Windows 8 Low Christmas Uptake: Troubling Signs for Microsoft’s Future

Last week, we reported on Windows 8’s very low online presence, which corresponds with low user uptake of the new operating system. Interestingly, this was even lower than the much maligned Vista’s after the same two months since its release. However, the data released by online analytics firm Net Applications stopped short of Christmas sales, ending December 22. Judging by some of the heated comments attached to our previous article, this is something that people care about. This isn’t surprising since it’s Microsoft’s flagship operating system, which is installed on the vast majority of the world’s desktop computers and therefore makes a big impact on people’s desktop experiences, so people will tend to feel strongly about it.

Microsoft Windows 8 usage stats

Well, Net Applications have now released new data covering the Christmas period up to December 29 – and it makes grim reading for Microsoft. To overtake Vista, Windows 8 usage would have had to make quite a large leap, but it didn’t. Overall usage for Windows 8 in December climbed just a tiny bit from 1.6% to 1.9%, significantly still trailing that of Vista which sat at 2.2%. There was a little bit of good news though, in that Windows 8 usage compared to all Windows systems for the last week of December jumped slightly to 2.1%, to sit just behind Vista.


These stats are troubling for Microsoft, since the poor showing of Vista in this critical two month time period since its release did predict its eventual downfall, having never achieved more than 20% market penetration. The reasons for Windows 8’s low adoption rate are varied, including significant dissatisfaction with the new tiled mobile-centric touch interface previously called Metro; the loss of the Start menu; the fact that many businesses have only recently switched to the three year old Windows 7 and will therefore not be keen on doing another migration, expensive in terms of time and money and poor economic conditions, despite the significantly lower selling price of $40 and even lower with current launch offers. It’s not beyond reason that the removal of the popular Aero interface didn’t help, either.


In the end though, it’s that controversial touch interface which appears to have done the most damage. It will be very interesting indeed to see how Microsoft addresses its problems with Windows 8. The future of the company could well depend on it.

Mac OS X and Linux both lost share in December, with the former down two-tenths of a point to 7.1% and the latter off less than one-tenth of a point to 1.2%. Apple’s operating system finished the year up seven-tenths of a percentage point, while Linux was down two-tenths of a point.

Net Applications measures operating system usage by tracking unique visitors to approximately 40,000 sites it monitors for clients.


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