2023 Gartner® Market Guide for Desktop as a Service

The Metamorphosis of the Browser

Since its initial release in the early 1990s, the web browser has come a long way, incorporating many changes. In its first years, the browser acted as an access gate to basic information that was waiting in the worldwide web to be discovered and read. Today, it is the only important application necessary to work on a desktop. It is not for nothing that Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and many more introduce to the market place high quality and cost free browsers. And with each new software, which is offered via the cloud, increases the influence of browsers on software and hardware vendors.

In the corporate sector, more and more business critical applications are moved to cloud-based infrastructures. The result of this profound transformation of how software is developed, distributed and maintained means that the performance of the user devices are now playing only an insignificant part. During a software roll-out a few years ago, the age of the local equipment had to be given serious consideration and it had to be ensured that the new software was supported. Also the objective of most larger companies was in reality almost never achieved – in particular that all employees work with identical computers and specifications.

However, with a browser, this objective becomes tangible as it is much easier to implement the latest Chrome/Firefox version on all computers. Or to record accurately, which version of Microsoft-Edge has been installed at every user’s device. The desktop PC faces new challenges it never encountered before due to software provision from the cloud. It is not just about simple applications such as an email programme, but fully fledged enterprise applications.

But attention! Windows 10 is not yet dead and buried. Windows is more than a simple utility and Microsoft has clearly positioned Windows 10 as a secure platform for the web browser. The Redmond based software developer recognised a long time ago that the web browser will be the future tool for companies. Today already, almost everything can be provided via an established browser – Office, ERP software, image editing, email programmes and much more. Microsoft is perfectly aware that Windows will no longer be the essential tool for enterprises. But it’s not only Microsoft that needs to transform its business model – this change also has an impact on the operational business of companies such as Intel.

If an organisation now only requires a browser to execute most or all its applications, then less powerful hardware no longer presents a problem. Of course, a moderate processor and a large amount of RAM are still needed, but this type of configuration has a much longer life cycle. The purchase of hardware components becomes redundant. Furthermore, it is really just web browsers, with which employees in organisations are working. These can run on ARM hardware, which can be scaled quickly to provide more performance at a low cost.

It opens up a whole range of new opportunities of where and how work in the future may look like when you move software in the cloud, so that after opening the browser, it can be used. The computer in the browser has a great impact on the industry. This is the reason why browser developers take a lot of care and invest valuable resources into their product, even though they ultimately distribute the software free of charge. Only this way can browser providers ensure that they will continue to play a significant role in the enterprise segment.