Windows 8 share remains low, shows modest gains each month

Summary:Three months after Windows 8 was made available, its share still remains in the low single-digits, but is rising steadily month on month.

Windows 8's market share remains low, but continues to rise modestly month on month, according to new monthly figures out of trend analytics firm Net Applications.

According to the figures, Windows 8 has only a 2.26 percent share of the desktop operating system market. Windows 7 has, by comparison, just shy of 44.5 percent of the market after being out for more than four years, and is slowly falling each month.

Before you get either disheartened—or gleeful, depending on where your loyalties lie—while Microsoft's share of its latest operating system remains slow by comparison, the share trend shows that it's rapidly increasing. Compared to Windows 7's first few months off of the product line, that's a different story.

By January 2010—granted, a slightly longer time frame as it had been out for three more months—Windows 7 already had an 7.7 percent market share. 

That's a 57 percent increase from November to December, and a 31 percent increase from December to January. On the whole, it shows that Windows 8 is selling relatively well—just perhaps not as well as Windows 7 did off the starting post.

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 08.37.24
(Credit: Net Applications)

Does it mean Windows 8 will rocket in January sales? Or, has Windows 8 failed to make much impact on the desktop market, albeit partly due to a rise in post-PC devices? 

Windows 8, at just 2.26 percent, equates to around 60 million licenses —roughly, at least. In just 42 days, Microsoft sold an additional 20 million licenses. It's not bad, but the figures were not broken down by desktop PC versus Surface tablet, and the 60 million figure did not include Enterprise Agreement or volume license sales.

An uptake in mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, are the most likely cause of the sluggish PC market over the past few quarters. Windows 8 has not yet made any significant impact in its bid to shock the PC manufacturing business into some kind of heartbeat. 

The latest versions of Mac OS X accounted for more than 6.4 percent of the total market share, trouncing Vista's meager 5.24 percent in the market share pie. It falls in line with strong annual sales of Apple's range of Macs, despite  recent first-quarter figures  showing that Apple sold only 4.1 million Macs, down 1.1 million from the same quarter a year ago.

Despite the much-loathed Windows Vista—now more than six years old—still retains a usage share of 5.24 percent. That is higher than the share of the two most recent OS X versions combined: Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) and Lion (OS X 10.7) together account for only 4.2 percent of all Web usage in the desktop PC segment.

Topics: Windows, Browser, Operating Systems

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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