Windows 10 Surpasses Windows 8.1
Written by Janet Swift   
Monday, 01 February 2016

Windows 10 now has around a 12% share of the worldwide desktop operating system market. Is it on track to become the Universal Windows Platform that Microsoft intends it to be?

The end of January statistics from both NetMarketShare and StatCounter show Windows 10 finally edging ahead of Windows 8.1.

First the NetMarketShare global desktop trends show the way in while, while still very much the dominant OS. Windows 7.0 has steadily lost share since the launch of Windows 10 in June 2015 and its loss has been Windows 10's gain.

While Windows 8.1 has lost share it made some recovery in January. So did WindowsXP which is stubbornly refusing to fade away. Having been overtaken by Windows 8.1 in June and July and again in November, it bounced back in both December and January.  


(Click in chart to enlarge)


Inspecting the StatCounter trends chart. Windows 10 saw its steepest rise since July, the first full month after launch and the figures on which it is based give it a 13.65% share of the Desktop OS market, compared to 11.67% for Windows 8.1.


(Click in chart to enlarge)


NetMarketShare's pie chart for the end of January 2106 shows a narrower margin with Windows 10 on 11.42% compared with Windows 8.1's 10.40%. Counting Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as if they were the same operating systems would also reveal a different picture. At a combined 13.08% Windows 8/8.1 would be ahead of both Windows XP and Windows 10. 


While Windows 7 users are regularly nagged to upgrade for free - with a deadline that is still far enough away to ignore, if you are a Windows XP user you are immune to this pressure. It's already too late to update with a free upgrade path - but looking at the XP share of the pie this does look like a missed opportunity for Microsoft. Do any of them, however, have the hardware capable of running Windows 10?

If Microsoft could get everyone to upgrade then it would be in a much better position in the future. A single rolling version of Windows that is kept up-to-date minimizes maintenance costs and completely removes the need for the user to even consider any further updates to a new version. 

Microsoft targeted Windows 10 to be on 1 Billion devices and it needs to meet this target to remain a credible platform against Android and iOS. Back in June 2015 this seemed like an achievable goal - how hard can it be to give away an operating system? As the July 2016 deadline for the free upgrade approaches Microsoft is going to have to try even harder to motivate users to upgrade.

What about after the July deadline? 






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Last Updated ( Monday, 01 February 2016 )