Microsoft's dominance of the client operating systems market will fade over the next few years, according to Avneesh Saxena, vice-president for Asia-Pacific computing systems research at IDC.

Microsoft currently has around 90 per cent share of the client operating system market with Windows but this will fall to 58 per cent by 2007 as new devices appear, Saxena said at the IDC Directions conference here Thursday.

"Operating systems are not going away and we're not going to one single platform," he said. "Different workloads require different operating systems and the range of new devices will cause Microsoft's market share to fall."

By 2007, Windows on PCs will account for 58 per cent of the client operating system market, with the Symbian OS for communication devices taking 17 per cent, according to IDC figures. Only smart mobile phones with the ability to run applications are considered to have true operating systems, in IDC's definition. Windows for communication devices will account for 6 per cent of the market and Linux for digital video recorders will account for 5 per cent, Saxena said.

The server market will also remain mixed, with variants of Unix accounting for 36 per cent, Windows for 35 per cent and Linux for 15 per cent, he said.

The wide range of devices being used in enterprise by IT systems will create major problems of complexity for IT managers in future, Saxena said.

"Complexity will rise phenomenally in the next few years," he said. "By a 2012, data transmission to the centre (from client devices) will account for about 45 per cent of traffic and there will be billions of embedded devices."

These changes are being driven by four main business imperatives – the need for faster access to information, greater efficiencies, reduced costs and improved collaboration with partners.