The image above is pulled from a fascinating slide show put together by venture-capitalist Mary Meeker.
It shows long-term trends in personal computer sales based on operating system. In 1983, Wintel machines—effectively PCs running on a Microsoft system—commanded just 25 percent of the market. For a good chunk of the late 1990s through the early 21st century, Wintel machines pulled 96 percent of the market. Those days look like they are gone for good, thanks mostly to Google's Android OS, which is powering an ever-growing variety of smart phones, tablets, and more.
Question: How many of you think that the only thing standing between endless total domination of the PC world by Microsoft was the misguided federal antitrust case focused on Seattle's Evil Empire bundling a free web browser with its OS? How many think that the decline of Microsoft's dominance (and in different way, that of IBM and Intel) was mostly, if not completely due to the dog-eat-dog world of market-driven creative destruction?
Bonus queries: What does it mean that sales of tablets and smart phones are now bigger than those of PCs? What does it mean that Apple, despite its ability to radically transform digital appliances (iPod, iPhone, iPad) can't really crank up its overall OS market share?
Dylan Tweney of Venturebeat summarizes some of the other findings (and posts Meeker's endlessly engaging slideshow too). Some snippets:
- Meeker's data show 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, a number that's still growing eight percent yearly.
- There are 1.1 billion smartphone subscribers worldwide — but that's still just 17 percent of the global cellphone market.
- 29 percent of adults in the U.S. now own either a tablet or an e-reader.
- Mobile devices now account for 13 percent of worldwide Internet traffic, up from 4 percent in 2010.
- Mobile app and advertising revenue has grown at an annual rate of 129 percent since 2008, and now tops $19 billion.
- Mobile traffic app Waze has been adding users faster than all GPS makers combined have sold personal navigation units, and it's been that way since the beginning of 2012.
Here's Meeker's slideshow: