Apple's Ultimate Victory Over Microsoft

Today's U.S. employment data has left investors disappointed, and stocks opened lower this morning. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) are down 1.15% and 1%, respectively, as of 10:10 a.m. EDT.

The shift to mobile takes its toll on Microsoft
In a report released yesterday, research firm Gartner predicts that consumers will purchase more Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) devices than PCs, tablets, and smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Windows operating system.

For Apple, that would be another milestone in the company's extraordinary rise from niche player to technology standard-setter. For Microsoft, the issue is not simply being overtaken, but the chasm between the growth rates of the two platforms. Last year, Apple's consumer sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs totaled 159 million against 175 million Windows devices; this year, Gartner expects the total for Apple to surge to 233 million (+46%) while Windows device sales inch ahead to 181 million (+3%).

It's not all bad news for Microsoft, as Gartner believes its position in the corporate PC market will support the Windows franchise for years. However, "as consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they will no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis," says Gartner's Carolina Milanesi. Furthermore, I believe there is a risk that consumer preferences will increasingly dictate business IT standards if workers demand to use the same devices at work that they use at home.

For all its human and financial capital, Microsoft appears so far unable to master the shift toward mobile computing. These latest estimates illustrate the magnitude of the challenge for a company that may be disappearing before our very eyes.

Apple is one of a few companies that have molded our modern technological landscape, and its longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on reasons both to buy and to sell Apple, as well as what opportunities remain for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thoughts on Apple, simply click here now.


Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 10:52 AM, thedatapro wrote:

    Have you seen the really dumb TV ads Microsoft is using to show the world their tablet?

    It has to be the dumbest ad ever as it does not show any features or benefits or reasons to buy the tablet.

    It just shows a lot of people jumping all over the tables and a lot of background noise.

    They will lose this contest. What a shame

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 11:24 AM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    @mylove4life45

    Didn't your mother ever tell you that if you didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all?

    Actually, I don't even require 'nice', but if you're going to criticize, you could at least offer some sort of substantive opinion.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 11:37 AM, marv08 wrote:

    @mylowlife45:

    Actually, one of MS's first profitable businesses was developing software for (and paid by) Apple. Both, Word and Excel were Mac software first. MS did not even have a graphical OS then.

    ---

    Apple haters can always easily be identified by their complete and utter cluelessness and weird spelling.

    As far as the article is concerned, I agree, it is going in this direction. But, never forget that MS does have some good and talented engineers. The very moment they kick out their leading zero and stop to stick with legacy junk each and every time they do something new (an ARM tablet where the OS occupies 80% of the available disk space, really?)... they might actually get somewhere.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 11:44 AM, BarneyFwank wrote:

    I've never seen an Apple in any datacenter. Sorry, but Oracle/Sun., Linux and Microsoft run the enterprise world.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 12:40 PM, metrosexy50 wrote:

    Microsoft has lead in the development of Operating Systems, since the 1980's. Now all of the Sudden... Windows 8 looks like an android tablet (google OS)...

    Why is Microsoft following Google with this O.S.??

    Have they given up their position of Leadership??

    Seems like they put themselves in the backseat on this one.. I don't want my desktop to look like a damn cell phone. I don't want my desktop to be unusable like it is now. I don't want windows 8.

    I have worked with Microsoft Op.Systems for the past 25 years. Now all of the sudden MS is following Google around like a sad little puppy.

    If I am forced to use Windows 8, I will switch to Linux...

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