If you follow other tech related websites you may have noticed the usual slew of operating system market share articles that get published at the beginning of each month. Some claim that Windows 7 outpaced Windows 8 in terms of growth, which is not entirely correct.
It first needs to be noted that the statistics come from third party companies who monitor only a fraction of the Internet. It is all we got though, as Microsoft does not reveal these kind of information to the public.
That's however no the main point. Before we dig deeper, lets take a look at the numbers for context purposes.
Net Market Share lists the following usage share numbers for September 2013:
- Windows 7 with 46.41%
- Windows XP with 31.38%
- Windows 8 with 8.02%
- Windows Vista with 3.89%
- Windows 8.1 with 0.87%
For August 2013, it lists the following numbers:
- Windows 7 with 45.63%
- Windows XP with 33.66%
- Windows 8 with 7.41%
- Windows Vista with 4.11%
- Windows 8.1 with 0.24%
And now the change in percentage:
- Windows 7 up 0.78%
- Windows XP down 2.28%
- Windows 8 up 0.61%
- Windows Vista down 0.22%
- Windows 8.1 up 0.63%
So, Windows XP lost the most this month while both Windows 7 and 8 gained usage share. It is likely that the drop of XP's usage share will continue in the coming months considering that it will reach its end of support date in April 2014.
If you compare the growth of Windows 7 to that of Windows 8, you will notice that Windows 7 grew faster than Microsoft's operating system. That is however only half the story, since you need to include Windows 8.1 in the equation as well.
It is likely that many Windows 8 users upgraded to Windows 8.1 when the new version became available. That moved usage share away from Windows 8 and moved it to Windows 8.1. If you combine the growth of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, you come up with a total growth of 0.61% + 0.63% for the Windows 8 platform. And 1.24% is more than Windows 7's 0.78% growth.
It is not much though and it is very likely that at least some users who bought a Windows 8 PC have downgraded it to Windows 7.
Windows 8 continues to show a strong performance on Valve's hardware survey charts as well. It is placed second there with a market share of 15.79% for Windows 8 plus 0.69% for Windows 8.1 only trailing Windows 7 which has a combined market share of 64.24%.
The most usage share information can do is provide you with trend information. Which operating system is on the rise and which is on a decline. This may be great for marketing purposes, but that's about it.
What we can say for certain is that Windows 8's usage share is on the rise, that Windows 7 is holding up fine, and that Windows XP and Vista are dropping.