Will Windows 11 be the game-changer for Microsoft?

Debangana Ghosh | | | Updated on: Dec 05, 2021


Experts are guessing if the OS will help Microsoft regain its declining market share to Google’s Chrome and Apple’s MacOS

Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 on Thursday. The upgraded operating system’s (OS) modern and sleek user interface (UI) was lauded by industry experts, which came out six years after the previous version. Hailed by CEO Satya Nadella as the “first version of a new era of Windows,” experts are now guessing if this would indeed help Microsoft regain its declining market share to Google’s Chrome and Apple’s MacOS; given its limited presence in the mobile-based OS and application space.

The latest upgrade focused on easing user interface with several features like enabling multiple screens, adding swiping options for touch screen laptops and more.

“With this upgrade, the entire aesthetic of Windows has changed. It is brighter, glossier yet more simplistic. This is targeted at the next generation of users which is Gen Z, who are used to devices with better UI. They have also restructured the overall theme, it is more appealing for multiple types of devices. They are talking about open ecosystem, making android apps available on Windows,” Jaipal Singh, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India told BusinessLine.

“I see this Windows upgrade as creating more stickiness around GenZ and the changing routine brought by remote working and the pandemic. It is more UI restructuring that has happened. Another favourite update was the Windows management control. Earlier, I used to go for third-party apps which was accessed through vendors to restructure by monitors. Now, I can reconfigure by entire screen using Windows. It helps when you are using multiple monitors at a time,” he added.

Also read: Windows 11 is the first version of a new era of Windows: Satya Nadella

Certain features like a possible integration of the OS with Microsoft Teams to ease usage is yet to be seen.

“Windows 11 should improve distributed work by integrating with Microsoft Teams, making it easier to contact people right from the start menu. This innovation is well timed for the Covid world, which has (re)established the centrality of the PC to the future of work and to digital life. Whether these features pop for employees remains to be seen, but they’re directionally aligned to the new world of hybrid work,” J.P. Gownder, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester said.

Gownder added, “Windows 11 is built upon the same core code base as Windows 10. That’s good news; it means that the application and driver ‘breakage’ that famously plagued OS releases like Windows Vista is unlikely to occur. And Win32 apps will still be able to run natively on Windows 11.”

Declining market share

According to IDC’s Singh, in 2020, globally, around 81 per cent PCs were Windows enabled that shipped into the market. In India, this figure was around 91 per cent. Five years ago, Microsoft Windows held 88 per cent marketshare. In comparison, Google Chrome has grown significantly, capturing between 10-11 per cent market share globally, up from 2-3 per cent five years ago. Although its contribution in the Indian market stood at less than 1 per cent in 2020, Singh said.

Also read: Microsoft to unveil Windows 11 today: Here’s all you need to know

“Overall market share of Microsoft has been reducing because people are shifting to other computing devices like smartphones and tablets. They are no more restricted by laptops and desktops. Microsoft still continues to dominate the computer-based operating systems space but is losing out market share in the other areas. It will be interesting to see if Windows 11 will bring out more revenue streams for Microsoft. It will also depend on whether they can make the consumers use its other features like Edge and apps,” Pareekh Jain, CEO, EIIRTrend told BusinessLine .

Microsoft has been good for high performance, application-based and high productivity use cases. On the other hand, Google Chrome, in India, especially is targeting the other spectrum of market through affordabilty and lower-end PCs. For instance, Singh points out, Google has seen success in schools and e-learning applications. Google cloud services and Google for Education are well in-touch with these markets.

Also read: Microsoft adds new photo editing features to OneDrive

“What Microsoft missed out on was the complimentary products such as mobile phone operating systems and search browsers, where Google and Apple came in. Beyond operating systems, although they tried other segments, but mostly failed to win the battle against competitors. People today are more comfortable using Google Chrome than Explorer. No number of updates and revamp could bring back Explorer into the browser war. Microsoft benefited the most from cloud business and making Microsoft office interoperable,” Jain added.

As of the Windows 11 upgrade, Gownder puts in a word of caution to its hitting the right note with user interface. “These user-friendly nods to the past are a double-edged sword, though. They’re great for continuity of experience, but they make you wonder what the 11 really stands for. Is this really more of an admittedly feature-rich Windows 10 update than a full-version release?” he said.

Published on June 25, 2021
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