back to article Windows 7 and 8.1 market share surge, XP falls behind OS X

Here we are again in the early days of a month, so off we go to Netmarketshare and StatCounter to see what the world's computers are running. Both sites report that June saw a nice spike in Windows 7 use. StatCounter has it up 0.6 per cent to 53.71 per cent of the market, while Netmarketshare reckons it surged from 57.76 per …

  1. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Well as usually those statistics must be taken with a _lot_ of salt

    They represents the market shares of those people who don't block Javascript from non-trustworthy sources. This makes it heavily skewed as people running the Windows they got with the machine are more likely to not have Noscript or something similar installed.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Well as usually those statistics must be taken with a _lot_ of salt

      They represents the market shares of those people who don't block Javascript from non-trustworthy sources.

      We'll lets be honest here, that is the majority.

      1. James Cane

        Re: Well as usually those statistics must be taken with a _lot_ of salt

        Technical people often massively underestimate the size of the non-technical population. People who fiddle with their computer's settings in any way at all are a minority.

  2. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

    Just hard for me to trust Microsoft after so many years of non-niceness. Let me break it into two categories:

    (1) The money. The paying customers are the makers. Every upgrade of a Windows 7/8/8.1 machine is NOT the purchase of a newly manufactured machine. Microsoft has lots of cash in the bank and might not care, but the makers are in a viciously competitive low-margin business, and a substantial drop in their sales is liable to push some of them under. One of the possibilities is that Microsoft expects to have a better grip on the balls of the surviving makers--but I can think of others that are worse.

    (2) Technical. I do not know of a SINGLE carrot in Windows 10. Not one new feature that I desperately need or even want. Actually, the Windows OSes passed my normal needs a LONG time ago, and all the cruft since then is just increasing my feeling of vulnerability for a bit of shiny. It's really hard for me to think of a single crucial feature since Windows 95, though of course I'd like the option to add some capabilities AS actually NEEDED and at the application level, NOT the OS level. Yes, some features of the OS have gotten faster, but not enough to notice since I'm already the slowest horse in the cavalry, as the old joke goes.

    If I had the choice, I'd probably be running a completely debugged version of Windows 95, and I'm sure such a think OS would run the pants off Windows 10, to boot, while also being more secure and understandable. Oh wait. I forgot. Microsoft decides those things, not us.

    1. msage

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      While agree with most of what you said for the home market...

      Powershell.

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      " slowest horse in the cavalry, as the old joke goes "

      . . and in that vein, it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

    3. Doctor_Wibble
      Flame

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      I have a machine that dual-boots to an occasionally-used Win98SE, does that count?

      My first experience with win10 has been one of annoyance. The other day I spent a short but intensely swear-filled period finding out how to remove that 'get win10' icon that appeared in the (win7) systray without any sodding warning* and which doesn't have a 'hide/close' option. Maybe the surge is due to people doing the same search - MS should check the page stats for the article (someone's MSDN page IIRC) that tells you how to undo it.

      And this while I still get prompts for update to enhance my upgrade experience to win8 or 8.1 or whatever version it is, was there a 9 or did that get missed? What's the difference between 'preview' and 'fooled into being a beta tester'?

      If there is a genuine surge in win7 usage, is that really people who actually want win10 or is it people wanting to *avoid* win10 as long as possible by doing a last-moment upgrade and patch? How long do we get before win7 gets forcibly EOL'd?

      * apparently "to resolve issues in windows" according to the as usual useless one-liner, a complete lie because the only thing this patch does is plant a little 'stop using your current OS' icon.

      1. Chairo

        Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

        was there a 9 or did that get missed?

        rumour says there were some windows 9x versions and Microsoft didn't want to take a risk with lazy programming checking for the version string,

        Another possible reason to jump directly to 10 might be, that the number "9" stands for hardship and suffering in some Asian cultures. Perhaps they learned this lesson from NT 4, as "4" stands for death there.

        1. Adrian Smart

          Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

          It seems Windows 10 Home users are to be treated to the experience of being unpaid beta testers for new OS features. Perhaps it's time to welcome them to the brave new world of Windows for WorkFare.

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: " the number "9" stands for hardship and suffering in some Asian cultures"

          As does the word "Microsoft" in many Western ones.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long do we get before win7 gets forcibly EOL'd?

        https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?alpha=windows%207

        * It has already finished mainstream support and service pack support

        * Extended support runs to 14/01/2020 (basically, just security patches)

        1. Doctor_Wibble
          Flame

          Re: How long do we get before win7 gets forcibly EOL'd?

          > It has already finished mainstream support and service pack support

          What? How? Fufuksek I only started using it as my main machine a few months ago, having only installed it on the machine last year and the install box wasn't even dusty. Well not much anyway.

