back to article Windows 8.1 market share grows, Windows 7 slips, Windows 10 lurks

If it's the first week of the month (and it is) that makes it time to have a look at desktop OS market share as calculated by Netmarketshare and Statcounter. This month, both outfits recorded a small dip in Windows 7 usage. Netmarketshare has it dropping from 58.39 per cent to 57.76 per cent of observed traffic hitting the …

  1. Timmy B

    Perhaps people have realised...

    ... that Windows 8.1 isn't all that bad after all. Once you get beyond the FUD cast liberally about just because of the start screen there is a good stable operating system there. More and more PCs are hybrid/tablets nowadays and that seems to be the way things are going and for these Windows 8.1 is just brilliant. Though I doubt the Reg will ever see it that way.....

    1. tabman
      Thumb Up

      Re: Perhaps people have realised...

      Timmy, have an upvote. Well said.

    2. dogged

      Re: Perhaps people have realised...

      We're on 8.1 at work simply because the multi-monitor support is so much better.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps people have realised...

        I used Windows 8.1 on a laptop that didn't have a touch screen, and it's without doubt the worst experience I've ever had.

        I own an ASUS T100 which has Windows 8.1 on it, but has a touch screen. I absolutely love used it.

        Moral of the story: an OS that relies on being felt up doesn't work when used with a mouse only.

        OP, have a +1 from me.

        1. AceRimmer

          Re: Perhaps people have realised...

          "I used Windows 8.1 on a laptop that didn't have a touch screen, and it's without doubt the worst experience I've ever had."

          I've got a non-touch screen laptop and I honestly don't see how people can find it to be so bad.

          I spent all of 10 minutes dropping the default tiles from the start screen and adding tiles for programs which I actually use in a sensible order and grouping and now 90% of everything I use is a windows key/button and mouse click away.

          Everything else is still simply Windows key and then type out the first few letters.

          The only "Apps" I use are the Control panel and the default PDF reader.

          What I still really don't like about Windows 8.1 is the DPI scaling, This needs to be a lot more configurable including the option to turn it off completely.

          Apparently it's still not been improved for Windows 10

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps people have realised...

          I was showing a gentleman earlier tonight the hows of Windows 8.1 without a touch screen on a laptop and he got it right away. BTW, he's in his mid '70's and completely non-technical. True, we both would prefer a touch screen with 8.1 but you gotta get it done at the end of the day and so we did.

          My laptop is touch but when I use Windows 8.1 or 2012 R2 or no R2 on one of my other machines, I plug in a 20" touch screen. Bought it on NeweggFlash. Oh myyy. Even a plugable USB touch pad is a major improvement.

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: Perhaps people have realised...

          What, precisely, did you find so difficult to accomplish on the laptop without touch? If I want to launch a program, I tap the Windows key and type the first couple of letters and return, it launches it faster that way that moving up and down a Start menu ever did. Even if you for some reason have an absolute aversion to using the keyboard, the Start Screen can easily hold around thirty tiles on even a laptop screen, grouped by function, so unless you're commonly using that many which I doubt, it's the same move to lower left (though again, I tap the Windows key) as you would with Windows 7 and then select the program you want. You don't even have to dig through sub-folders.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Perhaps people have realised...

            I like a start menu. I've gotten used to using them over the years, and I like them. The default windows 8.1 'start menu' basically fills one of my screens. A full screen start menu? No thanks. I find this to be a little daffy I'm afraid. Kudos to those who like the 8.1 interface, but you clearly are way less set in your ways than me. I want my start menu. I think I'm not alone here either, as the number, and popularity of replacement start menus for win 8 probably shows. I'm happy for touch lappy / tablet users who Win 8 is designed for, but I'm a traditional desktop user, mouse, keyboard, 2 monitors. For me the standard win 8 interface is rubbish.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps people have realised...

      >... that Windows 8.1 isn't all that bad after all.

      No the problem is that you can only buy a laptop/desktop PC with Windows 7 (business channel) or Win 8.1(all channels). So if you are in the market for a new PC you basically have to take what is given, or buy Apple... Aside: I suspect that if Linux-based systems were on sale in the high st. in places like PC World, they would attract some sales.

      Hence I suspect people (in general) are simply living with it and getting on with life, knowing that in a few years (or months now) that it will be replaced and that one will also get replaced in a couple of years...

      (Yes there will be a Windows 11, 12, etc. because MS will need to announce something 'new' to the market to drum up business.)

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: Perhaps people have realised...

        > if Linux-based systems were on sale in the high st. in places like PC World, they would attract some sales.

        They are called Android and Chromebooks, and yes they do.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps people have realised... @Richard Plinston

          I was actually referring to 'normal' desktop Linux distro's, that are more directly comparable to Windows.

          But since you mention Android and Chromebooks, I do note that in both these device categories MS are playing catchup.

    4. MysteryGuy

      Re: Perhaps people have realised...

      > More and more PCs are hybrid/tablets nowadays and that seems to be the way things

      > are going and for these Windows 8.1 is just brilliant.

