November was not a good month for Microsoft’s Windows 8.x operating system according to Net Applications, with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 collectively gaining a mere 0.05% points of market share during the period. Windows 8 fell 0.87% to 6.66% global market share. Windows 8.1 managed to grow by 0.92%.
The total gain of 0.05% is a weak figure. The main competitor to Windows 8.x, Windows 7, spanked its homegrown rival in November. As The Next Web’s Emil Protalinski pointed out earlier today, “Windows 7 grabbed 0.22 percentage points (from 46.42 percent to 46.64 percent). In November, Windows 7 thus managed to gain more share than Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined.” That 0.22% is more than four times the aggregate growth curve for Windows 8.x during the month.
Now, enterprise upgrade cycles to Windows 7 continue apace, something that isn’t in itself a knock against Windows 8 and Windows 8.1; Microsoft has encouraged companies to continue their existing Windows 7 transitions, in part to help kill off Windows XP ahead of its death date next year. Still, to see the combined Windows 8.x family essentially fail to grow a month after the release of Windows 8.1 is disappointing for Microsoft.
So how have those free upgrades gone? After one full month, Apple and Microsoft have successfully convinced roughly 30 percent of their respective installed bases to upgrade. (The exact numbers: 28.4 percent for Windows 8+, 33.9 percent for OS X 10.6+.)
However, Windows 8.x has had another full month of sales in the market, and instead of Windows 8.1 growing quickly ahead of Windows 8’s decline in the period – which would indicate strong upgrades, and sales – Windows 8.1 barely supplanted Windows 8’s decline, either signaling weak upgrades or slow sales. Or both.
This shifts even more weight onto December for Microsoft: Can it move enough computing units both of its homegrown tablet line and via its OEM partners to continue growing its download base, and thus keep up its efforts to attract the ever key developers whose attention it has long lacked?
A caveat to all of this: There could be slippage in counting between Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, with users upgrading during the month, and perhaps not being tallied, or even counted incorrectly. We’ll know more in a month. That aside, 0.05% is what we could call unch, and that’s not good for a platform that needs to grow.
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