Windows 8 picked up 0.61 percent market share in September to end the month at 8.02 percent, crossing the eight percent threshold for the first time according to Net Applications. In the same timeframe, Windows 7 snagged 0.80 percent market share to rest at the 46.43 percent mark.
As The Next Web’s Emil Protalinski points out, “this is the first time Windows 7 has gained more share than Windows 8 since the latter’s release.”
Microsoft is essentially selling two different operating systems to distinct market groups: Windows 8 to consumers and Windows 7 to its enterprise clients who often remain deep in their upgrade cycle away from Windows XP. Thus, strong performance from Windows 7 isn’t necessarily a knock against Windows 8, but it isn’t exactly a vote of confidence either.
Windows 8 continues its slow progress towards 10 percent market share. At 0.61 percent per month, Windows 8 should cross that barrier either in late December or early January, depending on how strong holiday sales of Windows PCs are during the holiday cycle.
I have a new phrase in mind: Fortress Windows 7. Companies are locking themselves into Microsoft’s beloved operating system at a pace that exceeds my prior expectations. This means that for a half decade or so, around half the PC market will remain happily ensconced in Windows 7. This is at once negative for Microsoft – it wants more people on Windows 8, downloading applications from its Windows Store – and a boon: By the time those PCs are ready for an upgrade, Microsoft will have presumably filed every rough edge from its Metro offering, and have a Windows Store sufficiently stocked to be above complaint.
And the amount of revenue Windows 7 brings to the operating system division of Microsoft is comparable with Windows 8, so the impact here is more strategic than financial.
Whatever the case, somewhere in Redmond someone is cheering that Windows 8 now has 8 percent market share to its name. It’s been a slog of a year for the operating system, with two points of light on its horizon: The coming Windows 8.1 update, and a new hardware crop for the end of the year, including two new Surface tablets. Both should come to its aid.
Still, total Windows market share is dangerously close to slipping under the 90% mark. That would be a far larger moment.
Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.