There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in the Microsoft fan base thanks to a recent report about Android usage outstripping that of Windows. Guys, relax. This transition was inevitable. And Microsoft has been planning for this day for years.
I’ve written and spoken a lot about the transition from traditional PCs to more mobile device form factors. And about how Windows long ago fell from its dominant role thanks to this transition: Today, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets account for a much bigger percentage of personal technology usage and sales than do PCs. And the dominant mobile platform, of course, is Android.
This transition explains Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. And while the firm has too many toes in the water these days, so to speak, I feel that it’s future as a major force in cloud computing is very clear. Everything else it is doing today—yes, including Windows—is on the way out. No, not immediately. But that is the trend.
And, seriously, think about it. Think about what Microsoft is doing in Windows 10 today, and try to imagine how any of it could ever possibly result in more usage, or more sales, or a bigger overall market. It’s not possible. This product is really in maintenance mode, and all Microsoft can really do is make it better for the audience of users who do use and rely on it every day. And slow, maybe, what is an inevitable decline.
Android, meanwhile, is still ascendant. It isn’t just a bigger target for app developers and users, it’s expanding into new form factors and device types too. And it will see growth, directly, at Windows’ expense. New Chromebooks that can run Android apps and current and future Android hybrids like the (admittedly lackluster) Pixel C will continue to chip away. Just as the company’s G Suite apps and services chip away at other Microsoft businesses.
Today, the Microsoft fan can take solace in this: Windows remains a more powerful and full-featured productivity environment for those people who need to get real work done. The doers. The—I know—creators. And Android, while improving steadily, has a long way to go. Will that change over time? Sure. But today is not that day.
But whether you believe Android “surpassing” Windows has already happened or not—I don’t actually trust StatCounter data, sorry—it is going to happen. This year. Soon. But then it always was. So give your hands a rest and get on with your life. Nothing has changed.