Microsoft: Windows 10 is doing well. Netmarketshare: Well...

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 12, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft's updated Windows Trends statistics indicate that the Windows 10 operating system is doing well. Third-party services like Netmarketshare beg to differ.

Microsoft updated the Windows and Store trends page that is full of statistics for developers with new data that covers the time period between September 2014 and August 2016.

The company saw its own operating system Windows 10 at 39% back in June,a figure that differed highly from those put out by tracking services such as Netmarketshare.

The updated numbers for July and August saw an increase of 3% in July and 1% in August to a total of 43% globally at the end of August 2016. Windows 7 on the other hand fell in that time from 46% in June 2016 to 42% in August 2016.

microsoft windows install base

The situation in select regions of the world is even more so in favor of Windows 10. Windows 10 has an install base of 55% in the United States, 54% in Western Europe and 47% in Japan according to the updates statistics.

If you look over at Netmarketshare, you get a totally different picture.

Windows 10's usage share increased in recent time, but is nowhere near the numbers that Microsoft reports. According to latest Netmarketshare stats of November 2016, Windows 10 is at 23.72% after three months of barely moving at all and even losing market share in one of the months.

Windows 7 on the other hand sits comfortably at 47.17%, almost double Windows 10's usage share. Netmarketshare saw Windows 7 drop by a little bit more than 5% this year. Windows 10 doubled its usage share thanks to the free offer from 11.85% to 23.72% in November 2016.

Why is there such a huge difference?

It is clear that both statistics cannot be true at the same time. Even if you take into account that Microsoft provides statistics only for Windows 7, Windows 8.x and Windows 10, and Netmarketshare for Windows XP and non-Windows operating systems, you won't get the same numbers.

The main reason why Microsoft's stats differ from any other service comes down to methodology. Microsoft tracks the devices that Windows 10 is installed on, while Netmarketshare and other services usage share.

According to Wayne over at Betanews, Microsoft's stats include Windows 10 devices that are not sold yet.

Third-party services on the other hand record usage share based on visits to certain web properties.  Netmarketshare monitors a network of over 40,000 sites with 160 million unique visitors per month, and uses the information to compute the statistics.

What we do know is that Windows 10's market share is increasing but even if you take Microsoft's numbers at face value, it is doing so slowly (4% in two months is not particularly fast).

Now You: Would you say that Windows 10 is doing well?

Microsoft: Windows 10 is doing well. Netmarketshare: Well...
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Microsoft: Windows 10 is doing well. Netmarketshare: Well...
Microsoft's updated Windows Trends statistics indicate that the Windows 10 operating system is doing well. Third-party services like Netmarketshare beg to differ.
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  1. Fractal Zone said on December 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I run Winblows systems including Win7.1 Pro x64 Sp1, Windows Pro 8.1 and once a couple of my machines arrive when the movers deliver my belongs to my new permanent address, I am likely to install XP Pro x64 SP2 on at least one of those space heaters. I recall when MS released SP4 for Win2K (formerly known as WinNT). My thought at the time was: “This is going to get messy, fast!”

    I have a half TB space on this laptop reserved for when I do my next Linux installation. It will probably be Mint Linux, although I have liked Ubuntu in the past. Mostly, I just want to be sure WoW runs under Wine on whatever version of Linux I choose. There is almost absolutely nothing that runs under Win7 through WinX for which I can’t find as good or better an application that replaces it that runs under Linux, games and a few mostly Windows specific system utilities are the only exceptions that come to mind.

    Running a decent version of Linux on any given machine tend to make it one hell of a lot faster for many purposes.

    It is rather interesting that MS has run a bunch of Windows machines hooked up to a Linux/Unix server for their dog and pony shows. I think I first read about that when MS was trying to show off clustered NT, Win2K or maybe WinXP machines. I don’t know for sure because I would never consider clustering any Windows-based systems. That is a disaster waiting to happen.


  2. Michael Barnes said on December 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    …on XP from September 2002 until August 2016, Yeap, 14 yrs in total :-)
    Vista was utter crap – regardless what the fanboys were saying back in the day, it (obviously) went totally discredited as time passed by.
    Win7 – pretty ok for daily use, like a post-modern XP. But it didn’t really offered anything special to me, so why bother…(i don’t play games, thereby…) – all the rest tasks i could already do in XP.
    Win 8 / 8.1 -> like a post-modern Vista…aka utter failure once again. Better stay with Win7…
    Win 10 -> Cortana says ‘Hello, welcome to SpywareOS. All your base & data are belong to us’.

    It’s no wonder Win10 doesn’t sell. People will only get it via ‘forceful’ ‘free’ upgrades, lol…and MS knows that well. And even so, still, many people will ditch it soon afterwards to return to Win7…

    So…after 14 yrs of XP, i’m off to Ubuntu. Win10? Not even as a joke. Win7 which is certainly way way better? Doh, why bother anymore…MS itself will ditch it in merely a couple of yrs, and instead every crap that they’ll be releasing will be on their privately managed cloud. You wanna have at least some basic privacy & control of your desktop? In 2016 – you know what to do.

