Just to be clear, no one knows what the future of Microsoft's latest OS is. Some may hate 8's features, or it's disregarded for the start button. However, nobody knows what tomorrow holds for the OS.
What we do know is that Windows 8 has had a slow start. Redmond's latest hasn't taken off like gangbusters. Whether that's because of a consumer dislike for its UI or a poor marketing campaign is anybodies guess. No matter how you feel about the OS, it's probably fair to say that it has yet to set the world on fire.
Again, that could change. A slow start doesn't mean a lost race. Microsoft could very well realize future iterations of the OS that take the world by storm. Nobody knows for sure at this point.
What we do know is that this current lull of Windows 8 could give OS competitors some time to shine. From Linux to Chrome (the other Linux), the Windows empire is prime for some competition.
Take for example, the recent Linux Foundation study which found that Linux use in the enterprise market is growing.
Linux has been around forever and has always had its fans. Over the last few years the open-sourced OS has even gotten support from groups like Canonical. The Ubuntu developer is bringing a version of its OS to mobile devices later this year.
If successful, the dev could eventually create the sort of desktop/mobile OS hybrid that Windows is currently working on. Ubuntu's success could also see it gain some ground in emerging markets. The Linux kit is open-sourced and free.
Another potential competitor who could take some Windows users is the Chrome OS. The Google made OS has already had some success with the launch of a variety of Chromebooks. Add the recently announced Chromebook Pixel to the equation and things could start to get even more interesting.
The Pixel's touch interface has opened the door to a future Android/Chrome mash up. If the convergence succeeds, Google could easily tempt some consumers to the Chromebook (ChromDroid Book?) by offering them their favorite mobile apps on their desktop.
No matter what happens, it is clear that personal computing is changing. Mobile and desktop must now meet up. Consumers want to be able to have the same experience on multiple devices.
Microsoft understood that. However, they may have realized it too late. The great and powerful Windows now has competition from unlikely foes.
With the tablet/smartphone disruption everybody now has a chance to make a dent in the world of personal computing. Whether Microsoft is able to fend off its new competitors is anybody's guess. But one thing is for sure, the OS playing field has gotten a little bit more crowded.
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