Microsoft Could Be Irrelevant By 2017: Gartner

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft may very well be the most recognizable name in the technology industry. But a new report suggests that the company could be virtually irrelevant in just four years' time unless a major change is made.

The report comes from well-known analyst firm Gartner. Specifically, Gartner's report says that by 2017 shipments of Microsoft devices, or devices running Microsoft software (such as Windows and Office), could pale by comparison to shipments of similar goods based on Google properties.

Beyond that, the report suggests that Apple hardware and software could be just as prevalent as Microsoft products.

Weakness in Mobile Market to Blame

The problem, says The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget, is that Microsoft can't seem to do anything right in two of the tech industry's most important new markets.

"Microsoft could be completely irrelevant in three or four years if they can't make headway in the smartphone or tablet market, where they've been struggling," Blodget said. (Source:

According to Gartner, by 2017 the number of mobile devices on the market will total 2.7 billion units. That's about ten times the number of laptop and desktop devices expected to be sold at that time. (Source:

Microsoft "Not a Growth Story"

Yahoo! Finance writer Michael Santoli says that a glance at the stock market shows just how troubling the trend has become for Microsoft.

"The market is basically saying [Microsoft] is not a growth story," Santoli said. "It's treated almost like a wasting asset, if you look at the current books and current cash flow." (Source:

Indeed, Microsoft shares have dipped by 9 per cent year-over-year while Google's own shares have climbed 25 per cent. Apple's shares have also declined, but most experts believe the Cupertino-based firm is more likely to rebound than Microsoft.

Overall, the message is this: consumers are moving to mobile devices, and unless Microsoft can establish a unique presence in those markets, it won't be a major name in the tech industry in a few years' time.

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