One hundred million here, half a billion there: Calculating the installed base of PCs, including those that still run Windows 7, is a complicated task, full of uncertainties. Microsoft has said for years that its customer base includes 1.5 billion Windows users. Among experts and analysts, this number is often treated as authoritative and accurate. But not quite. It is a bit of a rhetoric, when Microsoft's senior management wants to emphasize the size of the Windows Customer Base to motivate its workforce or empower its partners. Satya Nadella's invocation at the Windows 10 event in January 2016 is a perfect example of the genre.
If recent estimates are accurate – 1.2 billion Windows PCs worldwide, with 1 billion running Windows 10 – Microsoft will have successfully migrated more than 80% of its active customers to Windows 10 by mid-2020. About 200 million PCs worldwide will still be running older versions of Windows, mostly Windows 7. “The PC market has experienced growth for the first time since 2011, driven by vibrant business demand for Windows 10 upgrades. , particularly in the US, EMEA and Japan, ”said Mikako Kitagawa, senior senior analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "We expect this growth to continue until this year, even after Windows 7 support is coming to an end this month, as many companies in emerging regions like emerging China, Eurasia and Asia Pacific have not yet updated it."
Gartner and IDC define the PC market slightly differently: Gartner data includes desktop PCs, notebook PCs, and premium mobile phones (like Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. IDC counts desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks), and workstations, but not tablets or x86 servers. IDC said 4th quarter shipments reached 71.8 million units, representing a 4.8% growth. For the whole year, sales reached 266.69 million units, an increase of 2.7% compared to 2018.
The search for Windows 10 updates ended the long-standing decline in PC sales, Gartner and IDC noted, with growth expected to continue. After seven years of market contraction, PC sales increased in 2019 compared to the previous year, IDC and Gartner reported Monday. Sales were largely driven by the demand for Windows 10 updates as support for Windows 7 comes to an end.
A decade ago, when the PC era was in full swing, Microsoft executives regularly shared the company's estimates of how many Windows PCs were in use worldwide. For example, then-CEO Steve Ballmer told financial analysts in mid-2007 that the installed base of Windows was approaching 1 billion and that the company expected to exceed that threshold by mid-2008. The reported number of Windows users rose. to 1.25 billion at the end of 2011 and increased again to 1.5 billion by the end of 2014. Five years later, that public figure did not rise, and executives rarely mentioned it. In short, if we are looking for a golden age in the PC era, 2014 is a very good time to focus. Every bit of data available since that time says that the installed base of Windows is in decline, although probably not as abruptly as it grew at its peak. An obvious deduction from this 2015 figure is the population of around 70 million Windows Phones, which almost all have been retired or replaced.
Enterprises are primarily in PC replacement mode, often using hardware upgrades as an excuse to migrate PCs to a new operating system. One of the largest replacement cycles on business PCs in recent memory is happening now, such as companies and government institutions that migrate their employees from older versions of Windows (primarily Windows 7) to Windows 10. Like Ed Bott, ZDNet, he noted, is estimated to have 1.2 billion Windows PCs in use worldwide, with about one billion running Windows 10. Most of the rest – about 200 million – are running. run Windows 7.
Lenovo, HP and Dell continued to be the top 3 suppliers, according to IDC and Gartner. The three suppliers accounted for about 65% of the market in 2019, slightly above the previous year. Lenovo has grown year after year in most geographic regions. In the US, Lenovo's desktop computer sales increased more than 30 percent from a year ago, according to Gartner.
HP, the No. 2 supplier worldwide, has maintained its top position in the US, EMEA and Latin America, Gartner reported. Dell set its own sales record in Q4, both Gartner report and IDC indicate. The growth was largely due to a robust US market, IDC says. Apple's fourth-quarter Mac sales fell 5.3 percent from a year earlier, according to IDC. Sales volumes fell 2.2% for the full year 2019.
The only way any number can be consistent with Microsoft's reported base of 850-900 million active Windows 10 PCs is if the worldwide Windows PC base were nearly 1.4 billion. A much more likely explanation is botnets disguised as Windows 7 PCs that may be distorting the results. Given the latest data, yet, according to IDC and Gartner, sustainable growth in the PC market will have to come from innovation. Regardless of which numbers we find most credible, the inevitable reality is that by mid-2020 hundreds of millions of PCs will be running an unsupported version of Windows. This is a huge target for online malware, and a challenge for those concerned about the health of the PC ecosystem.