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Steve Jobs of Apple has declared that Microsoft Windows is in terminal decline. No really, that's what he's said at the All Things Digital conference in LA. And he's had backing from people like Dreamworks, who now access the Internet through an iPad.

OK, we'll take it as read that we understand there's a lot of vested interest going on here. Jobs would love to see Windows crash and burn, and he's likely to be having a load of fun watching as iPad sells 2m units.

But...Windows in decline? Really? To find out whether that's actually going to happen we need to look beyond the headline grandstanding. Here's a link to Wikipedia and some data on who's using which operating system. You'll notice straight away that Apple has 5.8% of the desktop market compared to Microsoft's 90+%.

Now, before we all start giggling, this is actually quite a result for Apple. Microsoft's figure is divided among many different hardware sellers. Apple's is a single company with a massive chunk of the market. It's doing unbelievably well.

But it's still a minority. For Jobs' claim to be correct, people will have to abandon surfing the Internet from their desktops wholesale. 90% isn't going to go anywhere fast - and the initial flurry over the iPad is bound to die down sometime.

I can see Apple continuing to do well and profitably for a long time. Windows declining terminally is another issue entirely, though: I can't see that happening for at least a generation.

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Last Post by pogson
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A generation in hardware time is three years for some. The only life M$ is having is in business LAN servers because their OS is so messed up they need to sell more products to manage it and in consumer big box stores that sell only M$'s OS to uninformed consumers. Businesses can migrate XP to GNU/Linux more easily than they can migrate XP to "7". More than 50% of PCs run XP at the moment.

Where I work, we are doing XP to GNU/Linux. It works for us. We had constant slow-downs and malware problems (including the damned scanners) before switching to GNU/Linux. We have had no problems with any GNU/Linux box in months except a trivial misconfiguration that was my fault. Users like GNU/Linux because it is faster than XP on the same hardware. We got a few new machines this year and 80% of them went to GNU/Linux. One user had some legacy apps and another user just did not want to change OS but everyone else enjoys the new system. We use the new machines as GNU/Linux terminal servers so even our old machines give the performance of a new machine. There is no comparison between the performance we have now compared to last year. GNU/Linux works for us. All our servers run GNU/Linux.

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