Windows 10 sees slight uptick in use, but IE and Edge continue to decline

November wasn’t kind to Microsoft’s browsers, but Win10 is showing some signs of life

Windows 10 sees slight uptick in use, but IE and Edge continue to decline

Windows usage reports for November are in, and the numbers are sobering. There's no call to start building a Windows 10-sized coffin, but it’s definitely time to stow the confetti and air horns. And if you're expecting to see a billion Win10 devices, you should be looking for an alternate universe.

netmarketshare os 2016 11

Windows 10 adoption continues to disappoint, with NetMarketshare saying that OS accounted for 23.72 percent of all desktop OS usage in November, compared to 22.59 percent in October (see screenshot). The slight uptick stands in marked contrast to the Win10 ratchet slope that ended in August—the month when free upgrades to Win10 and the “Get Windows 10” campaign ceased.

Since January, Win10 usage has increased by nearly 12 percent, according to NetMarketshare. Over that same period, Win7 share has decreased by 5.3 percent, Win 8.1 by 2.4 percent, and XP by 2.8 percent. Windows 7 continues to dominate the desktop, with more than 47 percent of measured November usage—higher than it was in July.

statcounter os 2016 11

The numbers according to StatCounter (see screenshot) show Win10 usage experiencing a respectable uptick, from 24.81 percent in October to 26.23 percent in November. Tellingly, though, StatCounter’s way of calculating also showed Win7 usage rising, from 38.97 percent in October to 40.01 percent in November. Month-to-month, Win10 is up 1.5 percent—but Win7 is up by 1 percent. The big loser is the category marked “Unknown,” so last month’s movements may just be a calibration problem.

The OS big picture: Win10 adoption hit the skids in August and, after two months of going nowhere fast, now seems to be inching up.

Browsers were another story, as Microsoft continues to drop precipitously.

netmarketshare browser 2016 11

According to NetMarketshare (screenshot), Chrome and Firefox use was up slightly in November, while the combination of IE and Edge share fell from 28.39 percent in October to 26.87 percent in November. Individually, both IE and Edge usage declined.

statcounter browser 2016 11

StatCounter’s sampling has placed IE below Firefox in usage share since the beginning of the year, so the fall of IE hasn’t appeared so dramatic. Nonetheless, StatCounter still shows small declines in IE usage, combined with a barely perceptible increase for Edge.

The browser big picture: Microsoft is losing share rapidly. Adoption of Edge is going nowhere.

All of these soggy tea leaves should be observed within a greater context. The Windows PC market peaked in 2011 and has been on a steady downhill course ever since. One of my favorite tech writers, Horace Dediu—the brains behind Asymco—provided a succinct overview of the declining Windows PC market in a tweet earlier this week.

asymco pc decline

That graph tells the story far better than yesterday's IDC projection that PC shipments will stabilize between 2016 and 2020, or Gartner's projections that “computing devices” shipments will increase from 2016 to 2018.

We’re on a downward trail, folks, and if there’s a saving grace looming in the distance for Windows, I certainly can’t see it.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon