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How Microsoft has kept Windows on top for two decades



If you own a PC, chances are it’s running Windows, the operating system that Microsoft has been offering since 1985.

Even with people buying modern Macs with energy-sipping arm chips, and even with some students and business workers downloading Chromebooks during the pandemic, Windows still has 83% market share for PCs, according to technology industry research firm Gartner. It has been in pole position continuously since Gartner kept track of it in 2000, and probably for at least a decade before that.

Today, Windows represents 1

4% of Microsoft’s total revenue, and historically, Windows has been more profitable than other parts of the $ 2 trillion company. As Windows grows, Microsoft has an advantage.

So the company is updating Windows again with the announcement of Windows 11 on June 24th. New system requirements may cause some people to buy new PCs that can run Windows 11, and this will increase Microsoft’s Windows franchise.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., listens to questions from the audience at Microsoft’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Bellevue, Washington on November 30, 2016.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

The Windows track record has not always been perfect. It took a few releases to gain popularity over its character-based predecessor, DOS. Some versions, including Windows Vista and Windows 8, were poorly received. And then smartphones emerged in the 2000s and Microsoft was not able to achieve the same prevalence as on PCs. “We missed the phone wave,” said Yusuf Mehdi, a company vice president who has been with Microsoft for nearly three decades.

But over the years, Microsoft made Windows easier to use with add-ons like the Start menu and made upgrades for free. And because many organizations are used to implementing Windows with other Microsoft products, it’s natural for them to stick with Windows. And then Windows has managed to grow.

Microsoft wants to keep it that way. It adds one of the features of Chromebooks – Android apps – to Windows 11. Stores stock PCs with the new release in time for the holiday season.


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