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Update: Windows 8's early uptake lags behind Vista's

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 3, 2013
Final online usage numbers for 2012 released Tuesday confirmed that Windows 8 failed to match Windows Vista's uptake pace during its first two months.

Final online usage numbers for 2012 released Tuesday confirmed that Windows 8 failed to match Windows Vista's uptake pace during its first two months.

Preliminary numbers from Net Applications last week indicated that Windows 8 would end the month behind Vista's uptake at the same point in its release cycle. Yesterday's data confirmed the earlier projections by Computerworld.

According to the U.S.-based analytics firm, Windows 8's December global usage share was 1.9 per cent of all Windows PCs, slightly lower than the 2.2 per cent Vista posted in early 2007 after two full months of availability.

Windows 8 did make its strongest showing in the month's final week, however. In the week ending Dec. 29, which included Christmas, Windows 8 accounted for 2.1 per cent of all Windows systems, a jump of four-tenths of a percentage point from the week before.

It was Windows 8's biggest-ever week-to-week increase since its Oct. 26 launch.

The inability of Windows 8 to keep pace with Vista is a troubling sign for the new operating system. Vista was pegged a failure, in part because it was adopted by relatively few customers, so associations with that flop rather than with the triumphs before and after -- Windows XP and Windows 7 -- could paint Windows 8 with the Vista brush.

While Windows 8 competed with Vista in uptake, it clearly has lost the battle with Windows 7. By the end of Windows 7's second month of availability, the 2009 OS-powered 6.2 per cent of all Windows machines, or more than three times Windows 8's current share, Net Applications' data showed.

But Windows 8 debuted in a decidedly different environment than did Vista, or even Windows 7.

Analysts, who have been predicting a weak reception for the new operating system for months, have cited a sweeping set of reasons for their forecasts. One, enterprise upgrade fatigue -- companies that recently moved from Windows XP to Windows 7 have no stomach for another migration anytime soon -- puts Windows 8 in the same boat as Vista.

In 2007, most businesses relied on Windows XP, a proven workhorse with more than five years behind it. Few bothered to tackle Vista. Windows 8 faces a similar situation, with the three-year-old Windows 7 now widely used by enterprises. Experts have said it's unlikely companies will migrate to Windows 8 because of the robustness of Windows 7 and their recent move to it.

Economic conditions may also be playing a part in Windows 8's lethargic uptake, although the data doesn't completely explain the new OS's sluggishness.

The Consumer Confidence Index, a widely-cited economic indicator, averaged 68.3 in the last two months of 2012, a far cry from the high-flying 109.7 of Vista's initial two months of availability during the first quarter of 2007. By that metric, it's understandable that Windows 8 lags behind Vista.


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