You have several options if you want to know how well -- or not -- an operating system is doing. One option is to use usage tracking companies and their data.
Firms like Netmarketshare release stats every month publicly that are based on hundreds of millions of user interactions.
While that is useful to a degree, it lacks precision. This becomes apparent when you compare stats put out by different companies.
While you could calculate the average, or pick the source you trust the most, it is clear that this is not exact science but an approximate value of the operating system's market share.
Microsoft publishes its own statistics, and they paint a very different picture than most usage tracking services.
If you open the Windows Trends page on the Microsoft developer site, you will notice the following values for June 2016:
Microsoft's data is based on telemetry data that Windows devices report to the company.Microsoft counts active installations only furthermore; this should end the argument that the company counts licenses or any re-installation of Windows 10, or downgrades of Windows 10 systems in its stats.
This is different to how companies like Netmarketshare track usage, as they track usage by monitoring connections to websites.
Still, 39% is quite high and comes close to Steam's value of 44%. It is interesting to note that Microsoft reports the same 44% if you switch to gamers only.
While I have no explanation for the numbers, some observations need to be made:
First, Microsoft does not include XP or Vista, or other operating systems that are not Windows in its stats. If you would throw out those on third-party services, Windows 10's usage share would be higher as well. This does not explain the full difference though.
It is furthermore unclear how many users opted out of sending telemetry data. Windows 10 ships without options to opt-out completely for instance (Enterprise editions can, the rest cannot), which may contribute as well.
If you sort the stats by region, you may get even higher figures for Windows 10. The stats for the US show 50%, those for the UK 51%, and for Western Europe 48%.
The information at the top reads September 2016, but the latest month listed is June 2016.
Now You: What's your take on those stats?
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