Microsoft (MSFT 0.13%) Windows is under siege from seemingly every angle. Apple's (AAPL -0.09%) iOS and Google's (GOOGL -0.20%) Android have exploded in popularity in recent years. But, 2014 isn't the beginning of the end for Windows. Based on the production of hybrid devices, the integration of Windows 8 mobile solutions, and Microsoft's initiatives in India, Windows will remain relevant in the near future.
Intel's production of hybrid devices
A wave of new solutions from Intel could keep Microsoft Windows viable. Intel announced that it was collaborating with others to manufacture laptops, desktops, and tablets. The devices will run both Android and Windows at the same time. Instead of pure Android tablets, buyers would purchase hybrids where Google's operating system would pull Windows with it. If these solutions prove popular, Microsoft would gain from every device purchased. Additionally, Windows 8 should begin to find itself on an increasing number of affordable mobile devices.
The situation in India
Many see Microsoft's attempts to gain a foothold in the mobile sector as too late. But, it appears that growth in India may be another key to the survival of Windows in an increasingly competitive environment. Microsoft's strategy includes negotiating with local Indian smartphone makers for the production of Windows phones. Microsoft's potential success in this country rests on its partnership with the newly acquired Nokia. The Finnish company has a very strong market in India. With smartphone growth in India estimated at 459.7% through 2017, Microsoft Windows will remain relevant if it succeeds in the Asian country.
Integrating Windows 8 mobile devices
Most enterprise computers run Windows already. It is cheaper for enterprises to integrate Windows 8 mobile devices than to utilize tablets or iPads. In other words, Microsoft will continue to have a competitive advantage in this market. Bernstein Research suggests that the demand for Windows 8 tablets in the enterprise market is becoming stronger. Eighty-one percent of CIOs are either issuing, or planning to issue, Windows tablets, up from 56% six months before the research. Only 15% of CIOs plan to issue Android tablets, down from 23%.
Many automakers want to utilize Apple's iOS for 2014 models. Several have also begun integrating Apple's Siri Eyes Free, which enables drivers to activate Apple's digital solutions. The "iOS in the Car" user interface links Apple's mobile operating system with vehicle infotainment systems. ABI Research forecasts that the shipments of connected in-vehicle infotainment, or IVI, systems will grow to 35.1 million units globally by 2018. Of those, 49.8% will be equipped with "iOS in the Car."
Apple is not the only major smartphone vendor with an eye on the vehicle-integrated market. Google has announced a collaboration with Audi and others that would have future cars run Android-based systems. NVIDIA is also expected to join the initiative to develop Android-based "infotainment" systems. In-car entertainment has been become widely available, as costs have declined for relevant technologies.
It is obvious that Microsoft Windows is under siege from seemingly every angle. But, 2014 cannot be the year that Windows finally dies. With Intel offering chips that make low-cost tablets a reality, Windows 8 should become more prevalent on many affordable mobile devices. Though many see Microsoft's attempts to gain a foothold in the mobile sector as too late, the situation in India is key to the success of Windows. Finally, Microsoft will continue to have a big advantage on the enterprise side far beyond 2014.