StatCounter, a company that compiles global statistics about technology, released the latest report on how many people are using which operating systems on their computers. Windows, Mac, and Linux all have their place. What was interesting (yet not surprising whatsoever), was the unpopularity of Windows 8. So few computers have Windows 8 installed, that Windows XP is on twice as many computers as Windows 8. Window XP is discontinued and no longer supported by Microsoft whatsoever. In addition, according to Net Applications, the number of people using Windows 7 has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of people using Windows 8. In other words, more people are switching to Windows 7 than to its successor. This startling conclusion has caused Microsoft to decide to bring back the Start Menu, which was removed in Windows 7 despite much controversy.
About 7.9% of all computers have Windows 8 installed, and 4.5% have Windows 8.1. Meanwhile, Windows XP is at 18.6%. Even Apple’s OSX has more users than Windows 8, which is unheard of for a Microsoft operating system. In addition to the raw numbers, it is also interesting to look at how market share has changed since last month. As mentioned, Windows 7 is increasing in market share slowly by surely. Windows 7 jumped up about 1.5 percentage points, and Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined have only gained 0.62 percentage points. That means twice as many people switched their operating systems to Windows 7 than did to Windows 8.
Usually people don’t change their operating systems, but since Windows XP is losing support and is discontinued, many are being forced to switch over. And according to the numbers, most people are opting to use Windows 7 as their new platform. Possibly as a result of its popularity, Microsoft has decided to bring back the Start Menu into their next Windows release. Removing the Start Menu from Windows 7 was one of the more controversial changes. The Start Menu continued to not exist when Windows 8 was released, although in Windows 8.1 a sort of hybrid “new Start Menu” was added. But with Windows 8’s decreasing popularity, it seems that was not enough.
Of course, there are probably many other reasons Windows 8 is unpopular, but Microsoft seems to be getting the hint. With any luck, the next revision of Windows will be well received by users and will gain enough popularity for people to switch over on their own will. The natural next step would be to allow Windows 8 “apps” to be used as normal desktop applications. In fact, this is something that was demonstrated as a proof of concept from Microsoft. Also, this article was written on a Mac.