  3. Mikhoul said on December 15, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Micro$oft give “POST-FACT” statistics…

  4. Notimportant said on December 13, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Does all this really carry weight ? Speaking for myself, no. I will not allow Win10 on my machines and I have no illusions this will create some problems for the future. But there is still enough time left to figure out alternatives. That’s what I am doing and that’s what everybody is supposed to do who won’t get Win10.

    Microsoft can pusblish all they want. I am looking at their actions and what I see is not at all convincing to me to believe Microsoft being a haflways honest and straightforwad company which at least has a mild interest in the customers needs and wishes.

    I am talking customers. Not app pushing, addicted Iwantitnows.

  5. coakl said on December 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    The Win 10 sales push sounds a lot like the Wells Fargo scandal.
    Unauthorized checking, savings, credit card account opened by Wells Fargo bank employees.
    All in a bid to meet a sales quota, by forcing unwanted garbage on customers.

  6. Alan Robertson said on December 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Who cares about Windows 10? Isn’t that the Xbox OS? Everyone else is using Android or if you have money to burn, iOS. There was a reason why they gave it away for free – it’s the creepiest, spy-ware ridden, back doored, hunk of junk that regularly breaks when they update it. Those who know what they are doing are using Linux and for the rest of sheeple they would be better off using Chromebooks. Hell, even Microsoft would prefer to dump their own OS in favour of Linux and concentrate on all the cloud services that are way more profitable than maintaining Windows 10. MSLinux? We’ll see.

    1. FractalZ said on December 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      MSLinux ?!? I guess you forgot about Xenix? [ ] I recall trying to sell that MS-POS in the ’80s. MS could not possibly want to get any flavor of Unix/Linux right, or even as wrong as Windows Vista or WinX.

      Why? There is massive support from computer scientists and other people who probably qualify as “expert” for both Unix and Linux, in general. Support for Windows is something M$ wants to cash in on, so it is needlessly complex, unreliable, and even defective-by-design…that way there is always a huge demand for paid support from the kind of bozos who will buy any MS product because, “It’s the standard.” There used to be a saying about IBM: “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” The same now applies to Microsoft. You can get better, but you can’t pay more.

    2. anon said on December 13, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Utter nonsense. No one uses Android or iOS for demanding work nor is Microsoft willing to dump Windows.

      1. Alan Robertson said on December 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

        Yeah, I think you’re missing the point: Most users don’t need anything more advanced than Android to do their jobs. You can easily message each other / take and send photos / surf the web – that suits many people’s requirements.

        As for office work, a Chromebook is more than sufficient / Libre Office on Linux. Of course if you are doing anything more advanced then a laptop is great, but let’s face it, the trend is towards phones / portability / cloud. Heck we’re even talking to our devices – how long before the keyboard is irrelevant? And where does Windows 10 fit into all that? Hmm, it doesn’t!

        As for the new found love for Linux that Microsoft is expressing, I think you’ll find a general migration of services (e.g. .net / Powershell / Skype / bash etc.) towards Linux on Windows 10. Microsoft just isn’t interested in maintaining Windows 10. They would much rather you were using their cloud services and regularly paying them for it. As to what operating system you use to access their cloud services – who cares? The future is not traditional Windows – it’s Linux with cloud services bolted on top. Even Microsoft use Linux servers.

        I think Satya already knows the days of the paid operating system are over and they’ll just keep migrating software and merging it with Linux until Windows 10 is Linux 10. If you do it slowly enough and maintain how the GUI looks at the front end and compatibility with legacy software then no-one will care how it is running underneath. They could even do it right now by virtualising the OS and very few people would notice. The money that they could save by concentrating on cloud services and less so on the OS would be enormous. And let’s not forget that there are a lot of ex Redmond employees now getting involved in the open source community…. Sorry I just don’t see a long term future for Windows 10 (in it’s current form).

  7. Dan82 said on December 13, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Considering that I don’t believe Netmarketshare’s data to be representative of the computer and Internet usage the world over, I’m only left with StatCounter data. Sadly they have their own weakness, because their collection methodology only counts page hits and not unique users.

    Netmarketshare on the other hand takes values the CIA publishes of the worldwide Internet users by country and then weighs their own collected data based upon these figures. If they encounter a much lower ratio of unique visitor from China for example than the CIA figures on total Internet Users for the country indicate, then each of their unique visitors is counted more than once. That’s a huge issue, because the company doesn’t collect nearly enough data to make me believe their weighed end results could be anywhere close to the truth. For the longest time their weighing process has favored Internet Explorer numbers to ridiculous heights.

    1. Lemmiwinks said on December 13, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Also counting monthly unique visitors like NetMarketShare does is not representative. That includes people who barely ever use the web and therefore whose numbers don’t matter in the least for web browser market shares.