      But there is still a need to do 'real' work, where tablets/hybrids aren't suitable to replace desktop productivity system. I think MS are sacrificing desktop usability in their rush to assume desktop PC's are no longer needed.

      There are many reasons you might not like Windows 8, not just complaints about the start button... Overall I think Windows 8/10 is an inferior experience to Windows 7 for desktop productivity:

      *) MS wants to move us all to a 'walled garden' (like Apple) where the users are more easily controlled. They control what can be sold, and then get a cut of it all.

      *) I don't like the Metro 'dumbed' down graphics style from an aesthetics perspective. And wasn't MS recently complaining that the developers for App. store icons were using icons that were too 'non differentiating'? It seems to me that the whole Metro style is flat, boring, excess simplicity by its design..

      *) The flat Metro style also seems to result in low information density, inferior usability panels.

      *) Reduced privacy with the 'you should always be logged on to MS central' attitude. (The Windows 10 preview was incredulous that I wanted to log on locally... after I was able to find out how to do it in the first place...). But, I guess they're afraid if I'm not logged on constantly, how will I be buying their apps?

      *) I don't want a 'touch' interface on my 24 inch monitor... If I don't want to touch my monitor, I also don't want to make 'touch gestures' with my mouse either.

      It seems to me that the whole Windows 8/10 push is reinventing the wheel in an 'optimized only for mobile' way at the cost of Desktop usability.

      1. azaks

        Re: Perhaps people have realised...

        >> I think MS are sacrificing desktop usability in their rush to assume desktop PC's are no longer needed.

        That was the knee-jerk reaction of 8.0 to the ipad, but thankfully the madness seems to have abated in 8.1 and is gone in 10. I use both and almost always with mouse & keyboard.

        >> Reduced privacy with the 'you should always be logged on to MS central' attitude. (The Windows 10 preview was incredulous that I wanted to log on locally... after I was able to find out how to do it in the first place...). But, I guess they're afraid if I'm not logged on constantly, how will I be buying their apps?

        I dont think this has anything to do with buying apps. A big part of the experience is syncing favorites and settings between different machines, which I really like. If they made local accounts the default, people would go on using this out of habit.

      2. Col_Panek

        Re: Perhaps people have realised...

        Much of this is a result of MS's "Monkey see, monkey do" philosophy to copy Google and Apple, rather than invent something new. Their last (maybe only) innovation was the OS monopoly.

  2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    Have I missed something?

    "Both also record small upticks for Windows 81"

    81? They're going to be re-releasing Windows 95 soon!

    What? You say I missed the "send corrections" link? OK, I'll do it now.

  3. h4rm0ny

    Is it not time to just track 8 and 8.1 together? 8.1 is essentially a service pack to 8 and they came out in a very narrow timescale between the two. Tracking them separately just misleads.

    1. aelking

      Not just a service pack

      But it wasn't just a service pack, it was a minor kernel version increase, 6.2 to 6.3, which makes it a different OS. Service packs were a Build Number increase.

      8.1 was release as 8.1 purely for marketing purposes, to try and control the perception of 8, it might as well have been called 9.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Not just a service pack

        I'm not aware that there has ever been an authoritative definition of what constitutes a Windows service pack. If it consists of minor updates and there's nothing radically different about it, I call that a Service Pack.

        1. hplasm
          Devil

          Re: Not just a service pack

          "I'm not aware that there has ever been an authoritative definition of what constitutes a Windows service pack"

          Different bugs, and probably more of them...

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Not just a service pack

          Minor updates to the UI don't mean there could be bigger updates to the OS itself. 8.1 was a much larger update than a service pack. You can call it as you like, but 8,1 was not a service pack.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Not just a service pack

            >>"Minor updates to the UI don't mean there could be bigger updates to the OS itself. 8.1 was a much larger update than a service pack. You can call it as you like, but 8,1 was not a service pack"

            I'm wiling to be persuaded but I'm not seeing any significant functional change:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_8.1

            They changed some bits of the UI, re-adding the Start button for example, and they changed some of the default apps (which isn't an OS change). The only thing I see significantly different is that they changed the way it connects to OneDrive and they added device encryption by default (which is just BitLocker which is already there). Obviously some of the code was optimized, but I don't see that means it's a new OS.

            It's unhelpful to class them as separate in general terms because they are essentially the same and it confuses things like this where the rise in 8.1 is accompanied by a fall in 8 which is for most people not the distinction that is of interest. It's whether 8/8.1 is rising or falling that is the practical question, not shifts between the two.

            1. Cuddles Silver badge

              Re: Not just a service pack

              I would argue the more relevant point is not what changes were made between versions, but how they are licensed. You either own Windows XP, 7 or 8. The difference between 8 and 8.1 does not exist, it's simply an update to software using the same license. From a technical point of view it may be interesting to argue about exactly how big the differences between 8 and 8.1 are, but from the perspective of tracking who owns which OS, which is all these trackers are looking at, there is no difference between them at all.

              1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: Not just a service pack

                "The difference between 8 and 8.1 does not exist, it's simply an update to software using the same license."

