In his most recent column, Ed Bott said something, mostly unrelated to the rest of the rant, that got me thinking. He said, "In the general-purpose PC segment, where small vestiges of Microsoft's one-time monopoly still exist..."
What I think he's trying to say here is that Microsoft doesn't really have monopoly market power any more in PC operating systems. Or maybe Ed thinks it's possible to have a tiny little bit -- "small vestiges," of monopoly market power. That doesn't really make any sense to me. It's kind of like saying someone is "a little bit pregnant." You either have monopoly market power or you don't.
Here's what I think.
Microsoft absolutely does still possess monopoly market power for PC operating systems.
Microsoft Windows has somewhere between 90% and 92% of the worldwide PC installed base and Windows PC sales accounted for somewhere between 93% and 95% of total PC sales in 2011. (Mac sales were about 4.75% of total PC sales in 2011 -- 16.73 million Macs out of a total of 352.4 million PC shipments)
Microsoft Windows is just as much the overwhelming dominant PC operating system power today as it was back in 1999 when it was declared a monopoly.
"Yeah. Sure. But what about the rise of the smartphone and the tablet?" I hear you saying. Well, those are not PC operating systems. Those belong to different and fairly competitive markets. PC operating systems installed base and current sales market share are still very much dominated by Microsoft.