There could be 88.5 million Windows 8 users, but is that big enough?

Just over a year ago, Microsoft put the RTM label on Windows 8, over two months before the latest version of Windows officially launched to the public in late October. Since then, many pundits have declared Windows 8 to be a failure, and the latest data from research firm Net Applications shows that in July, Windows 8 was being used by just 5.40 percent of all PC owners worldwide. That's just 1.16 percent more than the total current users of Windows Vista, which was launched in 2007 and is considered by many to be perhaps the worst version of Windows ever.

Even Microsoft appears to be, at least privately, disappointed about current Windows sales in general, according to what its CEO Steve Ballmer told his employees at a recent company gathering. But just how many Windows 8 users are there in the real world? So far, Microsoft has only said it has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses, and that was back in May. However, selling 100 million OS licenses to OEMs is not the same as having those licenses installed and actively used on PCs.

Paul Thurrott of Winsupersite decided to do some quick math to estimate just how many Windows 8 users there are out there. First, he used Microsoft's own statements about how there are still 1.5 billion PCs operating worldwide. So in using Net Application's claim that 5.40 of PC users have Windows 8 installed and running, the (very rough) estimate comes out to 88.5 million PCs that are now using Windows 8.

Obviously, that number could be up or down by a significant amount. Microsoft's estimate of 1.5 billion PCs around the world could be off, and Net Applications' method of calculating the number of PC OS users (via unique visits to the websites they monitor) has been called into question on occasion, especially by its rival firm StatCounter.

In fact, StatCounter, which uses data gathered from page views of the sites it monitors, shows that the percentage of Windows 8 users is actually higher than Net Applications' numbers in the month of July, at 6.61 percent. However, StatCounter's OS data also includes percentages for iOS and Android users, which Net Applications leaves out.

Perhaps the best way to figure out just how many Windows 8 users there are in the world are to compare them to the number of Windows 7 users in the same period, and by using the same method. Windows 7 launched in October 2009. In July 2010, Net Applications showed that Windows 7 had claimed 14.86 percent of the PC OS market. That's nearly three times the market share percentage that Windows 8 currently has.

While Microsoft may have sold over 100 million Windows 8 licences, and the actual number of Windows 8 users could be as high as 88.5 million in a "best case" scenario, the final truth is that, over nine months after its launch, Windows 8 is simply not selling as well as Windows 7 did. Steve Ballmer certainly knows this, and would not have told his employees that Windows sales were not as high as he would have liked, if it wasn't true.

Microsoft has certainly put in a number of improvements in Windows 8.1 that will be welcomed by current Windows 8 users, but the jury is still out if the free update will help spur a new boost in Windows PCs and tablet sales. There is one encouraging sign, at least as far as Microsoft is concerned. Sales of Apple's iPad actually went down significantly in the second quarter of 2013. Many people have predicted that the iPad would replace the notebook, but lower sales could indicate that people are realizing that the iPad is fine for watching content, but poor at getting actual work done.

That could be the opening that Microsoft, and the entire PC industry, has been looking for. The launch of Windows 8.1 later this year, combined with new PC hardware that's been created with the lessons learned from the Windows 8 launch, could see people turn away from the iPad and embrace Windows 8.1 hybrid devices that have all of the features of Apple's iOS tablet but can also do all of the work that people still need to do on a PC.

The final result could be that the market share for Windows 8.1 on the PC could be much higher than Windows 8 at this same time next year. We will soon see if Microsoft, and its PC hardware partners can make that happen.

Source: Winsupersite | Images via Lenovo and Microsoft

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I've bought 4 licences of 8 - during last year promotion. I still use only one of them and when XP will reach his end of life support i will use another. The 2 others I've rollback to 7.
So, may be there are so many licences sold - and activated, but how many of them are still actives ? That's an unanswered question.

eiffel_g said,
......

Every one of the 10 users I upgraded is still using their copies.

There was only one person I talked to who didn't like Windows 8 because he had to go out and purchase DVD playback software, as his Win7 machine which was upgraded had nothing but the built-in.

There are a few cases where users will not find on-par functionality, but that's certainly not due to a missing start button or the addition of the Modern UI and Windows Runtime.

"In fact, StatCounter, ... shows that the percentage of Windows 8 users is actually higher than Net Applications' numbers in the month of July, at 6.61 percent."

a meager 6.61 percent. but phew. what a relieve.

