Windows 8 Uptake Needle Sticks As Growth Stalls

Windows 8's uptake stalled in November, while the now-aging Windows 7 continued to gain ground, a Web metrics company said Sunday.

By Gregg Keizer
Mon, December 02, 2013

Computerworld

Microsoft, Windows 8
Windows 8's uptake stalled in November, while the now-aging Windows 7 continued to gain ground, a Web metrics company said Sunday.

According to Net Applications, Windows 8's share, which included the free Windows 8.1 update, remained at 10.2% of all Windows-powered computing devices last month. It was the first time since Windows 8's October 2012 launch that the operating system's uptake needle got stuck, and the third-consecutive month of slowing increases after a big jump in August 2013.

The uptake interruption may simply be that: a pause in purchases as customers waited to buy devices for gifts. Or it could indicate a more serious problem for Microsoft, which has committed to the radical overhaul of its world-leading OS, and to a new strategy revolving around devices and services rather than software.

Within the combined Windows 8 and 8.1 user share, the 2012 original's portion again declined as users flocked to this year's update: By the end of November, Windows 8.1 accounted for 28% of the total, up from the 19% in October.

With a month of running to stay in place, Windows 8 lost some of its lead over Windows Vista, the 2007 flop. When each operating system's share was compared 13 months after their respective launches, Vista accounted for 8.9% of all Windows PCs, having narrowed the gap between it and Windows 8 by seven-tenths of a percentage point.

Windows 8 remained far behind Windows 7 at the latter's 13-month mark. At that point, Windows 7 powered 21.7% of all Windows systems, and was still showing no sign of slowing customer adoption.

In fact, Windows 7 grew its user share last month, adding two-tenths of a percentage point to end November at 46.6% of all computer operating systems, and at 51.3% of those running a flavor of Windows.

Another troubling sign for Microsoft in Net Applications' November numbers was the continued deceleration of Windows XP's decline. The 12-year-old OS, which will be retired in April when Microsoft issues its final public security update, remained stuck at 31.2% of all computer operating systems, and slipped just one-tenth of a percentage point to 34.4% when only Windows machines were considered.

Microsoft has been aggressively urging customers to dump Windows XP before it hits retirement, citing, among other things, increased security risks. A discovery of a new unpatched vulnerability -- or "zero-day" bug -- in Windows XP, which was confirmed by Microsoft last week, added to that drumbeat.

Windows continued to run the overwhelming majority of personal computers -- 90.9% -- last month, an increase of two-tenths of a percentage point over October, while Apple's OS X slipped to 7.6% in November and Linux dropped half of one-tenth of a point to end the month under 1.6%.

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