Windows 8 users ignoring 'Modern/Metro' apps: Soluto

Windows 8 users ignoring 'Modern/Metro' apps: Soluto

Summary: According to a report released by PC management service provider Soluto, Windows 8 users are launching, on average, only 1.52 Windows 8 apps per day.

TOPICS: Windows 8, Microsoft

One of the cornerstones of Microsoft's revamp of the Windows operating system was building app support into the Windows 8's 'Modern' user interface (previously called 'Metro'). Microsoft believed that these apps, along with the app store, would offer users new and novel ways to interact with their PC, and put the operating system on an equal footing with OS X, Android, and iOS, which also have dedicated app stores. But a report by PC management service provider Soluto suggests that Windows 8 users are shunning these apps.

The report, which is based on data collected from 10,848 Windows 8 machines and 313,142 Modern app launches across 9,634 unique apps, suggests that Windows 8 users are turning to apps, on average, 1.52 times a day. Breaking this down by type indicates that tablet users are the heaviest app users, launching them 2.71 times per day, while touch-screen notebook users launch 47 percent more apps than those on a standard notebook.

Desktop users make the least use of Modern apps. 

(Source: Soluto)

Soluto crunched the data further, and took a closer look at those who launch fewer than one Modern app a day. Here, the company noticed that a staggering 60 percent of users launch an app less than once a day. Even when it comes to tablet users, the heaviest users of Windows 8 apps according to Soluto, 44 percent of those sometimes go a day without launching an app.  

(Source: Soluto)

So, it seems that despite being thrown into the Start Screen, Windows 8 users are, on the whole, turning their backs on Modern apps and instead using traditional applications.

Of the apps that users run the most, nine out of 10 of them are made by Microsoft, the only exception being the Netflix app, which takes the #8 spot. This will come as worrying news to third party app developers who were hoping that Microsoft's app store will help them rake in cash.

(Source: Soluto)

Things are a little better when it comes to the most engaging apps. While the list continues to be dominated by Microsoft apps, we also see apps from Yahoo! and a number of game developers. At the top of the list is the Yahoo! Mail app, and in the #2 and #3 spots are two social networking apps made by Asus.

As someone who has been using Windows 8 for a long time (going back to when early builds were being leaked onto the web), I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about Modern apps. While the idea is sound, and they make sense on Windows RT tablets which can't run standard x86 apps, on desktop and notebook systems they feel very limited in what they can do. Primarily this comes down to the fact that Modern apps are forced to run in full-screen mode, which limits their use. Another problem I find is that Modern apps put style over function, and the density of the data being display on-screen is low.

Even in a content consumption scenario, you have to devote your entire system to one app, rather than being able to tile applications and multitask. Even simple tasks such as copying and pasting data — such as a password — from one app to another is extremely tedious.

Why bother running a Windows machine if I'm limited to one app like I am on an iPad? The biggest advantage of Windows over iOS is that it offers a powerful, functionality-rich platform. Modern apps hobble Windows, and essentially make it pointless to run Windows in the first place.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft

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  • Off the scale

    I spend 6 to 8 hour a day work and play on a windows computer or a Surface RT. I use at least 10 metro apps a day including IE10 metro, NewsRepublic, Xbox music, YouTube RT, PowerDVD metro and games. So I guess I don't fit in this survey.
    • Same here...

      I use IE 10 on my W8 tablet for a couple of hours a day. I also have Firefox and Chrome installed, but where IE 10 is lightning fast in its response to touch, Chrome and Firefox are sluggish, if they respond at all.

      On my laptop, I use Firefox most of the time, but they need to put in a lot of work on performance and touch friendliness.

      Likewise, I use a lot of Modern app, both on my tablet and laptop. I find the Bing News app is very good. Depsite using multiple windows on my laptop and my iMac, I find that the full screen mode on the laptop and tablet is great for Bing News, because you aren't distracted.
      • Not the same target group

        The computers observer by Soluto had a specialized userbase. Out of that userbase, it seems only 8.5 % ever used the Video application (the default to open videos) or the Music app (the default to open Music). 92.5% have not once opened a video and 92 % have not once opened an audio file with the default applications. I'll make a guess that these are the same 92% in both cases. Interestingly, 7.7% installed netflix.

        This indicates a heavy focus on corporate and a defined set of applications that are to be used.
        • Arrgh, numbers

          Should be 91.5 % that have not once opened a video, not 92.5 %. And I'd very much appreciate if zdnet had an edit function like cnet does.
          • How can you corect data that you did not collect?

