Microsoft Republicans

There is nothing worse than being too successful. Let’s look at Microsoft. In 2000, it had 95 percent of the PC software market. That year, 124.5 million PC units were sold worldwide. In 2010, 550 million smartphones, tablets and PCs were sold, but Microsoft’s market share had fallen to 50 percent. In 2012, it went down to 20 percent.

Those figures are disputed, and depend on the consulting firm or the investment bank that has produced them. But there is something clear–Microsoft’s market share has plummeted, and it has not been due to losing ground to its competitors. The reason is that Microsoft has not been able to enter the new software markets in mobile phones and tablets.

This does not mean that the company is going to be out of business, but that it has an uncertain future ahead. Microsoft still has around 93 percent of the PC software market, but PC sales are down by an astonishing 11 percent this year. People are buying tablets, not computers. Google, Samsung, Apple and social networks such as Facebook are now the growth champions. Microsoft is the monster in a dwindling market.

Now, let’s look at the Republican Party.

For the sake of argument, the PC market is the white US population. The minorities (Hispanics, African-American, Asians, etc.) are the iPhone, Galaxy, iPad and so on. Like Microsoft before it, the Republican Party has tried to lock its market by blocking by any means any competitor. In the US political system, it is called ‘gerrymandering’, and it means modifying the electoral districts so your voters are in the right places.

Republicans have been at it for two decades, with a state-of-the art gerrymandering that has obliterated anything similar by the Democrats. As a result, only 39 of the 224 Republican members of the House of Representatives have more than 20 percent of voters of Hispanic origin in their districts, according to the specialized publication ‘Roll Call’. The Economist reckons that 75 percent of the voters in the average Republican district are white, whereas the percentage falls to 51 percent in the Democratic precincts. For the whole country, whites represent 63 percent of the population, according to the US Census.

The flaw in the Republican strategy is that last year 12,000 more white Americans died than were born. On the contrary, the population of Hispanic origin increased by almost one million. When added immigration to this numbers, the results are similar. Between June 2011 and July 2012, the number of Hispanics grew by 1,14 million; followed by almost half a million Asians and more than 300,000 blacks. However, the number of white Americans just grew by 175,000, counting immigrants.

What does this mean? That Republicans are playing catch up game with Microsoft. If they keep on focusing on their niche, they risk ending up with a gigantic market share in an ever-shrinking product.

About the Author

Pablo Pardo
Pablo Pardo is Washington DC correspondent of El Mundo. Journalist especialized in International Economics and Politics.

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