Windows 10 market share rises in May -- but Windows 7, XP remain strong

Usage numbers also showed Google Chrome was up 4 percent in one month, while IE/Edge's share declined

It's the first of the month, and everybody and his blogging bro will be dissecting the latest usage numbers from Net Applications and StatCounter. That much is sure. The rest is reading tea leaves.

The Net Applications numbers for desktop operating systems may lead you to conclude that something's screwy. The changes between April and May:

  • Windows 10 was up 2 percent to a 17.4 percent market share.
  • Windows 7 was up 0.7 percent to a 48.6 percent market share.
  • Windows XP was down 0.5 percent to a 10.1 percent market share.

The rise in Windows 10 usage was to be expected, given Microsoft's strong-arm Get Windows 10 campaign. But why is Windows 7 usage up? Are people flocking to stores to buy new Win7 computers? Not likely. I think the rise has a lot more to do with people who are blissfully unaware of the GWX campaign, plus those who refuse to be trampled by the forced march. In either case, I doubt a beefed-up GWX push will net much more Win10 usage, while it will certainly raise users' hackles.

Why is XP still clinging to a 10 percent market share? I used to blame WinXP's intransigence on pirates running amok, but I'm beginning to think that cash-strapped governments and archaic institutions may be the real problem. After all, most of the pirates I know are smart enough to avoid XP.

Looking at the desktop browser numbers for April and May:

  • Google Chrome was up 4 percent -- in one month -- to a 45.6 percent market share.
  • IE plus Edge was down 2.7 percent to a 38.7 percent share (Edge had 4.5 percent, IE had 34.2 percent).

An amazing feat of levitation by Chrome, yes?

As always, you need to take these numbers with a grain -- or a handful -- of salt. Net Applications measures the number of web hits on specific, monitored sites and tries to adjust for variations in its coverage of various markets. That may be a useful, gross proxy for what's happening, but it's hardly definitive.

I tremulously offer my takeaway from the numbers onslaught:

  • Windows 10 is moving along quickly and taking Edge with it, but it doesn't look like a landslide -- and Microsoft is running out of tricks.
  • Windows 7 remains amazingly strong in spite of (or perhaps because of) the much-maligned GWX campaign.
  • Everybody has finally figured out that IE needs to die quickly, and Chrome's the alternative of choice.
  • XP is going to be around for a long time.

Did I miss something?

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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