Every now and then, I like to drop in on the market share stats at NetMarketShare.com to see what’s up in the desktop world as monitored via that company’s observations of the Internet. When I checked this yesterday, I saw that for the first time in the three years or so since Windows 8 versions made their debut, that a single Windows 8 version (8.1) has surpassed the installed base for Windows XP, at 13.09 and 11.74 percent respectively.
On 8/25, the baseline for XP finally gave way to Windows 8.1
I’m not sure where Windows 10 figures into all of this, but with that OS in RTM status for a month now, and over 67 million installations leaked to Windows Central on 7/31, it still doesn’t show up on the NetMarketShare pie chart as a separate entry. The 8/26 readout shows Windows 10 at a mere 0.39% of respondents, so if all of the 67 million were on the Internet today, that puts the total PC population at 17 billion or thereabouts — a patently absurd figure, given that Internet World Stats puts the total number of Internet users worldwide at just over 3 billion.
It’s going to be interesting to watch Windows 10 emerge from the lowest ranks by market share, and begin to make its way up that ladder. I predict it will catch up with and pass Windows 8 versions much more quickly than they have come up that same path, but we’ll just have to wait and see how those numbers play out. I do have to question the leaked numbers reported in Windows Central, though, simply because the actual counts appear to be much lower as a fraction of the overall active user population measured through NetMarketShare. It’s also fascinating that the leading desktop, Windows 7, is now two full generations back from the current OS version, now out of mainstream support but with four-and-a-half years still to go on extended support (see the MS Lifecycle Fact Sheet for details).