Why the firing of Microsoft’s Terry Myerson and Apple’s decision to move to its own ARM chipsets matter?

Because it means the end of the desktop operating system.

The desktop OS as we know it is finally ready for its funeral. After the firing of Windows and Devices Group Manager Terry Myerson in a sweeping reorganization at Microsoft for the first time in history Microsoft has no representative of the Windows Operating System on Board Level. The Windows and Devices Group got split up and was moved below the Cloud and the Experiences Teams. Microsoft follows its strategy to become a Cloud and Services rather than an OS company and with Windows being down to 16% of overall revenue the switch seems to work.

At the same time Apple announced to switch from the technological lagging Intel chipsets to its own ARM based Chips in future Mac generations. This is not just a CPU switch as was done by Apple in 2006 from PowerPC to Intel architecture but even more so a first step in merging its OS lines (iOS and MAC OS) and the beginning of the end of the MAC OS as a specialized desktop operating system. This move might very well alienate the MAC OS user base, but just as Windows, MAC OS is not a significant portion of revenue of what has de-facto become a phone company.

These developments are not new but have been in the making for quite a while. Satya Nadella’s rise to power in Microsoft was always connected to making the company the number one Cloud provider, with providing Cloud Services on any system – no matter what the underlying OS might be. Apple’s switch from a computer to a phone company (or mobility company) was clear to most of us when they dropped their original company name “Apple Computer” and became Apple. Today 75% of Apple’s revenue is based on iPhone (69%) and iPad (6%) sales compared to MAC OS based devices with just under 8%.

All of this results in the underlying Operating System not being important anymore (something Microsoft had to learn the hard way with their Mobile offerings) – the only thing that counts is Cloud Services presented either through any Browser or platform agnostic Apps. This is a fact today in the consumer realm where I can use any Service on any of my devices and it will become reality in business environments as well. Today we are still fighting with legacy on premise applications and services that require a defined infrastructure like a specific Windows Version on the desktop but over the next years this will shift as well to a pure software as a service world where the OS doesn’t matter anymore and will become meaningless..