Windows 10 usage plateaus while Windows 7 holds its own

Depending on whose numbers you believe, the Windows 10 adoption rate is either horrible or disastrous

Windows 10 usage plateaus while Windows 7 holds its own

Numbers based on website hits from both StatCounter and NetMarketshare, the two biggest market tracking organizations, say that Windows 10 usage share flatlined from August to September. NetMarketshare says Windows 10's slice of desktop operating system use decreased by 0.5 percent. StatCounter says it stayed the same from August to September.

For Windows 7 usage, StatCounter says the reigning champion went down 0.5 percent, but NetMarketshare says it increased by 1 percent from August to September.

I don’t trust the numbers from NetMarketshare and StatCounter, but I trust the numbers from Microsoft even less. You should, too. Microsoft reports a steady sizable increase in “monthly active devices” (is a refrigerator an active device?). Independent sources that track website tea leaves would beg to differ.

The browser wars continue with Chrome still, by far, the dominant force. StatCounter says September desktop browser share for IE was down to 11 percent, with Windows 10-only Edge at 5 percent. NetMarketshare pegs IE at 25 percent, Edge at 5. Yes, the numbers are that wildly divergent -- but the trend is clear. Microsoft browsers won't pull Windows 10 out of the fire.

Like you, I’ve seen the predictions about when Microsoft will hit its stated goal of 1 billion Windows 10 devices. The original projection from Microsoft called to hit the goal in 2017, but that mark was ditched a couple of months ago. I’ve seen projections from analysts that say the 1 billion Windows 10 mark will be reached by 2018. I say hogwash, unless Microsoft starts counting thermometers, windshield washers, vacuum cleaners, and potato peelers as “monthly active devices.” I don’t know if Win10 on PCs will ever hit 1 billion devices, and wouldn’t be too surprised if it played second fiddle to 7 and the other Wins for many more years -- conceivably the rest of this decade.

Microsoft tossed Win10 under the bus when it unleashed the Get Windows 10 infection. Microsoft lost much of its credibility with consumers and put a severe dent in corporate loyalty. As soon as the coerced upgrades stopped, Win10 market share drifted.

Microsoft’s main hope right now lies in convincing enterprises to move to Win10, spurred by demonstrated advances in security. The consumer market may be nudged forward with new machines replacing old ones: All new machines from the major WinPC manufacturers will ship with Win10 pre-installed, starting next month.

But there’s another force at work. Starting this month, Windows 7 and 8.1 will get the same kind of forced updating -- and, presumably, snooping -- that have become hallmarks of Windows 10. The patchopalypse may drive some to move to Windows 10, to cave in to the indominatable force. My guess is that the patchopalypse will lead most Windows 8.1 and 7 users to simply stop applying updates, or to drop Windows entirely.

I recall a saying about geese and golden eggs.

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