February 19, 2019

Desktop Stats: Linux Behind, But Moving Forward - page 3

Gazing Into The Future

  • October 12, 2007
  • By James Maguire

The Net Application data reveals that Windows users, while not wildly passionate about Vista, are still a highly loyal bunch.

In December '06, the No. 1 operating system was the venerable Windows XP, with a hefty 85.30% market share. At that time, Vista was still being launched, garnering only a 0.16% share.

By September 07, XP's share had drifted down to 79.32%, yet Vista had taken up the slack, growing to 7.38%. Growing from nothing to 7 percent is impressive, until you consider the context. First, Microsoft spent $500 million on a marketing campaign (including an appearance by Bill Gates on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart). Second, Vista is installed on most new PCs, so it's the default option for the vast majority of PC buyers.

Since it's reasonable to assume that at least 10 percent of Windows users buy a new machine every year, it's likely that Vista would have seen a 7 percent adoption rate even without the half billion dollar ad campaign. It kind of makes you wonder what all the money really accomplished.

Still, the market share numbers demonstrate that Windows users remain committed to their OS. The total share held by the combination of XP and Vista is greater than it was in December '06; this modest gain comes from older systems like Windows 98 finally giving out. (For example, the 0.03% of users still running Windows 95 in December '06 has finally disappeared). Despite efforts like the clever, hip "Switch to Mac" campaign, the Windows OS suffered no appreciable defection this year.

Indeed, the Windows saga defies historical trends. Given that the Windows desktop took dominance in the 1980s, the fact that its near monopoly remains essentially unchallenged in 2007--competing in the hyper-fast changing arena of technology--makes it astoundingly successful. Apparently that $500 million did some good after all.

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