Jul 01, 2013 (11:07 AM EDT)
Windows 8 Adoption: Modest Growth In June
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
picked up steam in June, snagging more than 5% of the market for the first time, according to the newest figures from Net Applications. The increased momentum coincided with new information regarding Microsoft's plans to make its new OS more popular.
These plans include not only Windows 8.1, which was released last week as a public preview, but also Microsoft's pledge that Office will be bundled with smaller Windows tablets, and that Windows 8 hardware with dramatically improved battery life is on the way.
Based on the 160 million users and 40,000 websites that Net Applications monitors, Windows 8's market penetration expanded 19.43% in June, jumping from 4.27% of the market to 5.10%. After debuting last fall, the OS grew more slowly until February, after which it began advancing by around 20% per month. This pace fell off dramatically in May, however, when Microsoft's new flagship gained only 11.8% -- its lowest month-over-month uptick since launch. June's figure indicates Windows 8 might be getting back on track.
[ Thinking of making the leap to Windows 8.1? Read this first. Windows 8.1: 4 Upgrade Questions For SMBs. ]
Windows 7 remained the top OS worldwide, with 44.37% of the market. Many businesses are still migrating to Win7 from Windows XP, and the slow PC market suggests that many consumer PC upgrades have been delayed while users invest in cheaper, more portable iOS and Android tablets. As a result, Windows 7 is likely to retain its crown for the foreseeable future. Microsoft's previous-generation OS hit a 12-month peak in December, when it had 45.11% of the market.
Windows XP, first released in 2001, will lose official support in less than a year but held a healthy 37.17% of the market in June, down slightly from 37.74% the month before. It held 42.52% of the market last August, and has retreated almost 7% since Windows 8 become widely available.
Windows Vista, a newer version than XP but much less popular with users, had only 4.62% in June. That's actually up slightly from 4.51% in May, but Vista is still in a slow death spiral. Since December it has bled away almost 19% of its market share.
Together, all Windows versions accounted for 91.51% of the field, a share that has been more or less consistent over the last year. Microsoft's platforms cumulatively hit a 12-month low of 91.45% in November, the first month in which Windows 8 was widely available, and a 12-month high of 91.89% in March. The various versions of Apple's OS X, meanwhile, accounted for 7.2%. Mac systems climbed to 7.3% during the build-up to Windows 8, fell below 7% in March, and have since inched back up.
Tablets and smartphones have disrupted the personal computing market, with millions of users turning to non-Microsoft platforms for many of their common needs. Because of this shift, it's possible that no single OS will ever again enjoy the dominance of past Windows releases. Nonetheless, Win8's June performance portends a possible surge in adoption.
Many of the factors working in the OS's favor are still several months away, or in early stages. Intel's new Haswell chips are delivering all-day battery life and improved GPU performance to Win8 Ultrabooks and tablets, for example, but these devices are only just hitting the market. A final version of Windows 8.1 that's suited for the average user won't appear until later this year. Tablets that come pre-installed with Office are also still on the horizon, as are the low-cost Win8 devices that will run on the next version of Intel's Atom platform.
It's likely, in other words, that Win8 adoption perked up because at least a few hesitant buyers have been reassured as Microsoft has disclosed its intentions. If previews and press conferences can increase adoption, then the impact should even stronger once new products start shipping.
Microsoft also has been offering free and discounted Surface tablets to developers, partners and customers at recent conferences. It's possible that the new users not only account for a marginal uptick in device usage but also, given their relatively influential roles within their companies, increased interest overall.