Summer time might be winding down but things are looking a bit more radiant for Microsoft and Windows 8, after its much maligned operating system’s market share surged forward significantly over the last few months. Windows 7 remains by far the most popular operating system – and it’s likely to remain so for some time – but with Windows 8 now being used on more than 7% of all PCs, Microsoft might soon have reason to start feeling smug.
The data comes from the Net Applications website, which shows that Windows 8 surged dramatically over the last month (August), gaining 2.01 percentage points – up from 5.4% to 7.41% – whilst Windows 7 usage also increased, up 1.14% to 45.63%.
While Windows 8 hasn’t been appreciated by some critics who abhor its new, metro-style interface, it’s looking more and more likely that it’s here to stay.
As to the reasons behind its surge, that’s hard to say. One factor could be Microsoft’s introduction of the Windows 8.1 preview last June, which can be downloaded for free by all Windows 8 users via the Windows Store. Other possible reasons could be the recent price cuts announced by Microsoft on its Surface RT and Pro tablets, and of course the demise of Windows XP – used by many enterprises and set to see its support officially ended early next year.
As for Windows 7, its continued growth comes as a mild surprise. The operating system previously saw its market share slip in January of this year – the first time since its release – just one month after gaining 45% overall. The OS has hovered around that mark ever since, yet this month it finally surpassed it once again, despite predictions that it would never raise to those heights again.
With both Windows 8 and Windows 7 gaining ground, it means that there’s losers elsewhere – this time its Windows Vista, which dropped 0.13%, falling from 4.24% to 4.11%. Even bigger was the decline of the older Windows XP, which saw its share fall from 37.19% to 33.66% – a huge 3.53% drop that’s likely to be a sign of enterprises migrating to newer operating systems in readiness for next year.
Looking at the overall picture however, things are less rosy for Microsoft. Windows market share as a whole (when taking into account all versions) fell from 91.56% to 91.19%, with gains made by both Apple’s OS X and Linux – which now account for 7.28% and 1.52% of all PC users respectively.