Windows POS Marketshare Rising, Cost Cuts Cited As Key Reason

A new report shows Windows POS OS shipment marketshare increasing slightly, from 71 percent to 76 percent, but the growth comes at the expense of Linux and might be a sign that Redmond pricecuts are being effective.

The IHL Group, which conducted the independent research, had expected to find the economic disaster was giving low-cost Linux a boost, but found the opposite, said IHL President Greg Buzek. "This aggressive pricing and packaging of the operating platform not only took share from Linux, but also took a heavy toll on other legacy operating systems as retailers sought replacements as part of their PCI DSS compliance initiatives."

On the price front, Buzek said, "Microsoft's more aggressive pricing actions with their embedded operating systems have made the Linux price argument less appealing." In other words, by slashing some key pricing, Microsoft was able to negate Linux's price argument. Once the price factor was removed, Microsoft felt Linux would be in a much weaker sales position.

But some of the answers also were found as smaller vertical niches were examined, in an attempt to explain Linux's terminal shipment percent dropping from 10 percent in 2007 to 9.2 percent last year. "The macro-economic sectors where Linux is strongest (Specialty and Hospitality) decreased at a faster rate than the segments in which the Windows systems did well," Buzek said.

Other Windows details from the report were that: shipshare of WEPOS and Windows XP Embedded terminals increased from 31 percent in 2007 to 34 percent last year; and in 2008; and that Windows Vista was used on 13.7 percent of all new POS installations in 2008, "most notably as PCs used as POS terminals for smaller retailers."

The report said that overall shipments decreased 4.2 percent in 2008, with only Grocers and Supercenters/Warehouse Clubs seeing shipment gains. Other segments, such as Table Service Restaurants and Category Killers (large specialty hard goods retailers) saw the greatest decrease in shipments in 2008.