Corporate hesitancy about changing PC operating system kept Windows 95 shipments lagging behind estimates last year.
Market watcher IDC said Microsoft licensed almost 10% fewer copies than analysts had predicted. "Both Windows 95 and NT grew dramatically but many corporate users delayed migration to the newer operating systems and purchased new copies of DOS and Windows 3.x instead," said Dan Kusnetzky, an IDC director and author of the report, Client operating environments in review.
Other factors responsible for the shortfall included confusion over the relative positioning of NT and Windows 95, and the cost of upgrades, said IDC.
However, the Microsoft product still accounted for 63% of PC operating systems shipped last year. Although NT Workstation trebled its global shipments year-on-year, Microsoft still sold 32% fewer licences of the product than IDC had expected.
Both MS-DOS and IBM's PC DOS continued to have market presence, said Kusnetzky. Their shipments decreased at a slower rate than those of Windows/DOS.
However, OS/2 declined far more sharply than IDC had projected at the start of 1996, with its market share halved in the space of the year.
IDC believes OS/2's market share may now stabilise as a result of IBM's more targeted strategy for the operating system, which focuses on the installed base, integrators and certain vertical sectors. However, this could still prove inadequate against the onslaught of Microsoft, which has also improved the positioning of its two newer systems.
IDC also predicted bad news for Apple, doubting the company's recent acquisition of NeXT Software will achieve the desired results. IDC said while Apple must deliver a fully multitasking operating system which provides full compatibility with Mac OS, as well as establish new technology leadership, it does not think NeXT technology can provides all this.
The main factor altering the client-side picture in 1997 will be the corporate adoption of Web browsers, Java and either DCOM or Corba-compliant software and middleware. All this will drive the uptake of thin clients, whether network computers or network PCs, and will reduce overall costs in some configurations.
- VNU NEWSWIRE.
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