68k said,
Writing applications (today) that rely on .NET is a mistake. .NET is 2000s technology.

Isn't WinRT based on .Net?

What a load of bull.

At the lowest level, WinRT is an object model defined on ABI level. It uses COM as a base (so every WinRT object implements IUnknown and does refcounting), and builds from there. It does add quite a lot of new concepts in comparison to COM of old, most of which come directly from .NET - for example, WinRT object model has delegates, and events are done .NET-style (with delegates and add/remove subscriber methods, one per event) rather than the old COM model of event sources and sinks. Of other notable things, WinRT also has parametrized ("generic") interfaces.

One other big change is that all WinRT components have metadata available for them, just like .NET assemblies. In COM you kinda sorta had that with typelibs, but not every COM component had them. For WinRT, the metadata is contained in .winmd files - look inside "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Windows Metadata\" in Developer Preview. If you poke around, you'll see that they are actually CLI assemblies with no code, just metadata tables. You can open them with ILDASM, in fact. Note, this doesn't mean that WinRT itself is managed - it simply reuses the file format.

Then there are a number of libraries implemented in terms of that object model - defining WinRT interfaces and classes. Again, look at "Windows Metadata" folder mentioned above to see what's there; or just fire up Object Browser in VS and select "Windows 8.0" in the framework selector, to see what's covered. There's a lot there, and it doesn't deal with UI alone - you also get namespaces such as Windows.Data.Json, or Windows.Graphics.Printing, or Windows.Networking.Sockets.

Then you get several libraries, which are specifically dealing with UI - mostly these would be various namespaces under Windows.UI or Windows.UI.Xaml. A lot of them are very similar to WPF/Silverlight namespaces - e.g. Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls is closely matching System.Windows.Controls; ditto for Windows.UI.Xaml.Documents etc.

Now, .NET has the ability to directly reference WinRT components as if they were .NET assemblies. This works differently from COM Interop - you don't need any intermediate artifacts such as interop assemblies, you just /r a .winmd file, and all types and their members in its metadata become visible to you as if they were .NET objects. Note that WinRT libraries themselves are fully native (and so native C++ programs that use WinRT do not require CLR at all) - the magic to expose all that stuff as managed is inside the CLR itself, and is fairly low level. If you ildasm a .NET program that references a .winmd, you'll see that it actually looks like an extern assembly reference - there's no sleight of hand trickery such as type embedding there.

It's not a blunt mapping, either - CLR tries to adapt WinRT types to their equivalents, where possible. So e.g. GUIDs, dates and URIs become System.Guid, System.DateTime and System.Uri, respectively; WinRT collection interfaces such as IIterable<T> and IVector<T> become IEnumerable<T> and IList<T>; and so on. This goes both ways - if you have a .NET object that implements IEnumerable<T>, and pass it back to WinRT, it'll see it as IIterable<T>.

Ultimately, what this means is that your .NET Metro apps get access to a subset of the existing standard .NET libraries, and also to (native) WinRT libraries, some of which - particularly Windows.UI - look very similar to Silverlight, API-wise. You still have XAML to define your UI, and you still deal with the same basic concepts as in Silverlight - data bindings, resources, styles, templates etc. In many cases, it is possible to port a Silverlight app simply by using the new namespaces, and tweaking a few places in code where the API was adjusted.

WinRT itself doesn't have anything to do with HTML and CSS, and it bears relation to JavaScript only in a sense that it is also exposed there, similar to how it is done for .NET. You don't need to deal with HTML/CSS/JS when you use WinRT UI libraries in your .NET Metro app (well, I guess, if you really want to, you can host a WebView control...). All your .NET and Silverlight skills remain very much relevant in this programming model.

bluefisch200 said,

No, WinRT is based on Win32 which has "translators"

The technical term would be "Language Projections" which as Anders Hejlsberg describes as similar to c header files.

What this means for a .NET developer is they can now leverage the underlying power of COM+ without having to write nasty half-baked COM Interop code.

Modern UI is a big mistake because it's a huge waste of space, ugly colors, flat tiles when people want information density and glossy eye candy. iOS has proven this.

CygnusOrion said,
Modern UI is a big mistake because it's a huge waste of space, ugly colors, flat tiles when people want information density and glossy eye candy. iOS has proven this.

