Based upon recent figures, that market research specialist Gartner has shared with ComputerWorld, it looks like the Windows ecosystem will be third placed by 2017, in terms of new devices shipped.
How things stand in 2015
The current situation is that 2.4 billion devices will ship in 2015. Splitting the market between vendors; Android is on the vast majority of shipping devices, Windows will be on about 308 million devices shipped this year, just under 13 per cent of the total. Meanwhile Apple's iOS and OS X devices take third place at 298 million devices shipped. (Note that 80 per cent of all devices shipped are smartphones.) Worryingly for Microsoft, as 2015 has progressed, Gartner has revised down the figure for expected Windows device shipments; from 331 million back in March, to 323 million in July (and 308 million most recently).
In 2017 Windows falls into third place
According to Gartner's forecasts there will be nearly 2.5 billion devices shipped in total during 2017. Android will power 1.6 billion of them. In second place Apple devices will account for 326.6 million, edging out Windows devices, which will total 325.9 million shipped during that year.
You will notice that the total amount of devices shipping in the respective years is almost the same, Gartner research director, Ranjit Atwal, explains the situation: "Replacement activity across all types of devices has decreased," said Atwal. "Users are extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all."
ComputerWorld thinks that Microsoft has "little chance" to turn around its fortunes, with smartphones in particular. However it has recently been seen that both Apple and Google are launching similar products to the Microsoft Surface 2-in-1, and PC makers are predicting good things for that segment. It isn't until 2017 that Gartner sees meaningful growth in PCs, Windows, and premium ultra-mobile devices.
The fickle fashionable smartphone market can move one way or another pretty quickly, as can be seen by past giants such as Blackberry, HTC and Nokia all dramatically falling from grace. Thus I think these Gartner predictions are likely to be derailed by some popular movement or another, before 2017 arrives.