      Stat Counter at least accounts for browser usage. It over represents browsers used by people who use the web a lot, but I would argue that their weight is drowned in the mass, and even if it is not completely they at least are more representative in terms of browser market adoption.

      Also those people tend to block ads and so are less likely to be counted. It probably evens out quite nicely, making StatCounter pretty reliable in countries where their sample is high enough. (Worldwide is a worthless stat for browsers anyway, even on NetMarketShare. That’s lumping too many different things into one single stat.)

  8. Jeff said on December 13, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Windows 10 can go die in hell for all I care. Microsoft can shove it down their @#$%^ like Windows 8.

    1. Kevin said on December 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I still remember when I started getting random BSODs on my Windows 8.1 tablet while watching Youtube videos. Some things never change… The solution was to find and delete some obscure update.

      After experiencing the complete lack of improvements in Windows 10 over 8.1 in the assistive technology department (Magnifier and Narrator are both a joke on a touch screen), my tablet is now running Android.

    2. Lemmiwinks said on December 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Finally! The Gerbil King, the Sparrow Prince, the Frog King and the Catata fish are getting updated software. About fucking time Mr. Slave!

  9. Peeed Off said on December 13, 2016 at 2:50 am

    You do realize his Net Market share content is MS’s own information. Complete Bias on a massive scale. What do the real figures add up to. !!!

  10. Rascal said on December 13, 2016 at 2:20 am

    I enjoy using Windows 10, it does everything I’m interested in, music, banking, email, movies, (no Facebook, get real) etc. As a consumer, I wouldn’t know what other OS to use. I’m not an iApple fan, I have a MS email that I’ve had for years, so I don’t use gmail, I’m not going to go over to Linux, don’t know a thing about it. I’ll just stick with what I know. Am I a MS fan, I probably am, I’ve just never had the troubles that I’ve seen listed here. An no, I’m really not technically inept. I very much appreciate this website because of the terrific information I’ve read, but there is so much whining…

    1. Jeff said on December 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Windows 7 will also do your music, banking, email, movies without any of the Windows 8/10 annoyances. Get Android if you use apps and use a computer for serious work with full-featured, professional software designed for a mouse and keyboard, not some silly app for 3 buttons, silly touch UI and ads.

  11. anonymous said on December 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Its also worth noting that Microsoft had to nag and even trick a bunch of grandmas just to get Windows 10 adoption this far. How far would they be along with adoption if they did it in an ethical manor, without updates that are mis-labeled to trick people into thinking that they are being deployed to fix problems with Windows?

    And how far would Microsoft be along if they hadn’t modified it so that closing a Window okays the install, and trying to trick people with only “upgrade now” or “upgrade tonight” buttons, as well as continuously installing the KB3035583 update again when people took the trouble of deleting it and opting not to show it anymore?

    Microsoft is a disgusting and unethical company, almost as bad as our government who didn’t lift a single finger while all of this was going on, likely because they’re both too busy salivating at getting everyone’s browsing data.

    1. Lurking About said on December 13, 2016 at 3:55 am

      My take on the statistics is MS is doing some creative, Hollywood accounting in their favor, legal (maybe) but definitely dubious. The other services are indicating W10 usage is not growing at a significant rate, much less than would be expected from new unit sales would indicate. I would believe net usage shares at their problematic best because they just counting the OS and browser in use which would give a better picture of the shares of both OSes and browsers.

  12. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Saying someone lies is so straightforward that it may appear rude. Hence I wouldn’t be surprised that Microsoft is making big mistakes in its calculus.

    All markets follow the same principle as stock exchanges themselves : for the non-initiated it all resumes to psychology, and saying a product is doing good is for many more than an incentive when it becomes the ultimate factor of a decision.

    Windows 10 at 40%+ ? That does sound as quite inflated, to me anyway.

    1. "Free Upgrade" said on December 13, 2016 at 12:11 am

      Sure, it’s a “mistake” not intentional deceptive marketing. I know that in the past MS has faked their numbers by counting sold licenses rather than physically sold devices. That means they counted devices still sitting in stores and warehouses. Third parties have to rely in part on Microsoft’s data for their stats, or they can only sample a segment of the market.

  13. anon said on December 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Market share numbers always vary between sources because their methodology is different.

    This ZDNet article provides an insight into this subject.

    1. Corky said on December 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Seriously? You read articles by Ed Bott?

      You do know he’s one of the most well know pro-Microsoft “journalists” out there, and i use the term journalist very loosely as his articles read more like extensions of Microsoft PR dept.

      1. Corky said on December 12, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        Honestly i don’t care what he’s doing, he’s been widely discredited and as such his opinion about anything is worthless, at least IMO.

      2. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        @anon, I guess the problematic is less to wonder if there is evidence of guilt than to consider that the lawyer has a reputation of excellency when it comes to defending his client. And Ed Bott is known as advocating quite well.
        When a journalist takes his marks systematically he becomes an editorialist.

      3. anon said on December 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm

        He’s comparing two independent sources of online measurement. I don’t see any pro-Microsoft bias in that article.

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