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Windows 8 user share nose-dives in September

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 2, 2014
A day after Microsoft shoved Windows 8 into the background with its introduction of Windows 10, an analytics firm reported that Windows 8's user share plummeted by its largest amount ever.

A day after Microsoft shoved Windows 8 into the background with its introduction of Windows 10, an analytics firm reported that Windows 8's user share plummeted by its largest amount ever.

September's numbers from Net Applications put the combined user share of Windows 8 and 8.1 at 12.3% of the world's desktop and notebook systems, a drop of 1.1 percentage points from August. Last month's slide was the third in the last four months, and more than 11 times the previous one-month record decline.

Windows 8 accounted for 13.3% of the personal computers running Windows, a plunge of 1.3 percentage points. The difference between the numbers for allpersonal computers and only those running Windows was due to the fact that Windows powered 92% of all personal computers in September, not 100%.

With its September plummet, Windows 8 fell even further behind the uptake tempo of Windows Vista, the 2007 OS that before Windows 8 was the flop benchmark.

At the point in Vista's post-release timeline that corresponded to September, the operating system ran on 14.9% of all personal computers and on 15.9% of all Windows PCs. The latter is the most credible comparison, because it accounts for the slightly greater dominance of Windows at the time. (When Vista was in its 23rd month after launch, Windows powered 93.9% of all personal computers.)

After narrowing the gap between itself and Vista's uptake in August, Windows 8 let the difference expand. The gap was 2.5 percentage points last month, five times that of the month before.

The decrease of Windows 8's user share — a rough measurement of the number of personal computers running a specific operating system — followed the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft's name for its next major upgrade.

In an hour-long news conference Tuesday, a pair of Microsoft executives revealed a few core features of Windows 10, particularly for enterprise customers. They repeatedly pointed out how the new Windows 10 was more like Windows 7 — the 2009 edition that by Net Applications' numbers accounted for 57.3% of all Windows last month — than Windows 8.

"We're looking to find the balance, so that all those Windows 7 users get a familiar experience on the devices they already have," said Joe Belfiore, who leads the Windows design team.

When Belfiore and Terry Myerson, Microsoft's top Windows executive, mentioned Windows 8, it was rarely in a positive way.

Windows 10 "gives the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the new benefits that exist in Windows 8," said Belfiore, putting the older in front of the newer. Moments later, he added, "We don't want that duality, we want users on PCs with mice and keyboards to have their familiar desktop UI."

 

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