Windows 10 powers 132M PCs as growth again decelerates

Still leads Windows 7 in the fastest-uptake race, thanks to explosive gains in first month credited to free upgrade

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Three months after its launch, Windows 10 now powers an estimated 132 million PCs, according to data published Sunday by an analytics vendor.

Numbers released today by U.S. metrics company Net Applications showed that Windows 10's user share -- a proxy for the portion of all systems worldwide that ran the OS -- grew 1.3 percentage points in October to 7.9%.

Microsoft launched Windows 10 on July 29, making October the third full month that the free upgrade for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices was available to download and install or was pre-loaded on new devices.

October's user share increase was slightly smaller than September's gain of 1.4 percentage points, and far below August's record 4.8 points, when massive numbers of users took advantage of the free upgrade.

Windows 10 accounted for 8.8% of all Windows devices in October, a higher number than its raw user share number because Windows powered 90.4%, not 100%, of all systems tallied by Net Applications. During October, Windows 10's share of all Windows devices climbed by 1.5 percentage points.

Net Applications' user share represented nearly 132 million Windows 10 PCs, assuming a total of 1.5 billion Windows devices globally, a figure that Microsoft regularly cites.

Microsoft has not publicized its own Windows 10 number since Oct. 6, when a top hardware executive said that 110 million devices were running the OS worldwide.

Net Applications' Windows 10 user share data showed the same broad trend as another analytics developer, Ireland's StatCounter, which has also depicted the OS's growth as slowing for the second month running. By StatCounter's measurements, Windows 10 gained 1.4 percentage points of usage share -- an activity indicator, as it counts web page views -- in October. However, StatCounter's numbers indicated that Windows 10's usage share growth had decelerated more sharply than did Net Application's, as the former pegged September's gain at 2.4 percentage points, a full point larger than October's.

Net Applications' numbers could also be used to render the slight slowdown in a different way: During October, an average of 706,000 devices were added to Windows 10's rolls daily. In September, the average daily increase was approximately 794,000 devices.

Even so, Windows 10 continued to grow faster than Windows 7 did during its first three months after release. That OS -- which until 10 had held the uptake record for a Windows edition -- accumulated an 8.2% share of all Windows personal computers through its third full month. The narrowing gap between Windows 7's and Windows 10's performance -- at the end of two months, it was 1 point -- was due to impressive gains by the former as customers purchased new PCs during and after the 2009 holiday season, when personal computers still flew off shelves.

With about 132 million devices now running Windows 10, Microsoft is 13.2% of the way toward making its goal of putting the OS on 1 billion systems by mid-2018.

If Microsoft and Windows 10 could keep up that pace -- which would be difficult, what with the explosive gains in 10's first month -- it would reach the 1 billion mark in June 2017. Microsoft is doing all it can to make that happen, including a controversial decision to automatically push the Windows 10 upgrade to most consumer and small business Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices in early 2016.

Number of PCs running Windows Oct., 2015 Data: Net Applications

Windows 10 powers about 132 million personal computers, or 68% and 56% of Windows XP's and Windows 8/8.1's numbers, respectively, but remains far behind the still-dominant Windows 7. 

This story, "Windows 10 powers 132M PCs as growth again decelerates" was originally published by Computerworld.

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