                Indeed, which is why MS are dropping 8.0 into the "out of support" bin this coming January alongside XP. Apropos the wider question of "Is it a service pack or a new OS?", I think the easy way to decide is to ask yourself "Do I have to pay for it?".

                1. azaks

                  Re: Not just a service pack

                  I'm not sure that we will be seeing "service packs" anymore (at least on client SKUs). They made sense with 3+ year release cycles to consolidate individual updates and reset the support bar between major version releases. A while ago they got flak for adding features in service packs, and so started putting these into "feature packs" instead. Seems like they are commited to much more frequent releases starting with 10, and those releases will contain both fixes and new features. Just a guess...

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: Not just a service pack

                    "I'm not sure that we will be seeing "service packs" anymore"

                    Well the main rationale for "service packs" was most probably distribution principles established before largescale adoption of the internet and higher speed access (ie. xDSL).

                    The trouble with a constant drip of 'patches' and 'feature updates' is that the platform is no longer stable. Hence users will be better off turning off automatic updates and only install those patches that solve problems they encounter - just like the users of major ERP systems.

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Not just a service pack

                  >"Indeed, which is why MS are dropping 8.0 into the "out of support" bin this coming January alongside XP."

                  Need to watch what MS do over Win10, given their usage and abuse of Service Packs and Windows Update, as it does provide a (highly questionable) way for MS to put Win7 et al "out of support" early.

  4. mark.james

    Of course it's growing, it's been increasingly difficult to buy a PC without it for the last couple of years!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 vs 8.1

    In the Stat Counter Global Stats graph, the gain in Windows 8.1 almost exactly mirrors the loss in Windows 8 and is probably accounted for by the automatic upgrade of Windows 8 systems.

  6. ee

    Win7 usage

    "small dip in Windows 7 usage" is because it is an increase in Android usage (which is not included in picture above)

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Win7 usage

      People use Android on the Desktop?

      1. fandom

        Re: Win7 usage

        Lots of Android desktops for sale, whether they are a significant number or whether this survey counts them as desktop computers I don't know.

  7. Hellcat

    What's the point in recording the stats to a 0.01 level when you can't agree on the 2nd significant number?

    Is it almost 58, or only just 53? There is obviously a big margin for error, but this isn't mentioned here.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Interesting

    To see 7 so far ahead.

    But XP still second, it just keeps going.

  9. CAPS LOCK

    Why hasn't a flame war about Linux use started yet ...

    .... can no-one be bothered to make up some usage stats?

  10. Simon Harris

    OS X

    Could the discrepancy between Statcounter and Netmarketshare of OSX simply be because for Statcounter, OS X is listed as 'OS X', which could mean an aggregation of all versions, but for Netmarketshare it is specifically OS X 10.10?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Competition time.

    Who can keep a WinXP box on-line to the bitter end.

    That could be a while though, I have an old Win3.1 program that still runs on Win7 (never tried it on Win8/8.1).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like Windows 8.1 Pro for the faster boot time, 32bit support - drivers and older hardware

    I have Windows 8.1 Pro on a Lenovo Thinkpad X201S and on a 5 years old+ Desktop, both have a Samsung 840 Pro SSD retrofitted and combined with the faster boot time of Windows 8.1 Pro it really makes a difference. The Desktop runs the 32 bit version so that I can use an old Yamaha SW1000XG sound card using the XP drivers.

    I also have a 2009 Toshiba NB100 1024x600 screen netbook running Windows 7 (again with Samsung 840 Pro SSD I retrofitted) and was pleased to hear that Windows 10 supports 1024x600 (well at time of writing as stated in the preview specs) which is a smaller resolution that Windows 8.1's minimum. So this opens up the support for many netbooks, bought when they were in fashion a few years back.

    I also note that although Windows 10 has all of Windows 8.1, Microsoft have appeared to not over emphasise the touch aspect and instead pitch it at all types of PCs, including mouse driven.

    So it seems to me to be a good strategic move by Microsoft to support lower resolutions and make it free, with support for various UI configurations, which means a larger base and therefore larger market share.

  13. mmeier

    So to get this right:

    A version of Windows that came out around midway in the leasing cycle of most IT departments and while a stable, well liked and sttill 5+ years supported "parent" version was in common use in professional IT STILL manages to get a larger market share than MacOS and Linux combined?

    Yup, seems like Win8 is really a failure

  14. Howard Hanek
    Coat

    Architecture

    All I know is the gazillions of updates screams spaghetti code and the architecture can never build a really stable product until applications are prohibited from altering system files.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: Architecture

      Bull, pure unmitigated fanbois bull.

  15. A41202813GMAIL
    Megaphone

    XPOCALYPSE FOREVER !

  16. Updraft102

    Those aren't the numbers I see when I go to netmarketshare.com.

    I see Win 7 last month at 47.01% and this month at 47.25%, which is a slight gain, not a slight loss.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      It's almost as though the figures might have changed in the last 15 months.

      1. Updraft102

        Ah, they got me... I saw it as a suggested read and didn't check the date. Have an upvote...

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