Microsoft's domination of the client operating systems market will fade over the next few years, according to Avneesh Saxena, vice-president for Asia-Pacific computing systems research at IDC.
Microsoft already has around 90% share of the client operating system market with Windows but this will fall to 58% by 2007 as new devices proliferate, Saxena said at the IDC Directions conference.
"Operating systems are not going away and we're not going to one single platform," he said. "Different workloads require different operating systems and the range of new devices will cause Microsoft's market share to fall."
By 2007, Windows on PCs will account for 58% of the client operating system market, with the Symbian OS for communication devices taking 17%, according to IDC figures.
Only smart mobile phones with the ability to run applications are considered to have true operating systems. Windows for communication devices will account for 6% of the market and Linux for digital video recorders will account for 5%, Saxena said.
The server market will also remain mixed, with variants of Unix accounting for 36%, Windows for 35% and Linux for 15%.
The wide range of devices being used in enterprise by IT systems will create major problems of complexity for IT managers in future, Saxena said.
"Complexity will rise phenomenally in the next few years," he said. "By a 2012, data transmission to the centre [from client devices] will account for about 45% of traffic and there will be billions of embedded devices."
These changes are being driven by four main business imperatives - the need for faster access to information, greater efficiencies, reduced costs and improved collaboration with partners.
David Legard writes for IDG News Service