Gartner predicts Microsoft (MSFT) Windows will have only 15 percent market share in 2014. How can that be? The Gartner estimate extends beyond PCs to include tablets and smartphones -- where Apple iOS and Google Android remain in growth mode. Here are the estimates and the implications for channel partners.

Gartner predicts: 

  • Android will double from 505.5 million to 1.061 billion device sales from 2012 to 2014.
  • Apple iOS and Mac OS X will grow from 212.8 million to 354.8 million device sales from 2012 to 2014.
  • Windows will grow from 346.4 million to 378.1 million device sales from 2012 to 2014.

In some ways, it's unfair to lump in the traditional Windows PC market with the smartphone and tablet markets. But remember this: Microsoft also is guilty of using the market metrics to describe its own upside potential. While preparing Windows 8 in 2012, the software giant kept talking about the masssive growth prospects for the entire device market -- essentially erasing the line between tablets and PCs.

The net result so far? As of April 2013, Windows 8 had sold 100 million licenses but Net Applications estimates that only 3.17 pecent of PCs were running the operating system as of March 13.

Of course, Microsoft hopes to change the conversation with Windows 8.1 (previewed at this week's BUILD conference) and special Surface sales promotions for Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC13) attendees. Channel partners should pay close attention since a Surface channel partner program could be on the way.

Still, Gartner essentially is predicting Android will remain king of the device hill -- while extending its lead in the years to come...