Windows 8 edges to 3.84 percent share; still fails to spark

Windows 8 edges to 3.84 percent share; still fails to spark

Summary: The good news is that Windows 8 is increasing in market share each month. The bad news is that its gains are minimal and its overall share remains in low single figures.


Windows 8 has gained less than a percentage point on last month to 3.84 percent, according to the latest figures by Net Applications.

Microsoft's operating system may be struggling to gain share in the PC market, but during April every other Windows version declined in market share slightly. It's little surprise considering the damp state of the PC market, following the news that global PC shipments plunged to record lows

Windows 7 declined as little as 0.01 percentage points and Windows Vista declined by 0.24 percentage points.

In strangely good news for Microsoft, Windows XP declined by 0.42 percentage points. However, this marginal decline is far from the levels Microsoft would be hoping for at this point, with less than a year until it cuts support for the 12-year-old operating system altogether.

Back to Windows 8, the figure most are interested in.

Taking a look at where Windows 8 has gone in the past six months (taking into account the software's pre-release months before it was finally stocked on store shelves), Windows 8 is gaining a steady stream of share each month, but it's failing to take hold of the wider PC market as Windows 7 did during its first few months of release.

The figures were broken down further into three parts: Windows 8 held 3.82 percent, while touch-screen based Windows 8 devices and Windows RT devices came in at 0.02 percent and  0.00 percent respectively. (Yes, that's three zeroes.)

(Image: Net Applications)

Here's what Windows 8's share trend looks like (note the numbers on the left hand side):

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 09.12.24
Windows 8 share gains since release. (Image: Net Applications)

Note that just three months after release, Windows 8 had about 2 percent market share. By the time Windows 7 was released in October 2009, it had already gained more than 2 percent in market share, largely attributed to its predecessor's market failing.

By April 2010, six months after release, Windows 7 already had about 12 percent market share. Windows 8 currently has less than a third of this share. 

There are two thoughts to consider:

Windows 7 is the new Windows XP: With Vista's failings, many took Windows 7 as Vista 2.0, without the bulk and the baggage that went along with its predecessor. Many held onto Windows XP as a result and didn't upgrade to the latest software, instead holding out for the following version. When Windows XP support expires in April 2014, many will jump to Windows 7 because support ends in 2020, giving many businesses time to breathe.

Windows Blue is expected later this year: Because Windows 8 has been seen as a failure by some, Microsoft is ramping up its next-generation Windows Blue operating system, seen as "Windows 8.1." As many haven't taken to Windows 8's new user aesthetic, it's expected that some traditional features will return over time, perhaps even the Start menu. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley expects Windows Blue to be released in some way, shape or form later this year.

Topics: Operating Systems, Windows, Windows 8

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  • Windows

    oh man thats gonna be looking nice with Win 7 having 80 percent market share next year
    Laurin Krystyn
    • Windows 7 isn't Vista... and that's the difference...

      When Windows 7 was released (and even before it was officially released), people were dumping Vista and switching to Windows 7. As Windows 7's market share rocketed up, Vista's plummeted downward. It was just as much about how much people disliked Vista as about how much they liked Windows 7.

      Now, because Windows 7 is ridiculously popular, most consumers don't see a reason to upgrade... so Windows 7 isn't bleeding market share the way Vista was. And, therefore, Windows 8's market share increases aren't as astronomical as Windows 7's were. (Not to mention all the negative press that has been aimed at Windows 8.)

      The reality is that Windows 8 was designed for tablets, and so long as Microsoft is gaining tablet market share in tablets, then Windows 8 is doing its job. And according to Strategy Analytics, it is doing just that--Windows 8 grabbed 7.5% of tablet sales in the last quarter... which is pretty impressive.
      • Windows 7 isn't Vista, Windows 8 is

        When you try to move all your desktop user to tablet by forcing them to have a tablet user interface even on desktop, you make the customer unhappy. Vista with all it's flaws is actually easier for the normal windows user than Windows 8. In tablets they are and will continue to be insignificant. Going from 0% to anything else is now a big accomplishment. Oem are dropping windows tablet because they are not selling, Surface line alone will not support Microsoft's future.
        • Windows 8 beautifully fast

          I was a die hard 7 fanboy until I got used to Windows 8, no going back to that bloated slow loading, sluggish Win 7.
          • Have you ever tried these little things called SSDs?

