Windows by the numbers: Windows 10 spikes, Windows 7 dives
Windows 10 in January posted its second-largest single-month increase in user share, when its works-
for-business forerunner, Windows 7, exhausted its free support.
According to data published Saturday by web metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10 added 3.7
percentage points last month - almost twice the increase of the month before - to end January at 57.1%,
a record high. Windows 10's portion of the user share of just Windows PCs climbed almost two points,
Microsoft retired Windows 7 three weeks ago, on Jan. 14. Although the Redmond, Wash.
firm delivered the final general security updates to customers then, businesses can purchase
post-retirement patches through the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program.
Windows 7 plummets to equal XP's at-expiration share
The now-retired Windows 7 finished January - and its allotted half a score - with a 25.6%
share of all personal computers, down a whopping 4 percentage points (also the second-largest
decline ever in one month), and at 29% flat for those systems running some kind of Windows.
That decline was the largest since August 2016 and depressed Windows 7 to the same share
Windows XP had when it wrapped up its long run in April 2104. Warnings by Computerworld
that a greater portion of Windows 7 would remain at its retirement were ultimately unfounded.
Those warnings were based on forecasts cranked out with the average of the most recent 12 months.
In for a penny, in for a pound: The latest prediction pegs Windows 7 declining by more than a
point each month, meaning the OS should slide under the 20% of all Windows PCs bar in September,
dip further - to around 17% - by the end of the year.
There's little reason to question those dates: Windows XP did the same, falling below 20% of all
Windows PCs eight months after its retirement, nearing 18% three months after that.
By those same milestones - September and December - Windows 10 should account for 76% and 80%,
respectively. Those numbers may seem unreasonable, but because Windows 10 won't be sharing share
with any follow-up, as have earlier editions of the client software, it's certain that the OS will ultimately
own all of Windows on the desktop.
Speaking of all of Windows, elsewhere in Net Applications' data, Windows 8/8.1 added one-tenth of a
percentage point, climbing to a 4% share. A year from now, the OS flop will have slid to 2.8%. (Side
note: Windows 8.1 retains support until Jan. 10, 2023.)
Net Applications miscounts, scrambles numbers for September-December
Apple's macOS has been making inroads the last few months, chewing up some of Windows' share.
Or so Net Applications' data was saying.
"Due to changes made to the user agent in iPadOS 13, iPads were identified as macOS devices,"
the California metrics vendor wrote on its website. "This change propagated progressively from
September to December and required an adjustment to the data in that timeframe."
By miscounting iPads running iPadOS 13 as Macs, Net Applications overestimated the share of
macOS. The differences between the contemporaneous shares and those adjusted to remove the
iPadOS data was substantial. In December, for instance, Net Applications had pegged macOS' user
share as 11.1%; that month's adjusted share now? 9.2%.
From September to November, macOS' adjusted shares were similarly lower than the originals.
November's 11.6% (reported at the time) fell to 9.7% (adjusted by eliminating iPadOS); October's
11% became 9.2%; and September's 11.6% sunk to 9.4%.
In January, macOS added six-tenths of a percentage point to climb to 9.7%. And because share was
zero-sum, never more than, never less 100%, when macOS was incorrectly boosted, Windows had to
take a hit. Adjusting macOS downward by dumping iPadOS, then, raised Windows' total. For December,
Windows went from 86.8% (as originally reported) to 88.7% (after adjustment); in November climbed
from 86.1% to 87.7%; for October changed from 86.8% to 88.5%; and in September, went from 86%
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