Flop

Windows 8.x is a flop:

In July 2008 (when StatCounter started recording OS share) XP dominated the market with 75.07 percent. Today it sits on 15.84 percent — a drop of 59.23 percent. But while XP was tumbling, Windows 7 was rising at a meteoric rate. It’s a clear upgrading picture — one OS ceding to another, newer one. That picture is totally absent when you look at the impact that Windows 8.x has had.

From launch on October 26 2012, Windows 8.x took 18 months (with a little rounding up) to get to where it is now — 13.73 percent. 18 months after it launched on October 22 2009, Windows 7 was at 33.22 percent. At the rate it’s going (an average of 0.76 percent a month), Windows 8.x will take another two years to reach that mark, assuming users of other operating systems (Windows 7 and XP) decide they want to make the switch. Of course, the keyboard and mouse friendly improvements added in Windows 8.1 Update could see the tiled OS pack on market share at a faster rate, but it’s too early to know.

I think that’s been obvious long since. Windows 8 is the only version of Microsoft’s operating system to date whose release drove up its predecessor’s sales.

Windows operating systems still have 88% of the desktop market, the balance being OS X, Android, and Linux.

It might be claimed that market share of desktop operating systems is irrelevant because the PC is dead but that reflects a misunderstanding of the U. S. market. The U. S. computer market is completely mature; just about every prospective customer already has what they need. That’s not just true in the desktop sector and mainframe sectors but in the smartphone and tablet sectors as well. More new businesses could spur additional desktop sales or some “killer app” could boost tablet sales but barring those eventualities the market in just about every sector of the computer market from handheld to mainframe is mature.

Mature markets operate drastically differently than new ones do and American computers companies haven’t adjusted to that reality yet.

6 comments… add one

  • I’m actually a bit surprised that Windows is still sitting at nearly 90%. You’d never know that reading the tech news.

    From 2005:

    Coworker: And since my new Mac has an Intel processor, I can create a triple-boot system and run all of the major platforms.
    Trumwill: My computer can run all of the major platforms.
    Coworker: ?
    Trumwill: There’s only one.

    I guess this is still mostly true. :)

  • Andy

    I have Windows 8 because that was the only option when I bought my new laptop. I almost bought an older one so I could get 7 instead. I can’t downgrade because there are no drivers available for some of my hardware. I think that’s how adoption will be forced – every new system will ship with 8 and downgrading won’t be possible.

    Now that I have 8, though, I don’t have any complaints. I bought $5 mod to get rid of the stupid interface and bring back the 7 interface.

    Note to software developers: You aren’t as clever as you think you are. That cool new interface that you think is great sucks for me and my workflow I don’t want to have to relearn a UI every 2 years.

  • steve

    The computer science kids all just put Linux on and ignore Windows 8.

  • mike shupp

    I put together a PC the last couple of months, and I’ve just made fresh installations of Win Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 (next week, Debian Linux 7.5), so I’ve recent comparisons in mind.

    Windows 7 gets the prize for ease of installation and for use. In particular, the user interface is close to being intuitive — possibly that’s “intuitive for people using Windows since 1998″, but even so it’s a solid plus. Vista is almost as good, but not perfect — I found it frustrating when it came out because it seemed so different from Windows 2000, but I’ve mellowed.

    Windows 8 is … irritating. It’s not the silly Metro interface so much; you can get past that to a more familiar desktop-and-taskbar setting quickly enough. (Especially with two monitors, since one at least stays sane.) Nah, what sucks is the notion — the philosophy — that the PC exists to deal with The Cloud and Social Media, and that everything the user encounters has to be oriented to getting to Facebook in a hurry, exchanging photos with friends, keeping up with celebrity gossip and letting all my acquaintances know that I’ve successfully shopped for distressed leather jeans at Hammond’s Harness,

    I’m am old fashioned guy. I want to run Mathcad on my computer, or maybe Mathematica. I think my operating system really ought to include a good C compiler, and Perl and Python and a decent assembler. I’ve got a machine that can calculate spacecraft trajectories and planetary orbits with almost centimeter precision for well into the next century, and now and then I’d at least like to think about doing so. I want to write the Great American Science Fiction Novel or score the Great American Ballet or paint the Great American Abstract Expressionist Landscape or design the Great American Interstellar Colony Craft. Playing some movies and a couple of games would be nice also. And I’ve got an operating system that’s optimized for letting me tell my buddies what scores I’ve given to pictures of strangers’ butts.

    I suppose I could just overlook this. I could argue that Win 8 recognizes my hardware nicely, and given time, that Metro screen might be converted to something useful and familiar, rather like a bulletin board I pass each day when I arrive at work. Maybe. But why should I have to exert myself to make the user interface comfortable when I already have Vista and Win 7 and KDE?
    Amd don’t feel like I need to bathe after using them?

  • One of the things I’ve wondered is whether Microsoft’s new user interfaces have any research behind them. One of the virtues of the old CUA/SAA interfaces is that IBM actually compile those standards on a basis of solid research.

    The only thing that I can see that the Metro interface really accomplishes is simplifying Microsoft’s development tree.

  • mike shupp

    whether Microsoft’s new user interfaces have any research behind them

    Oh. I’m sure this is. And I think some people will just fall quite happily on that Metro desktop that annoys me so much.

    I mean … look at my computer screen and it will strike you that it’s basically uncluttered. Just two or three screen icons, stuck neatly up in one corner, and a nice big unobstructed picture. Not many items on the first page of programs when you click on the “Start” button. So you know what I’m like. “Organized” is the thought that comes to me. Maybe you’d say “Anal.”

    Well…. My way makes sense to me. I’m of a generation where computer classifications were hierarchical. There are directories which contain files and the like, and directories which include directories as files, etc. And it’s all LOGICAL! Maybe you want to write a letter to someone? So you need a word processor, and where else would you find a word processor but at the end of the chain such as “desktop — application — big program — office — text handling — word processor — WordPerfect 3.2″? If you can categorize it, you can find it! And that’s the way to be, amiright? You know I’m right! No other way to be!

    Other hand, we’ve all worked with people whose minds run differently, who don’t have notions about how programs are organized and stored on hard drives, or any interest in that. They have dozens of icons on their desktop screens instead. There’s a button they click on when they have to open a spreadsheet. There’s a button when they want to look at their email. There’s a button when some intuition tells them to run an anti-virus program. There’s a button to …

    You get the idea. You might want to lump these folk together as “oral” or “high visualcy” and distinguish them form “abstract” people such as I, but I’m not sure that works. Think of the way programs and data are actually stored on computer disks, as runs of 1’s and 0’s, which aren’t necessary contiguous or in any sort of logical order when compared with the original text or program. I’d have to judge that the “button clickers” have just as good an image of Underlying Reality as do the “hierarchical directory” people.

    Anyhow. My point was some people probably do like the new Windows interface. Some people probably don’t, and if that affects purchasing, Microsoft is going to get bitten in the posterior.

    And now, I need to get to installing Linux.

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