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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.

The "duality" Belfiore referenced was the root of customers' resistance to Windows 8. In the 2012 OS, Microsoft created a mash of two user interfaces (UIs); one, the new "Modern," née "Metro," UI, was most easily navigated by touch, while the other, the more familiar classic desktop of Windows 7 and its predecessors, was best operated with a keyboard and mouse.

But customers balked at the dual UIs, calling the combination jarring and confusing. Enterprises have ignored Windows 8, in large part because they believed it would require extensive employee retraining. And analysts — most pundits, too — eventually dismissed the OS as a failure.

Net Applications' data, notably Windows 8's inability to keep up even with Vista's uptake — much less the more quickly adopted Windows 7 — supports the harsh criticism.

September numbers from the metrics company also had Windows XP, the OS Microsoft retired nearly six months ago, at a 23.9% user share of all personal computers and 26% of those running Windows, flat on both counts compared to the month before.

Computerworld continues to project that Windows XP will be running between 21% and 22% of the world's personal computers at the end of 2014.

Windows 10 won't impact XP's user share, as it's not slated to ship until mid-2015. As XP continues its slide, Windows 7 will be the prime beneficiary. In September, for example, Windows 7 gained 1.5 percentage points, the most since May 2012, although its gains seemed to come primarily at Windows 8's expense, not XP's.

Another analytics company, Ireland's StatCounter, had different numbers for Windows. StatCounter pegged September's Windows 8 and 8.1 usage share — unlike Net Applications' data, StatCounter's represents how active users of each operating system are on the Web — at 15.8%, Windows 7's at 54.9% and XP's at 14.4%.


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