Windows 8's uptake falls again, now slower than dud Vista

Loses user share second straight month; officially a poorer performer than Vista

Windows 8's uptake was stuck in reverse for the second straight quarter as the reputation-challenged operating system fell behind the pace set by Windows Vista six years ago, according to data released Friday.

Web metrics firm Net Applications' figures for July put the combined user share of Windows 8 and 8.1 at 12.5% of the world's desktop and notebook systems, a small drop of six-hundredths of a percentage point from June. That decline was atop a one-tenth-point fall the month before, the first time the OS had lost user share since its October 2012 debut.

Windows 8 accounted for 13.6% of the personal computers running Microsoft's Windows. The difference between the numbers for all personal computers and only those running Windows was due to Windows powering 91.7% of all personal computers, not 100%.

While in June Windows 8's user share came dangerously close to the sluggish uptake tempo of Windows Vista, in July Windows 8's pace fell below Vista's for the first time. (Computerworld erred in calling Windows 8's uptake slower than Vista's in the early stages of the former's lifespan based on incorrect comparisons.)

At the point in Vista's post-release timeline that corresponded to July, the 2007 operating system ran on 13.6% of all personal computers -- a larger percentage than Windows 8's last month -- and on 14.3% of all Windows PCs. The latter is the most credible, as it accounts for the slightly-greater dominance of Windows at the time. (When Vista was in its 21st month after launch, Windows powered 94.9% of all personal computers.)

That Windows 8's uptake performance has not matched Vista's is important because the latter, widely panned at the time, has earned a reputation as one of Microsoft's biggest OS failures. By association, then, Windows 8 looks to be the same.

While Windows 8 again lost user share in July, Windows 7 gained another seven-tenths of a percentage point to close the month with 51.2%. It was the fifth straight month that the 2009 operating system has grown its share. The surge has not been surprising, since most industry analysts have said that the recent uptick in computer sales has been due to businesses replacing the now-retired Windows XP with Windows 7.

Windows 7 has grown by nearly twice the amount of Windows 8 in the past six months.

Windows XP's user share fell half a percentage point in July, accounting for 24.8% of all personal computers, and 27.1% of only those running Windows. The decline came after a month where the aged OS remained flat. In the last six months, XP has contracted by 4.4 points.

Computerworld now projects that Windows XP will still be running between 20% and 22% of the world's personal computers at the end of 2014.

Another analytics company, Ireland's StatCounter, had different numbers for Windows. StatCounter's figures are typically at odds with those from Net Applications because they measure with dissimilar methodologies: StatCounter tallies "usage share" by counting page views to show how active users of each OS are on the Web, while Net Applications estimates "user share" by collating unique visitors, which more closely resembles user base than does StatCounter's data.

StatCounter pegged July's Windows 8 and 8.1 usage share at 15%, Windows 7's at 55.3%, XP's at 15.2% and Vista's at 3.5%.

A second straight month of user share decline in Windows 8 put the newest OS behind the post-launch trajectory of the company's Vista flop. (Data: Net Applications.)

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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6 Comments

peter

1

as was predicted by many, even from the beta days of Windows 8.

Shame Microsoft decided to ignore its users and testers and waste all this time, effort and money on a useless operating system.

Will they listen next time?

peter

2

oh, did I forget to mention all the OEM's who also declared Windows 8 a failure?

And Microsoft arrogantly declaring the OEMs weren't innovative enough, so they went on to develop their own Surface device, which was also a total failure in the market place, and cost them almost $1b dollars?

IT_Observer

3

Microsoft does not care about anything because it has an absolute worldwide monoply, small improvementsin one version, then another small improvement in the next version.
Remember what said the former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer about Linux "it's a cancer".
People is entitled to have a good working software product, this does not come cheap, as always a new version is coming out to the market; also I cannot accept that one size fits all for all computers.
If Microsoft want change it must do so by giving the user a better product whitout any hasle.
Windows 7 works great, windows 8 is terrible, why push people to buy a failed software?
Remediate it by giving a free upgrade to the next version for personal use

Gordon Drennan

4

From the people I talk to who've ended up with Windows 8 computers because that's all they could buy, its not that there isn't a lot of them out there, its that their users have given up trying to make them work, and simply aren't using them. Compared to Windows 7 computers that everyone can just turn on and use. And, hey, look at the pitiful share of the phone market that Windows Phone 8 has.

Greg

5

@ Gordon you must still be using windows 3 and Internet explorer 1. I have been using Win 8 now 8.1 for over a year and it does work. Why are they trying to make them work? Please explain in greater detail as I have yet to find something that does not work.
I have 2 pc's on a network with NAS, laser & inkjet printers, scanners as external usb drives. Hey presto they all work under Win 8 / 8.1.
Setting up a mapped network drive in 8.1 is a lot easier than XP, Win 7. Web browsing, email and the like work fine. I using office 2013 with iTunes 64 bit for my 2 ipads (2 & air), my iPhone 5s works well and has never had an issue connecting to Win 8. My wife hooks up her Samsung Galaxy S2 phone and runs Kies from Win 8 no issue.
My 5 year old daughter jumps onto her account and down loads kids games from the Microsoft app store and has no issue at all. I have family monitoring set up so I know how long she uses the pc and what sites she views etc.

I have been in the computer game since 1986 and find that people that whine about Win 8.1 have never tried it. Win 8.1 boots to the desktop so its just like XP, Win 7 etc.

Time to move up and maybe go upgrade your pc or try Linux only to find no support for laser printers or other equipment I use. Also you may need to write your own drivers for Linux. If your silly enough to pay Red Hat for support then do it as I fail to see why Red Hat charge people when the Linux community brag about free open software. I have even sent emails to our local Linux user group and never receive a reply.

David

6

Totally agree with Greg. I've got Windows 8.1 on both my computers and it's very good. It's better, it's faster and it's more secure than 7. But for most computer users 7 is more than good enough. Compared to XP and Vista, there is no compelling reason to upgrade because 7 has few gremlins and working in desktop mode the 2 operating systems are very similar. So the question would be what benefit most people would get.

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