Windows 8 faces a much different environment than did either Vista or Windows 7, as those predecessors were released as PC shipments were on the rise, not in a historic slump. Nor did they have to contend with tablets as rivals for consumer and corporate attention and spending.
Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 on Oct. 17 to current Windows 8 customers, then follow with a retail debut — and with systems running the update — on Oct. 18. Windows 8.1 is essentially a redo meant to answer customer complaints about the radical changes in Windows 8, which split workspaces between two wildly-different user interfaces.
Windows 8's user share of 8.4% was ahead of Vista's but far behind Windows 7's at the same point in their post-release adoption cycles. (Data: Net Applications.)
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