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Windows 10 Passes Windows 8.1, Off to Faster Start than Windows 7

The goal of Windows 10 on a billion machines still looks like a challenge, but at least Microsoft has managed to turn back to the clock to 2010 adoption rates when it comes to the Windows client.

Independent Web analytics company StatCounter reported Monday that Windows 10 has overtaken Windows 8.1 globally for the first time. Windows 10 now has 13.7 percent market share for desktop usage. Windows 8.1 is at 11.7 percent. Windows 7 is still the gorilla in the room with 46.7 percent.

[Click on image for larger view.] Top 7 desktop OSes from June 2015 to January 2016. (Source: StatCounter)

But Windows 10 now has a strong comparable to Windows 7. Windows 10, with the tailwind of the free upgrade offer, has now outpaced Windows 7 in market share in its first six months. Windows 10 is two-tenths of a percentage point ahead of where Windows 7 was (13.5 percent) after six months on the market in April 2010.

"Microsoft's determined promotion of Windows 10 seems to be having an impact," said Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, in a statement. "However, there remains a lot of loyalty to Windows 7 and it will be interesting to see if it becomes the equivalent of XP which, 14 years after launch, refuses to lie down and still has a 8 percent global share in terms of desktop Internet use."

  Windows 10
(January 2016)
Windows 8
(April 2013)
Windows 7
(April 2010)
Worldwide 13.7% 5.0% 13.5%
United States 15.7% 5.8% 14.7%
United Kingdom 22.4% 6.6% 15.2%
Desktop Internet usage share for sixth calendar month since launch. (Source: StatCounter)

The StatCounter figures are roughly in line with, but slightly behind, what Microsoft executives said last week while discussing the company's second quarter financial results.

"We also made progress towards our goal of more than 1 billion Windows 10 monthly active devices. We crossed the 200-million milestone, and Windows 10 is outpacing adoption of any of our previous operating systems. In fact, adoption is nearly 140 percent faster than Windows 7," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "As far as the upgrade momentum, the fact that we crossed 200 million active devices, we feel very, very good about that."

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood also made the point that the Windows 10 adoption is coming in a declining PC market. "Our total OEM business declined 5 percent this quarter, outperforming the overall PC market," she said.

Nadella called out three areas where he sees additional growth opportunities for Windows 10.

Enterprise pilots are currently underway that will result in a big wave of enterprise deployments in Microsoft's second half of the year, which runs through the end of June, Nadella predicted. "I've never seen a Windows release in the enterprise with this level of accelerated deployment planned," Nadella said. "More than 76 percent of our enterprise customers are in active pilots, including organizations like Kimberly-Clark and Alaska Airlines, and 22 million enterprise and education devices are already running Windows 10. We're well positioned to grow our commercial device footprint in the second half."

The other areas to drive Windows growth, Nadella said, will be new monetization through services across a unified Windows platform and innovating new device categories in partnership with OEMs similar to the Microsoft Surface, which generated $1.3 billion in sales in the October to December quarter and which has spurred similar 2-in-1 machines from several vendors.

Posted by Scott Bekker on February 01, 2016


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