Operating System Stats: Vista Forecast
Apple Outperforms Linux 2004-2006
Vista and the Calculations
Microsoft's next big offering is due out early* 2007 and will no doubt shift the balance of the operating system market. What interests me (as someone who follows such topics fairly closely) is how we can expect the Microsoft market to move upon release. This led me into researching the reported operating system statistics for the past 6-7 years to allow me to track recent trends and perhaps estimate how things are going move.
*for the sake of the predictions I've taken the release as being January 1st 2007 - which it won't be but it makes the maths easier and it will scale into the real release date.
Basic things to establish
I'm taking Vista as being released on January 1st 2007 and I'm basing all predictions on the collective trends of the operating system usage statistics from 2003 onwards (taken from the W3C) with further estimates being judged on the statistics from thecounter.com.
How things look currently
Last month (November 2006) the market looked as below:
Obviously XP is dominating the market with a near 75% share, with both Windows2000, 98 and NT fading quickly. Macs are just edging Linux out by 0.2% - see my other article on operating system usage growth trends.
Predictions for 2007/2008
Following the trends since 2003 I've predicted how the operating system market should shift (but these are only based on the previous trends and not other factors (see below - Other Factors). Using the logic that WindowsXP was released October 25th 2001, in October 2003 (two years later) XP constituted 39.4% of the operating system market. If the same logic is applied to Vista we should be seeing around 40% in January 2009. Using the recent trends the Linux/Mac market should remain unaffected by the new release and continue their slow but steady progression (again, this is covered in greater detail in this other article). See the graph below for the the current trends extended to the end of 2008:
*apologies for the low quality Excel graph
As you can see in the above graph XP has been on the steady incline which I expect to level off towards the start of 2007 (because vendors like Dell will probably ship new systems with Vista) and steadily decline from that point on. Vista on the other hand, from launch should show an increasing hold on the market as time progresses (see below for Vista Growth). Mathematically the Mac and Linux market share should continue to increase at a steady rate, whereas the other MS systems are predicted to fair worse than they probably will. This is covered more below in "Other Systems and Innacuracies".
The reason for Vista's growth to be predicted this way is based entirely on XP when it was released, because within 2 years it established a 40% share and one would expect Vista to do the same. Clearly the rate of growth will differ from the very linear line shown on the graph but the overall results should eventually be the same.
Other Systems and Inaccuracies
According to the current statistics the older Microsoft systems will decline at a steady rate with 98 theoretically reaching a 0% share in August 2007 and Windows2000 meeting the same fate in June 2008. While these figures follow several years of trends the share is not actually going to reach 0% so soon but more likely a very small figure - either way they should become largely insignificant within the next couple of years.
There are clearly a number of other factors that are not taken into consideration with this forecast - for example the release of Vista may push a lot of jaded users who refuse to pay the excessive prices into the realms of Linux or Mac - diminishing the Vista growth rate and boosting those of the underdogs. Although the prediction should be fairly close because a massive proportion of the market share is populated by businesses and machines sold with an OEM system (so as mentioned previously, vendors like Dell will ship new machines with Vista pre-installed). However with governments switching to open Source systems it is plausible that we may see a positive shift in the number of Linux users which would throw the mathematical prediction system used here.
So it looks like Vista should follow the same path as XP did, probably exceeding it as the majority holder in the middle of 2009. In addition, I found that Apple has been outperforming Linux in the past 2-3 years, read more here.
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