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Windows 10's pushy upgrade tactics pay off with share growth

Gregg Keizer | March 18, 2016
Two data sources show significant gains by Windows 10 during the stretch when users reported upgrades completing without their approval.

On Sunday, March 13, for instance, Windows 10 accounted for almost a third of all Windows versions that powered PCs that were directed to a site among DAP's collective. That was a record for Windows 10 in DAP's tracking.

DAP's Windows 10 data was analyzed by Computerworld as its portion of only Windows, and so was not identical to StatCounter's, which was 10's share of all personal computers.

Last week's share surge was in contrast to February, when for the month as a whole Windows 10's growth slowed to as little as half as much as the month prior.

Although some users faced with the take-it-or-take-it Windows 10 upgrade said that they'd retreated to an older OS -- Windows 10 is supposed to let customers roll back to the previously-installed operating system for at least a month -- the numbers from DAP and StatCounter hinted that many simply went with the flow and stayed with 10. But even some of those people were furious.

"Yesterday, I was shutting down my computer (previous Windows 7), and in the afternoon I checked my computer [and it] turned on with Windows 10," wrote someone identified as MegamanEXE2013 on a Reddit thread Sunday. "Do I have a problem with the OS? No. Was it abusive? Yes, totally!"

Microsoft has crafted a Windows 10 upgrade strategy that has been much more aggressive than in the past, using a wide range of practices, from making the upgrade free to consumers and many small businesses, to loading the upgrade bits on PCs without waiting for customers to request them. Microsoft is determined to accelerate the uptake of Windows 10, and has set itself the goal of putting the operating system on 1 billion devices by mid-2018 to stress that fact.

The Redmond, Wash. company will continue to give away the Windows 10 upgrade to people running the consumer and mid-level commercial editions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until nearly the end of July. It's unclear what the firm will do then if it believes it has not convinced or cajoled enough users into upgrading. Among its options: extend the free deal or again change how it delivers and installs the OS on current systems.


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