Windows 8 continues to fail

Windows 8 continues to fail

Summary: Microsoft can only hope that its re-invention of Windows 8, Windows 8.1 aka Blue, works because currently stats indicate Windows 8 lags behind even Vista's dismal market numbers.


The real take-away from Net Applications' May 2013 release of NetMarketShare monthly operating system statistics is that, as PC sales continue to collapse, Microsoft's Windows 8 could be a factor behind the plunge.

Windows 8 falls further behind Vista at similar points in their life-cycles. Numbers on the bottom reflect PC market share. (Data from NetMarketShare)

While Microsoft apologists focus on Windows continuing to be the dominant desktop operating system, they keep missing the two elephants in the room: Windows 8 continues to fall behind Microsoft's previous top operating system failure, Vista, and Windows is no longer the dominant end-user operating system when PCs, smartphones and tablets are considered.

True, on the desktop, Windows 7 still ranks as the top operating system with 44.85-percent of all PC users, followed by the still popular Windows XP with 37.74-percent. Vista—yes the never-loved Vista—comes in at third with 4.51 percent. Despite the fact that finding and buying Windows 7 PCs has become increasingly more expensive and difficult, just try finding one in a retail store, Windows 8 share is growing but still comes in last at 4.27 percent.

Worse still, Windows 8's month-over-month growth rate is lagging further and further behind Vista's dreadful 2007 adoption numbers. When comparing the operating systems when they were first launched, Windows 8's adoption rate in its first month trailed Vista by just over half-a-percent among PC buyers. Now, in their 8th month out, Vista's market-share numbers now lead Windows 8 by 3.64 percent. Needless to say, both lag far behind XP and Windows 7's numbers at similar points in their product life-cycle.

I suspect things will only get worse for Windows 8.1 (Blue). Windows 8.1, promises to address some of users' concerns about Windows 8. But will it address enough of them?

For example, if all the reborn Start Button does is give you another way into the unpopular Metro interface, will Windows XP and Windows 7 users really care? No matter how good Windows 8.1 turns out to be, it seems likely that businesses will hold off on buying any version of Windows 8 until Blue is available in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Some would argue that since NetMarketShare changes how they measure browsers and operating system market share from time to time based on changes in Central Intelligence (CIA) population data that you can't fairly compare NetMarketShare data from year-to-year, especially as far back as 2007.

You could argue, as  NetMarketShare rival StatCounter does, that  "Weighting stats means that the stats are only as good as the weighting methodology used. If the weighting data is inaccurate or out of date, then it renders the data completely incorrect." Further, StatCounter finds NetMarketShare's CIA-based data massasging to be "vague and inconsistent."

So why use NetMarketShare data at all? Because, for better or worse, it's the most commonly used metric for operating-system and Web-browser share. Thus, to the best of the available data, I'm trying to compare, if not identical apple to apple varieties then  Granny Smith to Red Delicious apples. While you can't expect it to be completely accurate, the numbers do indicate significant trends.

Can Windows 8.1 re-start Windows 8?

In the greater end-user market, as Mary Meeker, the well-regarded analyst and venture capitalist, pointed out in her May 2013 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' 2013 Internet Trends report, Windows is on the decline no matter how measure it. Apple iOS and Android now have the lion's share of computing devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, with 65-percent share over Windows' 35-percent. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Linux's founder, was on to something when he declared that Ubuntu Linux's first bug, that "Microsoft has a majority market" was now closed.

Modern versions of Windows are non-players on tablets and smartphones. (Credit: NetMarketShare)

NetMarketShare's mobile operating system statistics show Apple iOS holding the lead with a strong 59.49-percent, followed by Android with 24.4-percent. Java ME, with 10.2-percent and Symbian with 2.06-percent, which aren't even smartphone operating systems bring up the rear.  Below these  we find the once mighty Blackberry OS, with a mere 2.06-percent, and all combined versions of Windows Phone with a tiny 1.21-percent.

Microsoft's mobile operating system share is actually worse than it appears. None of its most recent smartphone/tablet operating systems, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 or RT. even breaks the 0.01-percent mark on NetMarketShare's mobile/tablet operating system market share chart. How bad it is that? Android 1.6, with 0.01-percent, does make the chart.

Some would argue that comparing mobile and desktop operating systems is like comparing apples and oranges. A more apt comparison is horses and cars. Both provide you with transportation. Experts say PCs and their operating systems are on their way out. Microsoft, a buggy-whip manufacturer, might disagree with this analogy.

Will Windows no longer matter? Of course not. Some users will always need PCs and most of them will stick with Windows. The question for Microsoft today is "Will anyone want Windows 8?"

Related Stories:

Topics: Windows 8, Windows, PCs, Tablets, Smartphones, Operating Systems, Microsoft, Linux, iOS, Android

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  • And you missed another elephant in the room

    The PC market is several hundred million units bigger than it was in 2007! Lower percentage, but much higher sales.

