Microsoft has pretty much had its own way when it comes to the desktop, owning 90% or more of the market since the launch of Windows 95. Apple has carved its niche, as has Linux latterly but they have been small - some would say inconsequential - shares of the market.
Recently though there is evidence that a new player has the potential to upset the status quo: Google with its Chromebook. Having overtaken Apple in the US and having seen global success in education markets, the browser based platform has established a bridgehead from which to challenge Windows.
In this Chromebooks may succeed where Netbooks and tablets failed because they offer capabilities in line with today's main computing use cases: email, web browsing and web services. The only weakness is an absence of some software that demands more than web based operation can offer.
This is where Android comes in. With an extensive catalogue of apps and games, including all those that are currently fashionable, and a strong developer community to boot. With those apps now accessible to Chromebook users, the platform can compete effectively with Windows. It even has Microsoft's office apps. For consumers the promise of maintenance free, trouble-free ownership, added to a solid app catalogue and Chrome's web apps would be an attractive offering.
More attractive than Windows? In many cases yes. More attractive than Mac? Allied to Android very probably.
It’s here that the value of a strong mobile platform is once more demonstrated. Android users will gravitate to Chromebooks, iPhone users to iOS and MacOS. Microsoft will be left playing its empty hand once more.