Just a few short years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine a world without Windows. Despite the success of Apple’s Mac OS X, the vast majority of computers were still running on Windows.
Today, the picture is much less clear. In 2014, the Chromebook became the best-selling device in the U.S. And this year, Chromebook sales surpassed Mac sales for the first time ever. At the same time, sales of Windows have been steadily on the decline. According to analysts such as Gartner and IDC, there was an overall drop of roughly 10 percent in Windows PC sales in 2015.
Could these numbers really herald the end of the era of Windows?
In an article in Laptop Mag, Editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer makes the case that numbers are less important than who uses non-Windows devices. He points out that Chromebooks are the chosen device of the K-12 educational system. More and more school districts are basing their educational systems on Chromebooks which are easy to use, easy to share and simple to manage.
Chromebooks are also inexpensive. This makes them an excellent choice for students in low socio-economic status, in rural areas and even in third world countries. In fact, the entire national school system of Malaysia uses Google Chromebooks.
Given the statistics on Chromebook use, can an argument be made that Windows is going out of style?
Not really. Many tech analysts say it’s too early to eulogize Microsoft Windows. Brian Barrett of Wired points out that the introduction of Windows 10 will stop most users from switching away from Windows. An old, tired laptop can be rejuvenated with a free upgrade to Windows 10, and as long as Microsoft continues to offer free updates to its software, users will be hard-pressed to find a reason to abandon it.
Jess Bolluyt looks at anecdotal evidence to support his claim that Windows isn’t going anywhere in the near future. In an article in Cheat Sheet, he writes, “What devices are people using in the workplace, or even at home when they need to get some serious work done? For the most part, people are still using PCs.”
So does that mean you’ll always need to keep a PC handy for those occasions when you need to work in a Windows environment, or to run a particular piece of software that is not supported on their preferred device? Not necessarily. New technology is capable of essentially transforming any device into a Windows-powered workhorse. Ericom’s clientless browser-based access solutions connect users to crucial Windows applications simply and cost-effectively, from any device – including Chromebooks. Perhaps the answer is not in the demise of Windows, but in a managed access system that makes it easy to access any application on any device, so users aren’t forced to choose between one and the other.