            My Windows Server 2008 R2 (workstation) boots in a few seconds. Same for all my Windows 7 installations.
          • No comparison

            I upgraded a windows 7 Asus Eee Slate to windows 8 and windows 8 is a better performer. In case you are wondering it has an SDD.
          • Fantasy

            I have a quad core I7 with a SSD and was using Windows 7. While I liked Windows 7 it did not load fast. Windows 8 does load fast, much faster than Window 7. All my programs load faster with Windows 8 than Windows 7. Will Windows 8.1 features make me like Windows 8 better? You bet, improvements are always welcome.
          • Inability

            Yours in particular to tune your system may generate this false speed difference. But overall the differences are not that noticeable for everyday use. But if it makes you feel better, why not, believe whatever you want.
          • Speed isn't enough

            Yes, Windows 8 boots faster and seems to operate a little smoother. Is that enough to get me to switch? No. Everything else about Windows 8 is too much of a pain. Metro on the desktop is just horrible, making even the most simple task such as shutting down your computer or rebooting significantly more steps. Can I install classic shell and do other things to attempt to normalize Win8, Sure, but I still am forced to contend with Metro which has no business on a desktop. I don't want to jump through hoops just to bring some level of sanity back to my OS.

            Win8's marketshare is still very very low. Where is the marketshare coming from? Two places really - die hard Microsoft fans who make love to anything MS creates no matter how horrid (pre-metro Windows smartphones and Vista come to mind) and big box stores where buying a new PC means you get Windows 8 with no option for Windows 7. In the second category, I have heard NOTHING but complaints regarding Windows 8 usability.

            Outside of the first category and people in the second category getting stuck winth Windows 8 just because they are not offered a choice, Windows 8 is really quite dead in the marketplace. I'd be willing to bet that not ONE Fortune 1000 business (besides Microsoft itself) has announced a Windows 8 migration.
      • Windows 8 is terriable...that is the differance

        So let me get this straight, MS needs to have a complete loser of an OS for the next OS to be a success? I would have loved to been at that marketing meeting. Well I guess the next OS is set to be a hit because 8 is nothing less then a terrible, rushed, poorly thought out, square peg in a round hole OS.

        Windows 7 is popular because in gives the users what they want and need while W8 does not. The excuses you give that MS is doing well in the Pad market so it is OK to fail in the desktop market is very poor thinking at several levels. MS's bread and butter is the desktop market, in time pads and desktops will reach and equilibrium and MS needs to own that desktop market. Their pad sales are still not great and the report you quoted stated shipped units, not units in use. MS has history of shipping out units that sit in warehouses and then reporting them as market share. In reality they still have a weak offering in the pad market with little software, poor distribution, confusing marketing and immature products. They need the desktop market. They need to correct the errors made with W8 and fast.
        • Yeah, most wouldn't give 7.5% terribly great marks

          that's a fairly distant third place. Sacrificing the desktop hegemony for that number is Pyrrhic at best.
          • Gaining?

            :Windows 8 is gaining a steady stream of share each month"
            Of course it's "gaining"
            Impossible to buy anything but laptops/desktops loaded with Windows 8 in retail stores.
            Same for online sellers.
            Unless one KNOWS to go to the "business" section of a seller (and most people don't know it) and order a PC with Windows 7.
          • Feel sorry for people who can't look around!

            Plenty of places both here in Australia and America that still offer Windows 7.
            I've got one in our shop now that I ordered for a customer after discussing his needs. But hey, continue to believe your own FUD!
          • Windows 8 Sales

            The majority of Windows 8 sales have been upgrades by current Windows users, not new PC purchases. One of the biggest drags on new PC sales are because we as a nation have less spending power than we did in the nineties.
          • Also

            Because most people do not give a dmn about the touch screen hoopla on their desktops/laptops and Windows 8 looks like crp in those devices.
        • Re: KBabcock75

          You said, "8 is nothing less then a terrible, rushed, poorly thought out, square peg in a round hole OS." According to an associate working on the CE project, Windows 8 was about 5 years in the making. It had the longest running Beta of any software to date. So, what is the basis of your comment? Windows 8 is optimized (not designed specifically for) handheld devises, however, it has provisions for desktop use, too. Many people have posted throughout the Internet how they are using Windows 8 on a standard desktop configuration - no touch needed. Yet, too many continue the FUD and anti-Windows 8 smear campaign that began well before the first Beta was released.

          Windows 7 is still so popular because many corporations have just recently completed their rollout, or are still in the process. A large portion of home/small business users are still upgrading from XP. With the economy as it is, people aren't very willing to upgrade so soon. Windows 7 has the familiar look that has been around since Windows 95 - an OS that also met a lot of resistance because it was so much different from Windows 3. People don't like something new and different - they resist change (which is true regarding every market). These factors will continue to keep Windows 7 popular.

          If you read some other articles, you will find that Windows (all versions) are only about a quarter of Microsoft's revenue sources. They don't "need" the desktop, but they would be hurt with its loss.

          Looking at the whole PC/Windows market, desktops would be the smallest demand for a new OS, even if Windows 8 kept the sacred start button/menu and had the option to boot directly to the Desktop. There's no compelling reason to upgrade.

          Microsoft currently has backward compatibility for legacy hardware and software. If the reports are accurate, it looks like they will be including backward compatibility for legacy users, too. [NOTE: access to DOS has been part of Windows since 3 first came out.]