    Also I'd like to point out that Vista's adoption numbers weren't exactly dire anyway.
    • Yawn

      Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols keep wishing, hell why would you look at the facts, just bang away with your delusion... "fail" "needs a miracle" "apologists" "Worse still" "dreadful" "fallen" "lag" "worse" "despised" "analyst" "linux" bla bla. I have a great laugh when I read this comedy of errors, classic dribble... all from an applfite... MS is doing just fine folks...
      • sure sure

        so was hitler in 1945
        • Actually, Hitler wasn't doing all that well in 1945

          German and Allied forces were marching into Germany in late 1944, and he killed himself on our around 30 April, 1945. I assume your reply was to suggest that a.) Microsoft is the Hitler of computing and b.) giants eventually fall. B may be correct, but you should really research this stuff before looking like an idiot. As far as A is concerned, one could easily argue that Torvalds and Jobs are/were much more dictatorial.

          For the tl;dr in your native tongue: sudo apt-get install clue.
          • So much wit and win in that final line

          • From a different angle...

            "The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he, by peddling second rate technology, led them into it in the first place, and continues to do so today."

            --Douglas Adams
          • 'Think different'

            Leading customers out of chaos with second rate technology?
            Sounds like Apple's entire business strategy since 2007.
            Brenden Nickless
          • Hitler killed himself in 1945.

            That's the best thing he ever did.
        • Uhhh... no. He wasnt. He wasnt doing so well ever really.

          Your a poor student of history friend. Very poor.

          If one is to look back on the history of the second world war in its entierty, and one considers Hitlers long term plan, and what he did, it wasnt long after he started the whole mess he was beginning a long almost inevitable path to doom.

          A lot of things would have had to happen differently for him to have succeded. He was a very troubled man in a place of power who started a very troubled plan.
          • Try again...

            You completely missed the point of his post!
          • Boy. Are you out of it.

            I didnt miss his point at all.

            His point clearly was that he seemed to think Hitler was doing well in 1945 and his collapse was actually imminent. I can only gather from the relation of the post to which he answered, he believes Microsoft to be much in the same position. As loony as that opinion obviously is.

            My point was that hes dead wrong, and that Hitler was largely doomed to collapse from the word go given his plans and methods of implementation. Which of course is nothing like Microsofts situation at all; which only furthers the point that he hasnt a clue what hes talking about.

            Evidently, neither do you.
        • Godwin's Law strikes again!

          Rather amazing that it even works with articles that have nothing to do with politics.
          John L. Ries
          • Ya, but Goodwins Law isnt so intriguing at all.

            Goodwins law, that says the longer an online discussion goes on the more likely an analogy involving Hitler or the Nazi’s is going to come up is actually not such an interesting, and definitely not an amazing prediction; its actually obvious if one thinks about it. Good analogies that really strike home and are quickly understood by most people are in search of a subject to analogize that is typically fairly extreme. Hitler and the Nazi’s were extreme and well known. So many great and even simple analogies can be made with Hitler, and/or the Nazi’s; its too much of a gimme.

            Its not at all a surprise that because the longer an internet discussion goes on the more likely it is some idiot is going to say some simplistic and stupid thing that might only hold true in a small minority of instances and suddenly its begging for an analogy. Example:

            “You saying that some might say kicking the guys door in during the middle of the night wasn’t nice is like saying that some of the French thought the Nazi invasion into France was unpleasant.”

            “You saying that his bosses attitude towards other peoples rights is not always what it should be is something akin to saying Hitler’s attitude towards other countries autonomy wasn’t always appropriate.”

            Hitler and Nazi’s were not simply extreme, in most circles they are well known as examples of an individual and his followers to have exhibited extraordinary levels of extreme thoughts and actions over prolonged periods, so they jump out as the prime examples of what very extreme behavior is. To say the least. As a result, its not at all a surprise that where the longer a conversation goes on with the potential to bring in ever widening individuals into the discussion this will sooner or later generate a ludicrous comment or two that will beg to have a strong analogy put it to rest. That would practically point to Hitler and the Nazi’s as good examples for such an analogy.
      • Yawn - I see the MS apologists are out in force again!

        Nowhere in this article did SJVN put down MS; he simply stated the facts as shown by NetMarketShare.

        XP was popular, Vista wasn't. Win 7 was (and still IS) popular, Win 8 isn't. What exactly is it that you find so unpalatable about that?

        I bought Win 8 purely and simply because it was 1/10th the price of Win 7 (although not any more, sadly). I then paid for Start8 to "fix" Win 8. If I could have bought Win 7 at a decent price instead, I would have.

