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As Win8.1 Closes in on XP, Win10 Jumps into the Marketshare Game

Every now and then, I like to check in on the Desktop Operating System Market Share pie chart over at NetMarketShare.com. This morning, I had to fiddle the parameters a bit to get the site to show me the most recent stats (which for some reason first came up with a chart that didn’t register Win10 at all, and still showed XP with a market share of over 25% which puts it in the late 2014/early 2015 date range if memory serves). For November 2015, the current pie chart looks like this:

1511-osnms

As the year moves toward its final month, Windows 10 is starting to show on the radar.
[Source: NetMarketShare.com 11/27/15]

At 2.54%, Windows 8 is already fading into complete obscurity, now behind Mac OS X 10.10 at 3.45% (but still ahead of 10.11 at 2.18%). Windows XP’s share continues to drop, now only one percent ahead of Windows 8.1 (11.68% for XP vs. 10.68% for 8.1). But Windows 10 has jumped into fourth place at 7.94%, which makes me wonder if Windows 8.1 will have a chance to eclipse XP before being overtaken by Windows 10, or if Windows 10 might not jump into second place ahead of both of those OSes in one fell swoop. Probably not but not entirely inconceivable, either.

Windows 7, of course, remains the true “elephant in the room” with a massive market share that still exceeds all other OSes combined at 55.71%. My prediction is that as soon as Win10 eclipses both XP and 8.1, it will then continue waxing as Windows 7 starts to wane. It could take as long as a year, however, before Windows 7 loses its majority share and Windows 10 consolidates its position enough to start seriously whittling away at the current big dog on the desktop OS front.

I guess that’s progress, as far as changing market dynamics go. What I’d like to start seeing is a chart that combines both mobile and desktop OSes, so we can get a sense of the relative size of both markets as a whole, and the position of the players in each segment. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the number of connected mobile devices was 7.4 billion in 2014, of which I’d have to guess that 80-plus percent were smartphones or feature phones, and less than 20% tablets or other more computationally oriented devices (such as laptops, notebooks, and so forth). By comparison, the total number of personal computers in use can optimistically be pegged at about 2.3 billion*. Methinks that gives the mobile world increasing heft while relegating desktop OSes to a decidedly second-class position overall. Perhaps that means I should start watching Windows Phones fortunes more closely, too? At under 3% for all versions tracked (10, 8.1, 8, and 7.5) that’s a whole different story, in a world where Android and iOS team up for over 90% of all devices.

[*Note: estimate of total PCs worldwide comes from a 2008 Gartner projection that indicates the total number at over 1B for that year, expected to double by 2014, combined with an estimate of 133% of Q1-Q3 2015 totals of 214 million from Statista, for a total of 285M units for this year, give or take.]

[Update added 11/29 12 PM CDT/-06:00 UCT] Neowin has a fascinating story just up yesterday evening entitled “Windows 7 and XP are the biggest losers with Windows 10’s rapid growth — US Gov’t” that sort of proves my analytical point and sheds some more narrowly-focused data on this marketshare trend (Win10 up, other Windows versions down). You can read the whole thing to see all the data, but the information comes from the government’s digital analytics program (DAP) which shows that among Windows users, 12.4% are using Win10, up from 8% in August, 2015. In the same timeframe, Windows 7 has lost 7% of its share, while XP has lost 2.1% (other versions are also down, with Windows 8.1 down by 1.1%, and Vista 1.6%). Neowin’s conclusion is worth repeating — namely that “…users who purposefully stuck with older — more popular releases — think that Windows 10 is a good upgrade and have started to jump ship.” Looks like MS’s free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 to 10 may be starting to have its desired effect of migrating that user base.

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