Cumulatively, Apple devices are on track to outsell Microsoft PCs this year, according to a recent analysis from Asymco founder Horace Dediu. Dediu didn't include phone or tablet sales in Microsoft's tally, but we imagine those numbers aren't, ahem, statistically significant.
2004 was the year Microsoft peaked and things begin to change. The consumer market started beating out the enterprise market, and device mobility became important to consumers. Apple had the better laptop option; soon after, they released a newfangled music playing device called the iPod. Those people liked their experiences--the barrier to entry of Apple products was obliterated, so consumers decided to stick with Apple. Eventually, Apple released the iPhone, an even more pertinent game changer for the mobile phone market and reported a 13.5% market share in 2013. Window's Phones only outsold iPhones in 24 markets, and held a 4.1% market share. (Both lost miserably to Android phones.)
Apple has been dominating the tablet market, and it's rumored that the company will be unveiling a 12- or 13-inch iPad Pro, targeted at businesses. Microsoft's Surface's struggle to take off lead to a $900 million "inventory adjustment." But, honestly, who wants to buy a device with barely 100,000 apps when there's 10 times that amount for iOS devices, 475,000 native iPad apps alone?
Microsoft's been clinging onto hope as Office remains the most popular productivity software. As the nature of work life changes and the need for cloud-based computing increases, web-based software has become more integral. Apple-loyal employees working under Bring Your Own Device pretenses are merging the consumer and enterprise markets, the latter the only place where Microsoft could claim a kingdom.
Tim Cook is looking to change that by making corporate email systems more easily connectable to and enhancing the data encryption of iPads, which are already popular as point-of-sale machines. Ninety percent of all business apps were released on iOS in the third quater of 2013. Square, used by many smaller retailers, is only available on iOS and Android devices. Just sayin'.
Apple, already giving away Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for free with new device purchases, announced new, free iOS versions of iWork, their own office productivity software, at last year's WWDC, which might have solidified Microsoft's slow death.
If Dediu's analysis is correct, and Apple really is unprecedentedly closing the gap between two traditionally segmented markets, it'll be a new challenge with which other companies have not really been successful coping.
[Image: Flickr user Mario Hernández]