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June's Windows numbers: Microsoft Windows 7 maintains grip

Gregg Keizer | July 7, 2017
Falls behind Windows XP's pokey tempo of decline -- and everyone knows how that turned out.


Windows 7 in June easily retained its majority, powering over half of all Windows PCs, more evidence that the entrenched operating system will be difficult to pry from enterprises before its scheduled retirement.

The OS will be struck from Microsoft's support list in two and a half years, on Jan. 14, 2020.

June's Windows 7 user share -- an estimate of the percentage of the world's personal computers powered by the eight-year-old operating system -- was 49%, according to U.S. analytics company Net Applications. However, Windows 7 ran 53.6% of all Windows machines. (The difference between the two figures stems from the fact that Windows powers 91.5% of the globe's personal computers, not 100%.)

Windows 7's share has not budged in the last 12 months, even as other editions have gone through substantial shifts. Windows 8 and 8.1, for example, jettisoned 2.7 percentage points in the past year, ending June with a user share of 7.8%. Windows 10 gained nearly 8 points in the same span, posting a 26.8% share of all personal computers for June -- and a 32.8% share of Windows PCs.

Microsoft's customers, including the bulk of enterprises, may have trouble divesting themselves of Windows 7 before the 2020 deadline if Net Applications' estimates are on the money. In fact, Windows 7's decline has fallen behind the pace of Windows XP 30 months before its retirement.

At that time, Windows XP powered 52.3% of all Windows PCs, more than a full point lower than Windows 7's June user share. Customers' attempts to eradicate Windows XP by its April 2014 due date failed; at the end of that month, 29% of the world's Windows personal computers still ran the aged OS. (Even now, about 7.6% of the globe's Windows PCs run XP; a large portion of them are in China, where nearly one in every five personal computers runs the 2001 OS, often a counterfeited copy.)

By lagging behind XP's reduction tempo, Windows 7 risks ending its support lifecycle with an even larger fraction of the world's PCs still relying on what will then be an unpatched operating system. And May's WannaCry cyber-attack illustrated just how dangerous that can be.

Other data sources portrayed a similar situation for Windows 7. Irish metrics vendor StatCounter said that Windows 7 powered 45.7% of all Windows personal computers last month; Windows XP had accounted for 42.5% of all Windows PC operating systems at the same point in its pre-retirement timeline.

A month ago, Net Applications' numbers for Windows 7 were virtually the same as XP's in its run toward a support cutoff. And while StatCounter's data put Windows 7 behind Windows XP's tempo of decline in both May and June, the gap in June between the two editions was nearly twice that of May's.


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