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.
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.
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.
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?"