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Microsoft's new tally for Windows 10: 200 million

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 5, 2016
But third-party metrics don't support the company's contention that Windows 10's adoption has outpaced Windows 7's in late 2009-early 2010.

Nor did Net Applications' numbers support Mehdi's assertion that Windows 10 is "on the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows -- ever."

While that was true earlier in the post-launch lifecycle of Windows 10, an adoption slowdown has now put it behind Windows 7's same after-release point. With five full months of availability, Windows 10 -- which launched July 29 -- held a 10.9% user share of all Windows PCs. At the same mark for Windows 7, that OS accounted for 11.2% of all Windows machines. (Again, there was a difference between Net Applications' metrics and what Microsoft measured, since the latter tossed in tablets, game consoles and smartphones.)

Windows 7 also had another seven days to accumulate its five-month user share, and inherited other advantages, including a much more robust PC market and the prime before- and after-the-holidays sales season. Windows 10 only got the former.

Another analytics company, Ireland-based StatCounter, also tapped Windows 10 as slightly slower on the uptake in its first several months when compared to Windows 7. StatCounter pegged Windows 10 with a usage share -- an indication of online activity because it's based on website page views -- of 11.8% for December, but Windows 7 at 11.9% for March 2010, that OS's fifth month after launch.

Microsoft has not yet parked its Windows-10-or-bust wagon: It's planning to expand the OS's user base, perhaps dramatically so, in the near future by adding the Windows 10 upgrade to Windows Update on eligible Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. That scheme, which has riled some users since it was disclosed in late October, will first place the Windows 10 upgrade on the list as an optional download, but soon thereafter flip the switch to make it "recommended," which means most consumer and small business PCs will automatically download and kick off the upgrade process. Users will be able to abort the upgrade after it starts, however.

By all evidence, Microsoft has not yet begun that Windows 10 upgrade seeding via Windows Update.

Number of PCs running Windows in Dec. 2015 
Analytics vendor Net Applications pegs Windows 10 as on about 164 million PCs, short of Microsoft's claimed 200 million, which also includes tablets, Xbox One game consoles and smartphones. Click on image to enlarge. Data: Net Applications


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