            I suggest a career in politics? .... lol
            Kieron Seymour-Howell
        • I think...

          I've opened the video app once and never opened the music app - or any other music program.

          I use Audible most of the time.
        • I am laughing at the irony

          Well, this puts into demographics and research what I knew within the first ten minutes of seeing the Metro (RT) UI .... it is a scam that most people who actually "need a REAL computer" will never use.

          I would bet that the few people that did open a video had it happen by default, and once they saw the minimalist childish interface, they immediately stopped the playback, and sought out some other means to play media. LOL
          Kieron Seymour-Howell
      • IW10, is fast well-written code But...

        Not being able to drag and drop, or interact with the UI with something that actually allows you to work offline, reduces this to a content consumption program, that is interesting, but not very productive, unless you work online only (blogging or writing amusing articles for instance), and even then, you are limited to only one window open at a time.... one step forwards, three steps back for productivity.... *laughs* I suppose you can always use a browser UI to use remote desktop.... you can do that, RT is excellent for that, until you have to deal with the file manager... LOL

        Oh how entertained I am right now at the stats in this article ... very amusing indeed ... :D

        Ahh, the irony!
        Kieron Seymour-Howell
    • Re: So I guess I don't fit in this survey.

      Maybe people like you should buy 2 or 3 Windows 8 PCs each. It would help prop up Microsoft's sagging sales.
    • I launch 0.000172 apps per day

      Don't fit? You're a statistical freak.
  • Huh?

    44.38% of tablet users use Metro apps? Something smells fishy here...
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Always trust Soluto statistics to be twisted to get more clicks.

      The purpose of Soluto statistics is to make people aware Soluto exists. Their 'results' need to generate clicks. It's advertisement, not reseach.

      They only measure the use by their customers that have Soluto installed, which probably gives a focus on business users who use the applications corporate wants them to use.
      People who don't use the tablet daily will not use a Metro app daily. People in corporate will probably not use the device on weekends. You can't install Soluto on Windows RT, the tablet OS.
      • Soluto, eh... seems legit

        There's nothing on their web page that mentions where they got their 10,000 PCs so it's hard to say whether its a representative sample or not, statistically speaking. At the beginning of May there were reports of 100 mill licenses sold. We know that's not "active users" but it also puts Soluto's sample at somewhere around the 0.01% mark or 5 people in a football stadium.

        And as you say, the more controversial the report, the more media exposure, the more clicks to their website, and the more money for them. What are the chances the report is slanted? Pretty good I'd say.
        • Saluto

          provides a software tool for monitoring the health of a PC. I used to have it on my laptop, but don't remember where or how I got it - that was several years ago. If I remember right, it monitors the system for crashes and other events, then sends them to a central server for analysis (Israel I think).
        • Rubbish

          The sample size to population size ratio is NOT a constant, so it is NOT the same as "5 people in a football stadium".

          Why do you comment on stuff you do not understand?
          • Define application launch

            Windows 8 applications may run forever. They will go between running and suspended as long as the system has enough resources. So what exactly is "Metro app launch"?

            According to documentation, "An app is launched whenever it is activated by the user but the process is in the NotRunning state, because it was just deployed, it crashed, or it was suspended but could not be kept in memory." (

            So for most applications one well runningn system "launch" happens much less frequently than application resume.
      • re: Always trust Soluto statistics to be twisted to get more clicks.

        I trust Soluto's statistics more than your opinion .
    • Many tablets have more than RT only OS

      Many tablets do actually have the desktop as well, obviously, they are referring to those systems. If you only have Windows RT, instead of Surface Pro, or Windows 8, then obviously you are confined to using ONLY Metro apps....

      Is it really necessary for me to actually explain this? .... WOW..... it boggles the mind.
      Kieron Seymour-Howell
  • Well then

    " Modern apps hobble Windows, and essentially make it pointless to run Windows in the first place."

    Then don't. It's not like Microsoft is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to use Windows.

    That said, Metro/Modern/Store apps don't have to put design over function. That's entirely the developers choice. Sure, it seems that most pick the default pages in Visual Studio, spread a few controls around and call it an app, but no one is forcing them to do that.

    Also, I'm not really sure how Soluto counts "lauches", because I go several days without actually "launching" any app and still use quite a few (Internet Explorer, XBox Music, Social NV, Mail and Kindle being the top). I just leave them open all the time, but maybe that's just me.

    And, who uses Soluto anyway?
    Carlos da Fonseca
    • Not just you

      I use them the same way.