It seems that Microsoft's aggressive Windows 10 push has finally paid off as the controversy-laden OS toppled Windows 7 in North America, and Oceania in December, 2016.
The company has been eerily silent about the number of users on the OS after announcing that it had 400 million users back in September 2016. Having discontinued the free upgrade path from Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 (at least via Windows Update), the slowdown was to be expected. The company even conceded that it won't reach its goal of a billion users within the time-frame it was aiming for, due to the faltering phone business.
Additionally, this rise in usage, while prevalent worldwide, is more discernible in the developed markets as opposed to developing nations such as India and Brazil, where Windows 7 still reigns supreme. In North America, Windows 10 barely cleared Windows 7 with 31.33% usage against 31.27%, but in Oceania, the OS easily overthrew the otherwise-dominant OS from the top-spot grabbing 36.39% of use as opposed to its competitor's 25.67%. Europe tells a similar story, albeit with a slightly different result as it closes in on the usage base of Windows 7 by a few percentage points (32.46% versus 34.87%).
This is not the first time the OS has edged past its competitor. Back in May 2016, it became the most used Operating System in North America, although only for a single day. While the company still gets a lot of flak for its borderline hawkish forced updates as well as often unfounded privacy hoaxes, Windows 10 has stood its ground and Microsoft has been taking steps to alleviate user apprehension. These numbers are likely to continue the trend of the OS's growing impact, as Microsoft stops supporting other versions of Windows with time.
Keep in mind that these stats are not as accurate as they are representative in the actual numbers. Every online stat gathering firm employs different methodologies, often with different results. StatCounter, in particular, aggregates visits to its commercial ad-based network which may be plagued by scammers trying to make extra revenue.
Even so, it gives the rising operating system 27.14% of all desktops and tablets. The firm's most notable competitor, NetMarketShare's recent figures corroborate the pattern giving the OS an install base of almost 25% of all devices but differs StatCounter's estimate by almost 2 percentage points. These numbers are indicative that suggest real-world usage, and must be taken as such.