          I see on that page the "Buy Windows 8 now!" links. Why? What's the point? I'm supposed to be bending over for a win10 beta experience, all for free!

    4. Ye Gads

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      Really?

      How about:

      Not having to run your OS on top of DOS?

      64 bit memory addressing.

      128 GB limitation of FAT disk image.

      No security on a FAT file system

      And, whatever you may say about the stability and security of Windows XP,Vista,8/8.1, they're light years ahead of the stability of Windows 95.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

        I see we have to discuss the length of a light year now, since it's obvious we're still banging rocks together. If you think that security equals web Client security, if you like Cloud storage when it's just an accident (and data mining jackpot) waiting to happen, and having Microsoft spy on every last thing you do with their OS and apps, then sure. Otherwise, it's not 6 trillions miles ahead of the old technology, maybe 60 Miles or 100 Km.

        Cheers !

    5. Naselus

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      "It's really hard for me to think of a single crucial feature since Windows 95"

      Yes, the Win 9x architecture was famously an impenetrable bastion of security and stability.

      If you wish to add a 'technical' argument to not getting win 10, then it would help if you didn't back it up with technically illiterate reasoning.

    6. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Now students, please use "free" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence.

      "If I had the choice, I'd probably be running a completely debugged version of Windows 95"

      Don't like Cortana? Mayber you'd also be happier driving a Cortina?

  3. thames

    Error Margins

    You know that the graphs wiggle up and down for no apparent reason, right? There are always statistical margins of error whenever trying to count this sort of thing and these web counters tend to have fairly large systemic errors in them due to biases related to ad network relationships, language, region, and consumer versus business split. They then typically add a big fudge factor to try to make the numbers "look right" according to what they expect to see.

    What's more, Statcounter's 53.71% share for Windows 7 for June is less than the 57.76% share in November of 2014. So if you want to believe these sorts of numbers, then Windows 7 is actually either stable or declining (depending on how seriously you want to take the minor wiggles). Netmarketshare shows a different trend, but that really just shows how shaky the whole measurement effort is.

    El Reg - "Next month's numbers should be rather more interesting, because Windows 10 lands on July 29th and will presumably be adopted by a great many users not long afterwards."

    I don't know how much it will show up in August, but I won't be at all surprised if Windows 10 takes a bite out of Windows 8/8.1 rather than XP or 7.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Error Margins

      The statistical flaws in this monthly meta-analysis (more a "poll of polls" and ask Peter Kellner about how reliable those are) are almost without limit. Variation with the margin of error is probably the least.

      The main ones:

      • no description of the sample set – see Christian's post
      • failure to corroborate with El Reg's own data
      • failure to corroborate with source like Akamai's non-JS data. This would involve real work, not just copy & paste.
      • failure to account for a general shift to mobile affecting not just the sample size, but what's left in it
      • failure to account for the number of working days in any particular month (work days favour Windows and IE in general)

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Error Margins

      Margin of error

      Estimation of uncertainty

      Precision of measurement

      Any statistical report (claiming accuracy) that falls to give some acknowledgement of these types of issues in its methodology is flawed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Error Margins

        Not to mention the fact that June was a second longer this year ! ;)

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    XP market share declining is to be expected as most businesses are migrating off of the old unsupported platform. People migrating off of XP can either go to Windows 7, Windows 8 or Linux hence the market share increase.

    1. dogged

      Also remember by definition it's looking at machines connected to the internet. Anyone connecting an unsupported and unpatchable XP box to the net wants their head examined.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ATM running WinXP

        @dogged

        Only a couple of weeks ago in Indiana, I went to use an ATM in a drug store. The screen that greeted me was that of XP rebooting (I have pictures).

        Needless to say, I wandered of to another machine to withdraw cash, but it did make me wonder - just how many ATMs are running XP!

        1. ben_myers

          Re: ATM running WinXP

          All of them? Various estimates range from 75% to 95%.

          There is the now-famous registry hack that allows you to receive free XP updates, just like and ATM or POS (Point-of-Sale), until Microsoft's deal with the banks and Diebold and who knows who else expires. 2019, IIRC.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ATM running WinXP

            @ben_myers - oh, I didn't know that. It was XP Prof. FWIW.

        2. dogged

          Re: ATM running WinXP

          As stated above, embedded is still supported. And nobody should be connecting an ATM to the winder internet. Jesus, what a concept...

  5. David Roberts Silver badge

    Be nice to see them graph total recorded seats by month instead of market share.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in other news, it has just been announced that 2015 has been officially declared to be the year of Linux on the desktop

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Same tired old meme. Don't you realise Linux users stopped talking about the year of Linux on the desktop years ago. We want to keep the riff-raff out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: "We want to keep the riff-raff out."

