A very slow start for Windows 8

There's no doubt about it--with Windows 8, Microsoft has a tough job on its hands.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

Remember the launch of Windows 7? Microsoft staff were keen to ask us to put Vista behind us and move on. On launch day, October 22nd, 2009, 66 percent of us were still using Windows XP, even though it was eight years old. Less than a quarter of us had made the move to Vista.

From that perspective, Windows 7 was an easy sell. It righted the wrongs of the past and gave our PCs a much needed update. Hardly surprising then that 2.21 percent of us were using it on launch day, and one month later, it had taken almost 5 percent of the market. In that month, Windows XP users — the ones who weren't game to try Vista — were quick to move to the new system.

This time around, there's no such latent demand. Windows 7 is only three years old, it's pretty solid and we're used to the way it works — and 26 percent of us are still using Windows XP.

Windows 8 has come along as an unknown entity, asking us to change the way we use our PC. No surprise then that at launch, the new OS had just 0.46 percent of the browser market and one month later, that had risen to just 1.31 percent. It's a hellishly slow start.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)

The figures come from Statcounter, which tracks user data from more than 3 million websites. The numbers are a telling indication of Microsoft's challenge in staying ahead in the race to give us the operating system of our dreams. Sure, they still hold 86 percent of the market, but that's quite a slide from the 95 percent of just four years ago.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)

The Microsoft challenge is bigger in some parts of the world than others. In Apple-loving Australia, Microsoft's share of the OS market has fallen to 76 percent. It's only a tad higher in the UK.

Will you be learning the Windows 8 way this Christmas? If it all seems a bit daunting after you have unwrapped the gleaming new laptop on December 25th, our sister-site CNET UK has a useful "how to" guide that explains how you can make Windows 8 look and work exactly like Windows 7.

So much for progress.

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