updated 02:45 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012
Chitika thinks Windows web share sign of OS drop
Chitika highlighted what it saw as a possible tidal shift in the computing industry based on its web tracking. Windows' share of the web dropped by 10 percent of its relative value in the past six months, down from 78.3 percent in August to 71.4 percent in February. An unusually sharp drop came in January, where it lost 4.2 percent of relative (3.2 percent absolute) share in a matter of weeks.
The analytics firm, which drew its information from "hundreds of millions" of ad hits, saw the drop as the result of both fiercer competition and factors outside of Microsoft's control. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets were likely pushing down Windows through their popularity, even if PCs were still growing. IDC data has shown an overall tough PC market that would have been more absolutely on the decline if not for Apple and a handful of others.
Traditional PCs would similarly have been hurting through hard drive shortages triggered by Thai flooding. Companies had to adjust to this, and some simply had to scale back shipments. Apple's iOS and MacBook Air lines, as well as Android tablets, have been largely immune since they use unaffected flash storage.
If a sustained decline, it's unlikely to reverse. Extra IDC data has shown tablets outselling PCs in the US and contributing, with smartphones, to crowding out PCs worldwide. Performance and software has been advancing quickly enough in mobile that the devices can cover more of the circumstances that would previously have needed a computer. Microsoft has hoped Windows 8 will reverse the trend, but its possibly missing most of the year and its controversial interface aren't guarantees.