        See! See! That's just the kind of elitist attitude that puts people off!

        <Joke_Icon>

  7. SVV Silver badge

    A bit of a false comparison

    You can't really compare OSX as a single entity against multiple versions of Windows - OSX comes in new versions too at reasonably predictable intervals. I know the upgrading of it is a lot nicer, and most Apple users shell out for new versions fairly quickly as (a) they can generally afford to and (b) the upgrades tend to be trouble free and add something worthwhile, even if they are smaller in scope than new major versions of Windows.

    Otherwise these figures just seem to show a slow but steady replacement of older tech that's started to show its age and therefore the people who haven't upgraded for quite a long time feel it would be beneficial in doing so. My own experience of the attitude in the civilian (non IT pro) world is that people who use Windows have become enormously reticent to upgrade once they have something stable that meets their needs (browse / email / media / bits of pieces of other stuff). This is generally due to the fact that a large proportion of them have experienced or heard first hand the "I upgraded and my xyz stopped working and I had to pay / get friend or relative round to fix it and I couldn't see what was that different anyway...." story.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: A bit of a false comparison

      "You can't really compare OSX as a single entity against multiple versions of Windows - OSX comes in new versions too at reasonably predictable intervals. I know the upgrading of it is a lot nicer, and most Apple users shell out for new versions fairly quickly as (a) they can generally afford to and (b) the upgrades tend to be trouble free and add something worthwhile, even if they are smaller in scope than new major versions of Windows."

      You make a good point about the versions, but OSX upgrades have been free for some time now.

      And I'm yet to see an upgrade yet that doesn't break some third party app or utility.

    2. Naselus

      Re: A bit of a false comparison

      "You can't really compare OSX as a single entity against multiple versions of Windows"

      Well no, you can't. It's also not really right to lump every different Linux distro into one category either.

      But the point is more that the number of users on each individual version of desktop Linux or OS X is meaninglessly small in a market that remains so totally and utterly dominated by Microsoft. Individual versions of unpopular Microsoft OSes have greater market share than the combined total of all versions of OS X. The most popular MS OS has nearly 60% market share alone. You could quite easily split the graph into 'Windows 7', 'Windows 8', 'Windows XP' and 'Other', and find that Other still struggles to come in third; if you lump all versions of windows together then MS are more dominant in the space even than android is in smartphones - and with less fragmentation.

      Now I'm sure that pointing out this objective truth will get me a huge number of downvotes from Apple fans and Penguins, but really everything other than Microsoft remains effectively irrelevant in the desktop space. That's not a statement on relative quality - I like Linux myself, and even though I despise OS X I do see the benefit in that locked-down fisher-price interface for small children or attempts to communicate with chimpanzees and dolphins (so anyone in high level management). But the simple truth is, what we're seeing is the emergence of a world that wants Windows on its PC, Linux on its web server, and Android on its phone.

      No-one really cares about OS X, and even Apple's enormous marketing clout from the successes of the past ten years hasn't really impacted on that. The trumpeting of all versions of OS X combined reaching parity with a 14-year old OS that's been out of support for over a year is frankly embarrassing. Meanwhile iOS is rapidly declining to the same small market share as its desktop cousin; Apple's approach to mobile is repeating pretty much the same strategic mistake it made in the desktop space back in the 1980s, surrendering market share for short-term profits; and you can see just how well that turned out from these very graphs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A bit of a false comparison

        I'm not going to down vote you because I'm an "Apple Fan", I'm going to do so because you are obviously an idiot who has no idea what they're talking about.

        Linux is nothing but a toy OS for wannabe geeks. UNIX, which is what lies at the heart of OS X, is a real Operating System.

        You obviously find it sexually gratifying to sling insults at Mac users. You go right ahead. We'll just sit back and laugh at your stupidity.

  8. VinceH Silver badge

    "Next month's numbers should be rather more interesting, because Windows 10 lands on July 29th and will presumably be adopted by a great many users not long afterwards. What share will Redmond's saviour have by August 1st?"

    Well, unless they only base their numbers on usage in the last two days of the month, I doubt it'll have much of a share at all by 1st August. It's the August figures, published in September, that are really likely to show it.

    And that's not taking into account other flaws mentioned upthread.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't want 10

    But i'll need to know about it to support others.

    I have resurrected a Win 8.1 install (I had swapped to Linux) to have a fully legit route to a 10 test box at home.

    There is virtually nothing that attracts me to 10 and plenty that is inviting wholesale migration to something else but the questions will come and management seem to think IT staff have some sort of Matrix data upload as soon as a product is announced.

