Windows may not be as crucial to Microsoft as it once was, but in some ways the future of the company is still bound to the PC. That close relationship is something of a millstone around Microsoft’s neck, given the PC market has shrunk 25% over the past five years, according to estimates from analyst house Gartner.
With a vested interest in stimulating this moribund PC market, Microsoft has in recent years begun designing its own computers, from the laptop/tablet hybrid, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, through to the designer-focused Microsoft Surface Studio.
While these machines haven’t set PC sales alight, their influence was evident in the latest Windows 10 PCs and associated hardware on show at CES. From the Surface Pro-inspired Lenovo MiiX 720 to the Surface Studio-flavored Dell Canvas, the impact of Microsoft’s PC range was plain to see.
This copycat behavior by computer makers is exactly what Microsoft had hoped to inspire, said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst with Gartner.
“This has been Microsoft’s aim all along.
They needed to show the market the way forward in terms of design and functionality and any competitive designs are welcome,” he said, adding that Microsoft’s primary concern is to drive adoption of Windows 10.
Ovum’s principal research analyst Richard Edwards said after the failure of the ARM-based Surface RT tablet Microsoft had gone on to develop “an impressive stable of devices, including Surface Pro, Surface Hub, Surface Book, and Surface Studio. And let’s not forget that HoloLens is also waiting in the wings”.