According to Gartner, in terms of smartphone and PC shipments for the years’ 2014-2016, both Microsoft and Apple have witnessed declining figures. In particular, devices operating a Microsoft OS have significantly decreased in popularity, with sales of Windows PC’s going from 350 million in 2012 to 250 million in 2016 – as per Gartner’s findings. The figures for Microsoft’s OS shipments are attributed to the demise of Windows and this is the basis for measurement of success. Apple however relies heavily on iPhone sales to achieve its volume figures. While Apple have also seen a reduction of sales over the same period, it is believed that the iPhone 8 will revive the situation for the company – placing it in a better place in terms of shipment statistics. Gartner has estimated that 2017 will see Apple ship an additional 16 million devices, scaling to 28 million by 2019.
In a statement last week Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal stated, “the global devices market is stagnating.” Atwal went on to say, “mobile phone shipments are growing only in emerging markets in the Asia and Pacific markets – the PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline.”
It is worth noting however that Apple leading the race against Microsoft is not significant in the scale of things – with outright leader Google’s Android device ahead of both in the market place. Of the 2.3 billion devices released for shipment in 2016 only 11.2% operated Microsoft OS.
Despite Microsoft’s shortcomings with the Windows Phone it appears that it is still in the market – attempting to promote the OS via OEM’s as an option for enterprise. Additionally, Microsoft has commenced efforts focused on VR and AR headsets and the internet of Things, though it is not evident that these would significantly enhance shipping volumes.
It is thought that Gartners optimistic view of Apple’s ability to reverse declining shipment figures is comparable to IDC’s hopes for the Windows Phone. It is possible that Apple’s advanced efforts to produce a phone without borders, buttons or headphones would have, by now, been overtaken by the likes of OEM’s like Samsung – and Apple’s peak is over.
For Microsoft however, the outlook is different, with its move to becoming an enterprise services company. While this may mean that Apple will exceed Microsoft shipment figures and sadden Steve Ballmer (on the shipment side) in the process, Satya Nadella, the company’s SEO would likely witness an increase in Office 365 consumers.