    1. Boothy

      Re: Don't want 10

      I'm planning on something similar.

      I have 3 Windows devices.

      * A current (ish) home built desktop, which is my main rig. (Gaming, Office etc).

      * A functional, but retired Laptop. (Replaced by tablets and a Chromebook over the last couple of years or so).

      * And an old Acer Aspire R3610, that used to be my Media PC under the TV (replaced by an Intel NUC last year).

      All three have Win 7 64 bit, full on the Desktop, OEM on the other two.

      The Desktop is the only one to pop up the "Win 10" notification so far, but I will not be updating that machine any time soon.

      I will update the Laptop though, and maybe the Aspire, so that I'll at least get some familiarity with the new OS, and to see what it might screw up on my local setup (Nas drive access etc) (Things like the Live login etc worry me).

      Edit: Typo.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Don't want 10

      >I have resurrected a Win 8.1 install

      Remember if that was originally a Win8 install, you will need to keep you Win8 install media. Because the Win8 key won't work with a Win8.1 install disk, only with Win8 and upgrade via WuP to 8.1.

      Hence I expect that the 'Free' Win10 update will be similar, it will only install over a previously activated OS and won't accept a licence key for 7/8/8.1. Hence if you every need to reinstall... it may be simpler to buy a retail copy when MS discount it to a few pounds just as they did with Win8, which could be had for £14.99...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't want 10

        This was already the $25 Win8 upgrade from XP (at that price it was nearly worth it).

        As I'd not tried a fresh Win8 install with just an upgrade key I thought I'd just "whack XP back on and upgrade" shouldn't take long - LOL.

        XP took longer than I expected because I didn't have the right ISO (home required) but then I went through the complete abortion of Win8 upgrade, activate, update reboot, update, reboot, update, reboot, reactivate by phone, upgrade to 8.1 reboot, update, reboot, update, reboot,update, reboot etc. etc.

        The funny point was at the 8.0 stage I realised I could not remember how to use some parts of the broken OS.

        It's a joke, seriously must have downloaded about 8G (8/8.1 updates and 8.1 upgrade). taken many hours and multiple reboots, next day it was even doing the same, where as Linux 20mins tops.

        I expect it will baulk at the license again despite being traceable back to the original install but hey we are meant to learn this stuff as it is the industry norm right?

  10. Tromos

    The rush to get freebie Windows 10?

    The rush to get Windows 7 while it can still be found, more like.

  11. Tezfair
    Happy

    slightly off topic

    Fastest way (I have found) to get rid of the w10 pop up (other than scripts), taskmanager, find GWX, end task / kill process, go into the windows32 folder and rename the GWX folder.

  12. Adam Jarvis

    The way Nadella's Microsoft is going..

    The way Nadella's Microsoft is going - it won't be long before they give Ubuntu a Windows 10 'skin', and promote it as another way to run universal apps.

    Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon, copied to a USB stick, it boots under 15 sec, to a very nice 2015 desktop, plus the benefit of 4-5 years long term support.

    Its worth having a Mint 17.2 USB Bootable disk around just to support borked Windows 7/8.1 -> Windows 10 upgrades/installs, you'll be able to retrieve files for users with faces looking like Elon Musk since Sunday. (i.e. what the hell just happened, where's all my stuff (and potential to earn money) gone?

    Do MS users even understand the distinction while upgrading between Windows 10 and (lack of) Device Drivers. Even if they do, Microsoft are going to get the Flak.

    1. ben_myers

      Re: The way Nadella's Microsoft is going..

      If Microsoft were smart (a dubious proposition, given past history), device drivers that work on Win 7 or Win 8 will also work with Win 10. But that would mean a device driver model that remains unchanged (Gee, like Linux!). But it seems that there is always some device driver tweak that renders your trusty {printer, scanner, all-in-one, web cam, other} device inoperative with the new release. Why? So the hardware manufacturers can sell you a replacement for something that works perfectly. Fix it when it's not broken, they say.

  13. James Cane

    Momentous

    This will go down as the month that Linux on the desktop almost overtook Vista.

  14. Simon Bramfitt

    does this mean Windows 8.1 is now more popular than Bob?

  15. iMap

    Win 7 Pro 64bit and Win 7 Pro 32bit will be suffice for me till January 14, 2020.

    My only need to upgrade is for a newer Direct X API release that will significantly make a difference for gaming and graphics work. I'm not in favour of the 'metro' visual style tile crap.

    I am pretty sure Redmond have adopted Cupertino's business model, chuck out beta upgrades/ updates on a continual process, which is why M$ is giving Win10 for free within a year or so. The clue for me was the dropping of 'Patch Tuesday'.

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