So far it looks like Vista has made as much of a splash into the market as the mighty Zune. Barely a ripple. Why?
To me it seems like Windows XP is "good enough". It looks respectable and is pretty reliable. The value proposition for Vista is just not enough to convince users to upgrade - and by upgrade I mean buy new hardware too. That's a fair pile of cash to part with for some extra eye candy and "security"!
What else is happening on the desktop? It seems Linux is busy chipping away while Mac OS X remains fairly constant.
"The number of servers worldwide running Linux is predicted to rise from 24
percent in 2005 to 33 percent in 2007, compared to 59 percent for Windows, according to research firm IDC.
Linux will also double its small share of the desktop PC market, which is dominated by Windows, from three percent in 2005 to six percent in 2007, IDC predicts."
Apparently Apple has around 5.8% currently so suggests in the near term Linux on the desktop will race away from Apple. From a corporate perspective this move away from Windows isn't going to happen (right now). Corporates invest huge amounts in custom software and there is a big pile of it built on the likes of .NET and VB (even MS Office is a huge reason to stay on Windows). It is simply uneconomical to switch desktops to a non-Windows platform for fear (and cost) of having to rewrite these apps and end user training to use new applications (OpenOffice) and the new operating system UI. It seems to me that the only way Linux and Mac are going to be serious contenders is if they can natively run Windows apps.
As you probably know I am a bit of a Mac fan these days, so I may be slightly biased. I am predicting the Steve Jobs knows the above facts and has been busy repositioning Apple over the last few years to solve this application problem. First the move to the BSD based OS X, then a move to Intel architecture for the hardware, plus Rosetta and universal binaries. Parallels has recently released a beta that makes it look like you are running Windows apps inside the Mac, as does crossover office. I am predicting that with the release of Leopard next year we should expect to see some announcement regarding Windows binary compatibility.
The next few years in desktop-land are going to be very interesting!