That makes sense.... #Not

A large total is rather meaningless. What is the composition of that total? How many are being used for games, surfing the Internet, handling e-mail, and social media contacts? Versus, how many are being used for business use. It is probably hugely skewed towards the former. Microsoft still needs to come up with a viable replacement for XP and Windows-7 for a vast majority of business users.

TsarNikky said,
A large total is rather meaningless. What is the composition of that total? How many are being used for games, surfing the Internet, handling e-mail, and social media contacts? Versus, how many are being used for business use. It is probably hugely skewed towards the former. Microsoft still needs to come up with a viable replacement for XP and Windows-7 for a vast majority of business users.

Why can't Windows 8 be used in business?

CygnusOrion said,
Because Windows 8 means lots of wasted space, pointless swiping around. There is a definite loss in productivity in "upgrading".

Huh?

Come on, seriously, if Windows 7 does all you need without the need to jump through this morning hurdle ritual of clicking desktop app or the Windows key on a non-touch optimized desktop every morning, why would anyone really bother with Windows 8?

Windows 7 is the last of any reason to really upgrade. Windows 8 on a traditional, non-touch desktop or laptop, is just a upgrade, for upgrade sake. I have Windows 8, but to be honest, I really don't need it. Windows 7 boots just as fast on an SSD as Windows 8.

Well for some folks like me, it is hard to go back to Windows 7 after using Windows 8. My Start screen is very organized and some Windows 8 apps like the XE.com app are nice because the live tiles show the exchange rates. Also like the improved multi-monitor support without need for 3rd party app and it should improve in Windows 8.1.

I just hope Microsoft focuses more on teaching people exactly how to use the Start screen because it can be mighty useful once you pinned all your favorite programs. It eliminates the need of "clicking desktop app" every morning. Instead, you launch the app you want directly.

Win 7 had "live tiles", they're called gadgets.

You can 'pin your favorite programs' to the start menu, with a lot more extra functionality, and without taking up the entire screen and interrupting workflow.

5.4% is an apparent failure. Of course there is no single desktop OS version not named Windows that can even approach this number, nothing more needs to be said.

sjaak327 said,
5.4% is an apparent failure. Of course there is no single desktop OS version not named Windows that can even approach this number, nothing more needs to be said.

look at statcounter, ipad and android tablet installed base combined, cant even touch windows 8.

The article said,
Many people have predicted that the iPad would replace the notebook, but lower sales could indicate that people are realizing that the iPad is fine for watching content, but poor at getting actual work done.

That could be the opening that Microsoft, and the entire PC industry, has been looking for.


That doesn't seem to help MS at all, because Win8/Metro was a bid for the iPad market, at the expense of the desktop. All the new UI features in Win8 are likewise "poor at getting actual work done".

ok here goes.....I'm making a five year prediction

I'll save this URL and check back in 2018.

1. Windows RT will be discontinued due to advances in x86 mobile cpus
2. Mobile OS will be updated to run on Microsoft tablets which are x86
3. Windows will be used for the Enterprise
4. IPTV with XBOX as the biggest player

Big advances in System Center, Sharepoint, 365 and Forefront plus Lync/Skype Merger

glen8 said,
ok here goes.....I'm making a five year prediction

I'll save this URL and check back in 2018.

1. Windows RT will be discontinued due to advances in x86 mobile cpus
2. Mobile OS will be updated to run on Microsoft tablets which are x86
3. Windows will be used for the Enterprise
4. IPTV with XBOX as the biggest player

Big advances in System Center, Sharepoint, 365 and Forefront plus Lync/Skype Merger

Why the heck would Microsoft kill ARM support? Since when do mobile devices run on x64 chips?

your number 1 I wont agree on because RT will change very rapidly to be used across tablets, phones and xbox, by that time the desktop portion will be completely gone, that was the whole point of RT to begin with, but some stuff was not ready for the modern side of Windows, ie office and a few other things, 8.1 gets us closer, the next update after that will probably do the trick.

