After a month on the market, Windows 8's usage uptake resembles 2007's Vista -- ultimately a poor performer for Microsoft -- rather than the eventually successful Windows 7, a Web measurement company said Saturday.
According to Net Applications, 1.2% of all Windows PCs ran Windows 8 during November, more than double its share the month before.
While Windows 8 uptake rate edged Vista's first full month -- that OS ended February 2007 with a 1% share of all Windows systems -- the new edition actually jumped less than the problem- and perception-plagued Vista. From January to February 2007, Vista increased its share more than five times, compared to the doubling of Windows 8.
The difference may have little to do with the two operating systems and all to do with economics and choice: The global economy was significantly more robust in early 2007 than it is now, and five years ago consumers had few alternatives to a PC, since smartphones and tablets were then just a gleam in engineers' eyes.
Windows 8's gains last month were lackluster compared to Windows 7's in late 2009. By the end of that upgrade's first full month at retail, it had captured 4.3% of all Windows.
Windows 8's November gain was its best-ever since Net Applications began tracking the new operating system. Even so, it fell further behind Windows 7's pace. In 2009, Windows 7 added 2 percentage points in its first month after launch, while Windows 8 added only seven-tenths of a point, less than a half as much.
In fact, Windows 8 may have trouble keeping pace with Vista. By the end of Vista's second month, it accounted for 2.2% of all copies of Windows. To equal that, Windows 8 will have to add another full percentage point to its share in December.
Net Applications' statistics corroborate other data that showed Windows 8 has not prompted consumers or businesses to buy new PCs. Last week, the NPD Group said that in the four weeks since Windows 8's Oct. 26 debut, U.S. consumer PC sales had dropped 21% compared to the same period in 2011.
NPD's conclusion: Windows 8's introduction not only failed to boost PC sales, but it also did nothing to slow the year-long slide.
The usage data also bolsters analysis of Microsoft's assertion that it sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses -- a number the company said is "in line" with Windows 7's first month. Experts did not dispute the 40 million, but noted that many of those licenses were tied to PCs that had not yet been sold to customers, and so Microsoft's number did not represent Windows 8's real-world use.
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