Windows 8 adoption rate lags early Windows 7 adoptions by a five-to-one margin

The early results for Windows 8 adoptions likely won't please Microsoft: Net Applications reports that only 0.45% of Windows computers in October used Windows 8. That compares to a much higher adoption rate of 2.33% for Windows 7 during its October launch three years ago.

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer notes that there's one small caveat in those numbers: Windows 7 was released for sale on October 22, 2009, while Windows 8 was released for sale on October 26, 2012, giving it four fewer days of availability for the month. Still, those four days wouldn't make a dramatic difference in the month's numbers.

Even more worrisome for Computerworld is that Windows 8 may even be lagging behind the adoption rate of the much-maligned Windows Vista. Keizer notes:

Windows 8 will have to hustle to match the uptake of Windows Vista. That problem-plagued edition accounted for 1% of all copies of Windows after its first full month. To equal that, Windows 8 will have to more than double its share during November.

Windows 8 was clearly designed more for tablets than for traditional computers. Microsoft is likely betting that once people get used to its interface on traditional computers, they'll be more likely to buy Windows 8 tablets. And because Windows 8 Phone sports a very similar interface to Windows 8, Microsoft is also hoping Windows 8 will spur sales of Windows Phone as well.

So Windows 8's real success won't be measured in sales for traditional computers. One way or another, Microsoft will probably retain its near monopoly for those devices. The real test will be whether Microsoft grabs significant market share for tablets and mobile phones. If Windows 8 sales lags for traditional computers, but spurs sales of Windows tablets and phones, Microsoft will consider the operating system a success. But if tablets and phone sales lag, then Microsoft's big gamble won't have paid off.

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