ARM x64 and Atom x64 both exist today - in other words, it's already doable. RT is a bid for the iPad/Android market - which needed to be made, to be honest. (Not even fans of Android and iPad dispute that.) It was added to Windows 8 because of something none of the desktop competition has - commonality with tablets and slates. (Other than RT/ModernUI, the only way to run tab lets apps on desktops is via the VM route - which means Android. There are no iOS VMs simply due to no iOS VM software being available. Despite OS X having Xcode, the iOS Simulator is NOT a proper iOS VM, as it lacks the iOS App Store deliberately.) On Windows 8, ModernUI/RT is an alternative - it seems to me that the anger is over the alternative merely existing, as nobody is insisting that you use it, let alone settle for poor quality ModernUI apps.

I have to agree with Snake89. I'm running Windows 7 on my desktop, and I have absolutely no intention of upgrading it to Win8. I don't need, and especially don't want mondern UI on my desktop. For my it's useless. If I would by a tablet however, Win8 would probably be my forst choice. But I don't need a tablet, so I'm out. And unfortunately for Microsoft a lot of desktop home users feel the same, not to mention businesses...

You can have 2 billion windows 8 sales.

But the real question is "Was the Modern UI on the desktop a hit or a mistake?".
For me i think the Modern UI was a big mistake.

hvakrg said,
Noone who has any idea would call Vista the worst version of Windows ever.

Though I still hate how Vista sometimes takes 10 mins to shut down! Even right after a clean install.

OS shutdown time is directly related to the services you have running. Really all they did with 7 is cut down on the number of default services. You can turn off the ones you're not using yourself.

As an overall number it's not terrible after a year but if I were Microsoft I'd be less worried about headline sales than the declining overall growth, it's incredibly slow at the moment in both tablet and PC land

Javik said,
As an overall number it's not terrible after a year but if I were Microsoft I'd be less worried about headline sales than the declining overall growth, it's incredibly slow at the moment in both tablet and PC land

Execpt a year equals 12 months not 9. I have no idea why suddenly a year is only 9 months instead of 12, but in Windows 8 case, people seem to think october 26 to july 31st suddenly equals to one year. Maybe it would be best not to comment on market share figures if you don't even get the period right.

I think Microsoft has done a poor job of selling what Win8 can do combined with the lack of quality apps. Or at least should be showcasing more the quality apps that exist.
I believe Win 8.1 will finally provide what Win8 should have been more like at the beginning. Still Microsoft needs to sell the benefits and they have failed to deliver on that yet.

A solid start.

A few things to point out: Many businesses just launch Windows 7, however many are about to abandon XP. Market share is sure to grow at that point.

Dot Matrix said,
A solid start.

A few things to point out: Many businesses just launch Windows 7, however many are about to abandon XP. Market share is sure to grow at that point.

I just can't see businesses running to Windows 8.. I'm sure those on Windows XP will migrate to Windows 7, and wait out to see where Windows goes after 8.1 is released.

I'm not responsible for desktop in my corporation (I'm Platform Engineering / Systems) but from the guys I talk to, there is really zero appetite for Windows 8 on the desktop yet.

But it's getting to that magic SP1 stage. They're calling it 8.1 but that's just semantics. We don't look at any new major version of anything until the first patch release. A lot of issues show in the field that do not show up in testing.

Spicoli said,
.......

I absolutely hate this method of conducting IT.

I work for a small telecommunications firm. I'm trying to convince my technology team to treat technology providers as Partners not Vendors.

The main distinction is dedicating some resources to work WITH your IT providers to ensure the product is production ready at x.0, rather than sitting back waiting for some arbitrary patch level.

The old, wait for SP1 used to be a sound way to conduct business. however, with all Vendors shortening development/release cycles it just seems antiquated and puts any firm who still operates thusly behind the curve, with an unhealthy, unwarranted fear of change at all levels.

There could be 88.5 million Windows 8 users [...] number could be up or down by a significant amount. [...] estimate of 1.5 billion PCs around the world could be off [...] number of Windows 8 users could be [...] lower sales could indicate [...] could be the opening [...] could see people turn away from the iPad [...] could be that the market share for Windows 8.1 [...] could be much higher

Quite an enlightening article, I must say... (no offense)

It's Vista part deus.

ohhh another Vista comparison FALSE I loved Vista and understand the improvements it brought e.g. security, WDDM (personal favourite)

so 9 should definitely be a blast

Tom Chapman said,
It's Vista part deus.

Or... this could be a launch like Windows XP. Hated at first, panned as a failure and then improved upon through updates to the point where people are in need of therapy at the thought of it retiring.

