Measure more, see more
Wintel companies are no longer a measure of the PC market, analyst argues
Blogs | 31 Oct 2012 :
Following all the brouhaha over the launch of Windows 8 last week and the divisions between those who believe it will be a resounding success and others who caution it may take a while to catch on (if at all), it was interesting to see the comments of Steve Brazier, president and CEO at Canalys, at its APAC Channel Forum.
By the way, to go slightly off topic, what's with people who have both CEO and president as their job title? It's a bit like someone combining the jobs of Taoiseach and Tanaiste (Enda Gilmore), Queen and prime minister (Elizabeth Cameron), chancellor of Germany and ruler of the EU (Angela Merkel - OK, so that last one is a bit facetious, but you get the picture).
Anyway, to get back to the point, according to The Register which got invited to the conference, Brazier made the perfectly valid point that people can no longer rely on Microsoft, Intel and the group of companies that make PC hardware containing their technologies to serve as a bellwether for the IT industry anymore. You can understand his reasoning when the PC market is struggling but sales of devices that, for the most part, do not contain technology from either Intel or Microsoft are rocketing.
He suggested a better way of looking at things in today's world would be to use a metric based on operating system market share. Obviously, it would extend beyond PCs and laptops, where the Wintel hegemony is still very firmly entrenched, to those devices which have made such an impact over the last three or four years, such as tablets and smart phones. By this measure, Brazier calculates, only 32% of all devices run Windows with the rest accounted for primarily by Apple's iOS and Android.
This isn't anything new from Canalys which, after all, was one of the first market analyst companies to include tablets in its calculations for PC shipments. But it may well be something new for the way people perceive the IT industry, especially for channel partners. Brazier said the channel needed to find ways to exploit apps and supporting infrastructure for Android and iOS. Unlike those who tend to pooh-pooh those operating systems as not suited to business and who are hoping the launch of Windows 8 will lead to the creation of a market for "business tablets", Brazier had no qualms in describing Android and iOS as "important business operating systems".
Given that so many channel partners are focused on the B2B market, they might do well to try to start to thinking in the same terms. I'm sure there are quite a few who have not shied away from including the iPad and Android devices such as Samsung's Galaxy tablet when talking to their customers. Some of them may have had no choice as customers have come to them asking how they can integrate those devices into their infrastructure.
But I think it's important for channel partners who still view the IT market in terms of Microsoft and Intel to recognise, as Brazier argues, that things have changed. They are operating in a much wider world now and things are not likely to change back.