        BTW, the word is DRIVEL, not "dribble".
        Also, what the hell is an "applfite"???
        If you mean 'Apple-phile' then you are mistaken; SJVN prefers Linux to OS/X and Windows.
      • 8

        I've used everything since DOS except Windows 7. I can't say that Windows 8 is functionally better than Vista and I frankly preferred XP to either. It's not that I can't do the things I want to, it's that they take way too many steps. In addition, the computer is over-responsive and interferes with moving the mouse, typing, scrolling ets. Also, I'm having more crashes with Window 8 than XP. I think I'll try Ubuntu.
        Richard McCabe
    • Re: The PC market is several hundred million units bigger than it was in 20

      Yet it is a much smaller proportion of the total COMPUTER market than it was in 2007!
      • Well, yes.

        But does it matter a whole lot?

        People have got to get one thing if nothing else about that drilled into their head.

        Unless the very items that are making the computer marketplace a bigger computer marketplace are in FACT actually replacing Windows desktop and laptop PC's it dosnt really matter. WE KNOW as a fact that people still use XP in large numbers, we know, AS A FACT that businesses and residents still use computers much in the same way they always used to and that it appears very very few PC's of any kind have actually been "replaced" by a tablet or smartphone. We know PC sales are slumped due to people simply not needing a new PC, neither businesses or many consumers.

        So the fact there are more computers in this case is not a specific problem for Windows generally.

        While an extreme example, its like saying because they now put a Linux computer in your blender and toaster and doorknobs, it dosnt affect Windows desktop and laptop circumstances if its not actually replacing what they do.

        So, while accurate, its not like some huge part of the puzzle.

        If you think the people who make iPads and Android pads really are thinking they are close to toppling Windows, your wrong wrong wrong. They do not think that. Certainly not yet at all.

        What they are really concerned about is Microsoft now trying to get into the new market they have created for themselves and dont want MS powering their way in and trying to take that over as well. Thats their real concern right now.

        You really do have to understand how smart businesses think. If you are not replacing any Windows machines, and Microsoft is now trying to replace your sales in the tablet market and in the smartphone market, you would be an absolute idiot to turn your mind away from the reality to concentrate on the comletely imaginative situation of taking over from WIndows when thats not yet close to happening, but the reverse is what the actual threat is.
        • Re: But does it matter a whole lot?

          Yes. Margins may have been thin then, but they're positively homeopathic now. Look at the trouble HP and Dell are in: if two of the world's biggest PC OEMs can no longer make money from Windows, what does that say about the state of the entire business?
          • Oh, I agree.

            Its a huge problem and its not going away by conventional means. By that I mean, we are well past the stage where one can sell more computers simply by making them better. People have money to spend, but most people by far are not crazy tech heads who say to themselves "now is when I step up to own a six core i7 on a top of the line gaming motherboard with a huge SSD". It’s not going to start happening. Most people have a computer at home now that does everything pretty darn good for the price and people have money to spend but they are not going to spend it on something they already have. So they have been spending on iPads and smartphones.

            Fine. But none of that is going to either help or particularly hurt the PC market. nothing is going to ever permanently make the regular PC market what it once was. If everyone decided they needed a car, even from time to time only, but they really did need one, if cars were simply either wearing out every 2-3 years, or were getting SOOOO much better for the money every 2-3 years, you can generate a very good turn over sale base for a long time. But once they reach a state where you have one that dosnt appear to have any interest in wearing itself out any time soon, and what you have is more than good enough and whats new is not so improved that it can now do something you would like to do before but couldn’t, you wouldn’t buy a new car so soon. Or a new computer. And that’s not a situation that will ever just change.

            SO that’s where using the cloud to set up an environment of recurring billing comes in. Much better to bill people on a monthly basis for services and storage when things get to the point where selling them something to own is a sale you can only make once every 5-7 years.

            Make no mistake. All the software companies have seen the writing on the wall for awhile. They would rather retain real ownership by retaining all products in the cloud to begin with than to let you get your grubby paws on them in the first place, and just rent them out instead. Dont be surprised if when the new “cloud hardware” starts coming out its crap too for a long time. That way they get to start the hardware ownership cycle over again until it gets to a peak point again at some place in the future; so the softies win with recurring billing and the OEM’s win by providing a new brand of cloud hardware that’s crap compared to what it was the old way and needs upgrading every 2-3 years again for awhile.

            They all win! Except us. We pay. Not saying some will not think its great, but you really got to wonder.
    • The tablet elephant will trump the PC elephant by year's end

      Tablet sales will overtake PC sales by the end of this year. Sales of tablets with Windows 8 are extremely weak.

      Hundreds of millions of PCs and Windows laptops are used less and less. They will be replaced by more convenient (for most of the time) tablets.

      Guess what is another elephant as far as tablets are concerned? Apps. Number and quality of the apps.