Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Google Inc (GOOG), Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): Windows PCs Are Dying, This Might Be the Future

It’s hard to put an exact dollar figure on Google’s benefits from Android. But having Android as the world’s dominant operating system would significantly strengthen the company’s grasp on the Internet, and the possibilities that opens are boundless.

Microsoft is fighting back

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has taken the criticism of its latest operating system, Windows 8, to heart. The company is planning to roll out an update which would restore Window’s classic start button, while allowing users to boot straight to the desktop (bypassing the metro interface).

But is this really enough? According to the Gartner report, it’s really the desktop form factor that’s dying, not just Windows.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has ventured into the mobile space with Windows Phone and Windows 8 RT, but both have fallen short. Windows Phone remains far behind both Android and iOS in terms of market share, while Windows RT has been widely panned by critics and industry insiders (Dell just cut the price on its Windows 8 RT tablet by $200).

But just because Windows dies, doesn’t mean Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has to. Hedge fund ValueAct, for example, argues that in the grand scheme, the Windows business is irrelevant — the real story is Microsoft’s foray into cloud computing via its Azure product.

And while Google’s operating systems may be biting into Microsoft’s business, Microsoft is trying to do the same to Google, pumping money into Bing, Outlook (formerly Hotmail) and SkyDrive.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that approximately 500 million people still use Windows XP — an operating system that was launched in 2001. The Windows business won’t vanish overnight.

Microsoft, Google and HP

By offering more devices running Google’s operating systems, HP should benefit, simply by giving businesses and consumers what they want. Of course, the fact that what they want is Android should help Google, as it looks poised to dethrone Microsoft as the dominant operating system company in the coming years.

But that doesn’t mean Microsoft is finished. Even if Windows truly did fade into irrelevancy, the company has made significant investments into its own web ecosystem and, more importantly, cloud computing.

The article Windows PCs Are Dying: This Might Be the Future originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Salvatore “Sam” Mattera.

Salvatore “Sam” is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

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