Windows 8 falls further behind Windows 7 in pre-launch stats

Users four times less likely to try Windows 8 than they did its predecessor in '09

Users remain significantly less enthused about Windows 8 than they were three years ago about the then-unfinished Windows 7, according to data from an analytics firm.

The new numbers from California-based Net Applications hint at a lukewarm reception for Windows 8.

Just 0.18% of all the computers that went online during June ran one of the previews of Windows 8, statistics Net Applications showed last week. Of those PCs running Windows, 0.2% -- or 20 out of 10,000 -- were powered by Windows 8.

As in April, when Computerworld last used Net Applications' data to analyze Windows 8 uptake, the new OS' June numbers were dramatically lower than Windows 7's at the same point in its development.

In June 2009, four months before its launch, Windows 7 accounted for 0.75% of all computers and 0.80% of all Windows machines. In other words, Windows 7's share was four times that of Windows 8.

Even when the different release dates of the previews for each operating system are taken into account, Windows 8 still comes up short, although the disparity is not as pronounced. In the first full month after each sneak peek's release, Windows 7's share of all Windows PCs was two to three times greater than Windows 8's.

(Windows 7's beta reached users seven weeks earlier in 2009 than Windows 8 Consumer Preview did this year, while Windows 7's release candidate preceded Windows 8's Release Preview on the calendar by nearly four weeks.)

Four months after its Consumer Preview's debut, Windows 8's share of all Windows machines was lower than Windows 7's just seven weeks after the launch of its beta.

Other comparison also put Windows 8 in a poor light.

Windows 8's June 2012 share of 0.18%, for example, represents about 2.9 million machines of last year's estimated global installed base of 1.6 billion PCs. Windows 7's 0.75% from June 2009, meanwhile, translates into about 9.4 million systems of that year's smaller installed base of approximately 1.25 billion.

The bottom line: More than three times the number of people ran Windows 7 at the T-minus-four-month mark than ran Windows 8 at the same point in its development.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 comparison
The gap between Windows 8's and Windows 7's pre-launch adoption has widened in the last four months. (Data: Net Applications.)

The operating systems have had an equal opportunity to win hearts and minds: Microsoft delivered two early versions of each to the public. They also appear to be on the same shipping schedule. Windows 7 went on sale in October 2009, and although Microsoft has not yet set a release date for Windows 8, most experts expect that it will also launch in October.

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