February 04, 2013, 4:23 PM — Wait until January before you cast judgment on Windows 8, they said. That's when the big boost from holiday sales will--or won't--show up, and you'll be able to get a better idea of how the operating system is doing. Well, Net Application's January desktop usage data is in. What do the numbers show? Is Windows 8's usage rate lagging?
It depends on how you look at it.
Let's get the bleak news out of the way first. Three months after its release, Microsoft's new-look operating system was found on 2.26% of all the traditional PCs tracked by Net Applications, whose web measurement network is comprised of 40,000 websites that receive roughly 160 million unique visits each month. By comparison, Windows 7 claimed a 7.57% browser share at its three-month mark, while Windows Vista was sitting slightly less pretty with a 3.3% share three months in.
The monthly gulf between Windows Vista's uptake and Windows 8's uptake is only widening, in other words. People still consider Windows Vista to be a stinker, rightly or wrongly, and that reputation no doubt helped to fuel Windows 7's lightning-fast adoption. Conversely, Windows 7's all-around excellence is likely holding back Windows 8--there simply isn't a compelling reason to leap to Windows 8 and its redesigned modern UI if you're a happy Windows 7 user.
Don't be hasty to blame Windows 8's slow uptake on declining PC sales, either. While the computer industry did suffer a contraction in 2012, digging through data from Gartner--a research analytics firm--reveals that just over 90 million PCs were sold in fourth quarters of both 2009 and 2012 (the launch windows for Windows 7 and 8, respectively). In fact, about 300,000 more PCs sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 than in 2009. The appearance of Windows 7 gave PC sales a tremendous shot in the arm, however, while Windows 8's launch has not.
A silver lining appears!