RESEARCH: Windows-based POS Terminals Steal Market Share From Linux

POS terminals running Microsoft Windows operating systems increased from 71 percent of shipments to nearly 76 percent in 2008, taking share away from Linux and other operating systems, according to a new study by Franklin, Tenn.-based retail technology consultancy IHL Group.

“In a down year, Microsoft came out as a clear winner, particularly with their embedded operating platforms that are offered at a much lower price point than their traditional offerings,” said Greg Buzek, president of IHL. “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.”

Overall POS shipments decreased 4.2 percent in 2008, with only the grocery and supercenter/warehouse club segments seeing shipment gains. Other segments, such as table service restaurants and category killers (large specialty hardgoods retailers) saw the greatest decrease in shipments in 2008, according to IHL’s “2009 North American Retail POS Terminal Study.”

According to the report, retailers in all vertical segments are seeing a larger impact due to challenges of PCI DSS compliance, and recent security breaches carry great weight in their POS purchase decision-making process. Retailers want POS systems that are compliant and offer a platform for growth for new applications.

Additional findings include:

The shipshare of WEPOS and Windows XP Embedded terminals increased from 31 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2008
Windows Vista was used on 13.7 percent of all new POS installations in 2008, most notably for PCs used as POS terminals for smaller retailers
The shipshare of Linux terminals dropped from 10 percent in 2007 to 9.2 percent in 2008. The popularity of the operating system in segments that were most affected by the economic downturn (specialty stores, restaurants) played a key role in reducing overall share

Although 2009 will be a more challenging year overall, there are numerous strategic opportunities for new POS terminals as retailers continue to replace systems and upgrade software due to PCI DSS compliance requirements.

The study reviews the shipments and installed base of POS terminals sold into retailers in North America, and includes market shipment and installed base figures, market value, situation analysis for 10 retail market segments, overall trends affecting the POS market, and forecasts through 2013. It’s available for purchase at
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