pro's camera has an amazing zoom mode and low light capabilities. But take these away, and how does it compare when facing its sibling phones, the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, taking regular photos?
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy Fold won’t sell unlocked, but here’s where it’s available

The Samsung Galaxy Fold boasts top-tier specs in a groundbreaking and unique design, and as such it makes sense that you might want to get the phone for yourself. Here are all the places you can get the Galaxy Fold for yourself.
Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy Fold proves folding phones are the future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is finally here -- it's the company's first foldable smartphone, with three screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. What's it like to use? We spent some time with it to find out.
Product Review

This $295 smartwatch has the Armani name, but not the looks

The Armani Exchange AX Connected smartwatch does everything right. It has strong technical features, a good design, and isn’t over-priced. But is subtle brand name appeal enough to recommend it?
Mobile

Leaker claims we'll be saying hello to the new OnePlus 7 range on May 14

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Mobile

Spruce up your Lenovo smartphone with the best Moto Mods for the Moto Z-series

Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories compatible with Lenovo's Moto Z-series smartphones add a lot of value without adding a lot of bulk. Looking to try one out? Here are a few of our favorite Moto Mods.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.