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Company expects another year of record sales, despite imminent successor incoming

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 7 has by far surpassed the company's expectations, becoming the fastest growing operating system in history.  The well liked product already achieved the distinction of passing Windows XP.

Now, even with Windows 8 looming ahead for a late 2012 launch, Microsoft says it expects to move a record amount of Windows 7 personal computers -- 350 million -- in 2012.  The figure came courtesy of Microsoft's larger than life CEO Steve Ballmer, who told reporters at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, "It makes Windows the most popular single system."

The implied message is "more popular than Apple".  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been challenging traditional PC makers in sales, assuming you count the best-selling iPad tablet as a "personal computer".

Gartner, Inc. (IT), a top market research firm estimates that 103 million tablets will be sold in 2012, with two thirds of those being iPads.  That places cumulative iPad sales close to 70 million units.  Apple sells many more tablets than traditional personal computers.

Windows 8 hopes to gobble up some of Apple's tablet sales [Image Source: Lenovo]

Still Windows devices will outsell the popular tablet, based on Mr. Ballmer's numbers by roughly a 5-to-1 ratio.  Microsoft hopes Windows 8 will expand on that margin, with both Intel Corp. (INTC) and various ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) licensees planning major tablet pushes.

Of course Microsoft could face a backlash if Windows 8 is perceived as too much of a "tablet-centric" operating system and a poor choice for traditional personal computers.

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: I'm afraid to laugh...
By Tony Swash on 5/22/2012 7:13:11 PM , Rating: -1
Apple will almost certainly sell between 250 and 300 million iOS devices in 2012. iOS sales have been doubling annually for several years. Even if Windows 8 tablets are a success and sell in numbers, and even if that bites into Apple's sales and that in turn reduces Apple's iOS growth rate to just 50% in 2013, it still means that some time next year or so iOS unit sales will exceed Windows unit sales.

Some time in the next two years or so the installed base of iOS will reach around a billion, and sometime around then the installed base of iOS will exceed that of Windows.

These are not wildly speculative projections, that's just a projection of what happens if it's pretty much business as normal for Apple. If Apple were to tap the accelerator again then that timetable could compress.

In order to understand the economic impact when comparing the number of iOS devices installed to the Windows figures one must take into account the very different revenue profiles of the two operating systems.

Microsoft receives a license fee for each copy of Windows, often heavily discounted for the big bulk purchases by OEMs and corporate buyers, and that's it in terms of revenue. In contrast each iOS device generates far more revenue and profit per unit sold than Windows, and then crucially continues to generate hundreds of dollars of further ongoing revenue for Apple via the iTunes content stack.

In a few years, probably no more than 3, a PC and a Windows Phone will be how you show the world you're a rebel.

RE: I'm afraid to laugh...
By Nanobaud on 5/22/2012 8:26:20 PM , Rating: 5
If we selectively extrapolate current trends then yes, we can predict that Apple devices will dominate the world. By the same means we can also predict that that world will only be inhabited by Elvis impersonators.


RE: I'm afraid to laugh...
By Bateluer on 5/22/2012 9:42:50 PM , Rating: 1
Oops! It was iPad vs W7/WP7 and W8, not iOS devices. iOS devices include all iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Thats a LOT of devices. iPads sell a lot of units though, and I fully expect them to outsell W8 devices by a massive margin too.

RE: I'm afraid to laugh...
By nafhan on 5/23/2012 9:44:07 AM , Rating: 3
Extrapolation based on Applefan logic:
2013 - 500 million iOS devices sold
2014 - 1 billion iOS devices sold
2020 - 64 billion iOS devices sold! Just imagine what Apple's profits will be like! Keep this up for a few more years, and we've got more iOS devices than there are atoms in the universe! Amazing... Or maybe it's unrealistic to expect "doubling annually" to go on indefinitely.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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