Will Windows ever be toppled?

As Windows 7 sails successfully in the world, is Microsoft’s operating system set to dominate the market for decades to come? We take a look.

It doesn't matter where you glean the information from when it comes to assessing the dominance of Windows. Net Applications suggests more than 95 per cent market share. W3 Counter says just shy of 86 per cent. One Stat puts the number at just over 93 per cent, and Stat Counter agrees with that assessment too.

However you weigh up the market share of Windows, the simple truth remains that it was, is and will be for a long time the most dominant operating system on the planet. That's been the case for a generation now, cemented by the positive response that Windows 7 has just enjoyed.

And right now, Windows' nearest competitor, MacOS, bubbles around the five per cent mark. Windows, clearly, has a massive, massive advantage, although Linux has landed some heavier blows in the server market.

And thus it's a brave pundit indeed who would suggest that this isn't the status quo that's going to exist for a long time to come. Microsoft has dominated the operating system market now for the best part of two decades, and it's been fully cemented since the days of Windows 95. In that time, few contenders have been able to gather together even a hint of the required muscle and profile to chip away at Windows' position. On the whole, Microsoft has effortlessly with the exception of Linux and MacOS batted away its competition.

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That's not to say it's utterly invulnerable. Just look at Internet Explorer. It's been five years now since Mozilla launched what has become the first really tangible rival to Microsoft's web browser, Firefox. Following the generally very positive press Firefox has received, and its perceived security advantages over Internet Explorer, it has managed to inflict some damage. But how much?

Half a decade later, a large slice of which Microsoft spent not paying its own product the attention it required, and Internet Explorer still accounts for nearly two thirds of the market. It'll be a good few years yet before its market share drops below 50 per cent, and that's in a market area where Microsoft was arguably the most vulnerable. It's a big punch that Firefox has thrown, but it's taken a long time to land.

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