I do agree with you though, Vista brought some much needed changes to the table. It's unfortunate the industry took its time catching up.

I hardly read or heard any criticism back in 2001. I personally followed it closely when the Windows XP branding was revealed in January 2001 by Bill Gates up to the RTM launch in August of that year. There was a big buzz around it, mostly positive, then again, it was just NT 5.1. It never had any major complaints. In fact, I remember visiting a local Library in November of 2001 and seeing it on staff systems there. I was shocked and jealous. A former friend of mind had a friend at a PC Repair shop stole a copy of XP Home for him, which he didn't use, but he had a pirated copy of the infamous FCKG VLK license by November of that year. The adoption rates pretty much indicated that persons were pleased with it.

Yes, it did have compatibility problems as all Windows releases do out the gate. That same former friend of mine, upgraded from Windows ME. He had issues with Roxio EasyCD Creator, but got the patch for it same year through Windows Update. I was jealous he had it, especially after I gave him a copy of my Windows 2000 Professional that same summer. I asked him for a copy of the XP Professional and he said he would burn a copy for me. He didn't and I even gave him a copy of Visual Studio 6.0 with MSDN Library and he still would not give me a copy of the pirate XP. I asked that he return the software I gave him, he refused and this little twerp encouraged him not to give it to me (he's now dead, probably from not minding his own business).

We ended up fighting, he chased me out of his establishment, called me derogatory names. I never returned, I was hurt, I really thought he was somebody decent. I saw him a couple times, but just ignored the f***er after what he did. I moved on from that friendship. I eventually got a copy of Windows XP Professional (the same FCKG) from this old lady who owned a printshop. Didn't bother installing it. I asked my old High School Teacher when she was travelling abroad to pick up a copy of XP Home and Pro upgrades for me, I gave her the money. She did.

Memories.

Success can be measured in multiple ways. One concept of success could be changing people's expectations of Windows.

Come Windows 9, people won't be shocked by Metro / Modern.

if it has the same start menu and cannot be disabled it will fail again. you might like it as a web browsing user but it is unusable for work

DaveBG said,
if it has the same start menu and cannot be disabled it will fail again. you might like it as a web browsing user but it is unusable for work

Our company (20+) works with Windows 8...our productivity hasn't decreased...actually everyone is happy about the performance gain and the multi monitor support.

The big things for me have been the task bar across all my monitors and hyper-V being built in. The start menu makes no significant difference as everything is pinned to the task bar.

DaveBG said,
if it has the same start menu and cannot be disabled it will fail again. you might like it as a web browsing user but it is unusable for work

Holy crap how do you guys live with yourself with such dump concept and lack of foresight? If every time you need to do work you went to the start menu to open a program then you have been doing it wrong for way too long, since Windows 7. Most people stop going to the all programs > sub menus a while ago and all you did was type the program you were looking for in the search menu which with the improvement of Windows 8 you can do quickly universally and you get the program you want to open. Also if you work under the Desktop you should have all your programs pin to the taskbar. Once you are set there is no reason to use the start menu. But I guess people need a reason to whine.

I use Windows 8 for work every day. For the most part, it makes little difference.

However, I can really see a use for the live tiles in sending small notifications to employees. It would probably be more effective than email as it doesn't get so bogged down.

DaveBG said,
clearly you have no idea of working on windows pc means

Clearly, you are stuck inside the outdated, outmoded concept of what working on a pc meant.

Pinning programs to the taskbar is very limited. It's not a start screen replacement. It's also something in Win 7.

Typing the name of the program you want is inefficient and does not help at all when you don't remember the program name. Keyboard shortcuts are ok, but typing several characters of the name of the program is slow and tiresome. And it's something you can do in Win 7 anyway.

Neither of those are reasons to upgrade to Win 8 nor are they replacements for the start menu/screen.

http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...-improve-on-with-windows-81

Everyone that I know who actually works in Windows tends to use applications rather than sitting there calling up the start menu / screen all day.

My day is filled with Office, Visual Studio, an SSH client, Cygwin, PowerShell, VirtualBox, Remote Desktop and various browsers. I probably forgot some things there but actually they all just work in Windows 8 just as they did in Windows 7. I doubt I'm unusual in the way I use Windows.

There's a couple of regressions, like having separate categories for applications, settings and files but Windows 8.1 fixes that. Not enough to warrant any serious complaint.