          According to those I know who work for/with Microsoft, Windows 8 was an all-out effort to provide a common look and feel across all platforms - a goal the other OS developers are trying to achieve, but at a slower pace. Multiple articles have indicated that mobile workers want such a common interface (read about BYOD).

          You need to look beyond your individual, or limited corporate, use of a computer and see what the greatest majority of users are demanding.
          • From Hero to Zero in 6 months

            “You need to look beyond your individual, or limited corporate, use of a computer and see what the greatest majority of users are demanding.”

            And you need to learn how to read numbers and then you will understand what people really want.

            So either you are numerically challenged (or just a shill) to admit that Windows 8 is and remains a failure.

            In either case please come up with more creative excuses because you are just repeating the marketing messages we are hearing for the past 6 months.

            And BTW the developers did not fall for the WinRT trap, better luck next time.
          • see what the greatest majority of users are demanding

            Well, if that was the case, Windows 8 sales would be going great... We would be reading over and over again how great it is...
            BUT.... We're not...
            Windows 8 is not doing well.... no matter how much people want to try to belive it's a good OS.
            Chimera Obscura
          • Wrong, Wrong, Wrong


            First, a little clarification / history lesson. DOS has not been a part of Windows since version 3; it has been a part of Windows since 95. Windows 3.x, and all previous versions, were not even full operating systems but rather they were just programs that ran on top of DOS (remember having to add "win" to the end of your autoexec.bat file?). Secondly, you could not be more wrong about Windows 95. There might have been a few luddites who did not like Windows 95 because it didn't look like 3.x, but the vast majority of users were extremely excited about it. Software stores around the world actually opened at midnight to allow people to buy it and it was extremely well received.

            It is painfully obvious that you do not have a strong grasp on history.

            As a life-long Microsoft supporter, it would be impossible for me to be more disappointed with Windows 8. I wanted to like it more than just about anyone. I tried to like it. However, I absolutely cannot stand it. It feels like using a computer with a straight jacket on, and for that reason I will never upgrade to a newer version of Windows so long as the abomination of the interface formerly known as Metro is in any way a part of the OS. I will sooner fully abandon the platform than embrace that god-forsaken interface.

            Now, before you start telling me about the fact that the Desktop is still part of the interface, that is besides the point. For now the Desktop is still there...for now. It is pretty obvious that Microsoft believes the "Modern" interface is the future and is going to try to further entrench that horrid excuse for an interface.

            Microsoft's vision is that some day all Windows software will be purchased through their store, with them keeping 20 to 30% of the profit. As a software developer, this is a tremendously offensive notion. Their vision is that every damn "app" will run full screen with information density so low your 27 inch screen might as well be a cell phone. You might be able to use a mouse with Windows 8, but it is anything but optimized for it. I never, ever run any apps full screen, as I am continually multi-tasking. I will be dammed if I'm going to allow Microsoft to redefine the way I work in order to realize their ridiculous "unified operating system" wet dream.

            Up until this point when Microsoft tells us "this is the way your operating system will now work" they have been right. Listening to Windows 8 supporters talk about "embracing the future" it is obvious people believe Microsoft still has this power. They do not. I strongly suspect Windows 8 is the beginning of the end for them. They are too prideful to change, and Steve Ballmer is too damn stupid to understand.

            Finally, this absurd notion perpetuated by Microsoft and parroted by people such as yourself that people want a "common interface" is complete and total bull$h!t. My computer runs Windows 7 and my phone is an Android device. Not once have I ever looked at my computer and thought "I really wish this looked more like my phone" or vice versa. They are different devices and justify different interfaces. The only one that benefits is Microsoft and they have been sabotaging themselves for years to try to make that a reality. Several years back, before the Kindle came out Microsoft engineers came up with a break though e-reader. Why didn't Microsoft release it? The interface didn't look enough like Windows. Microsoft had a major jump on Apple or Google in the smart phone market. Why did they fail? They insisted their mobile OS look like their desktop one. They had a truly revolutionary Courier tablet but killed it off. Why? In Bill Gates own words: the engineers who created it wanted to "f*** Windows" since that device did not run Windows. Microsoft has dug their own grave with this insane insistence of "Windows everywhere". If they don't make some major changes in a few years it will be "Windows nowhere".
          • You are totally right

            With a small addition, Windows everywhere is possible when it comes to the kernel/core OS and they are getting there by modularizing the core OS.

            But as you said, Windows everywhere from a UI perspective, it makes no sense whatsoever. Every device has to have a specialized UI to take advantage or work around limitations, of each form factor.

            Anybody who believes that the UI should be the same on all devices are either a shill repeating marketing messages, or have no idea about UI design, or just mentally retarded. I personally classify Webminotaur in either the first or the last category.