Research Firm Predicts Apple Will Out Ship Microsoft Windows Devices In 2017

What does 2017 look like for corporations such as Apple and Microsoft? According to the research firm Gartner, Inc., Apple devices will outsell its Redmond, Washington-based rival for the first time in the twenty-first century. Gartner has also predicted that the gap will continue to widen between the Apple and Microsoft’s number of shipments over the next three years.


This past year, 260 million Windows-powered devices were sold, or roughly 11.2% of the market. Apple only shipped 248 million devices, a 10% decrease from the previous year. Apple’s results from this past fiscal quarter are not in, but the previous quarter was a bit of a disappointmentiPhone sales decreased from 48 million to 45.5 million, iPad sales fell from 9.9 to 9.3 million, and Mac sales decreased 5.7 million to 4.9 million. This was the first time in 15 years that Apple has posted a decline in annual sales. 

Why then does Gartner, Inc. believe that Apple will ship 268 million devices in 2017 (running iOS and macOS), and continue to increase their sales by 3% over the next two years? PC sales have greatly decreased over the past few years. In 2016, 268 million PC’s were sold. This was a 7% reduction from the previous year and a continuation of a multi-year trend. Microsoft relies almost entirely upon PC's for its device sales. It has attempted to penetrate the smartphone market, however, Microsoft in recent years has been unable to crack the 5% mark (and currently sits with sub 1% global market share). If PC shipments continue to diminish, so does the current bulk of Microsoft’s device profits. Apple, on the other hand, currently dominates the global smartphone market with respect to profits. 

device shipments graph

It is important to note that these predictions are for Windows-based devices only. Microsoft has recently started to focus more on their cloud-based products, so Satya Nadella is unlikely to be begging in the streets any time soon. This report also does not take into account competition from Android-powered devices.