OS Adoption

February 10th, 2010

A recent survey taken by a gaming site claims that Windows 7, after just three months in retail, has already been adopted by 29% of Windows users. That sounds impressive, except for a few small points: first, the survey was of gamers, and although the site tags gamers as “deeply suspicious,” they are nevertheless not a representative sample of the market as a whole and are more, not less, likely to adopt a new OS version than the general public. And second, the same report shows 43% of PC users still using XP, an OS nearly a decade old. Not an impressive statistic.

More objective numbers tell a worse story for Windows: according to Net Applications (which changed its Mac-to-PC methodology recently, but still is a good indicator of use within each OS sphere), a full 72% of all Windows users are still using XP, an OS that was released in 2001. And while gamers may have already voted for Windows 7 over Vista, most people haven’t; 19% still run Vista, as opposed to 8% running Windows 7.

What’s really odd is that Windows 7 has almost exclusively grown at the expense of XP–which means that while Vista isn’t growing (not surprisingly), neither are Vista users switching to 7. Virtually all of the people switching to Windows 7 are those updating from a 9-year-old OS–and much of that would be due to people just buying a new computer and getting Windows 7 installed by default. And while Windows 7 is seeing a growth rate double that of Vista, it’s still only 2% per month–meaning that at this rate (which seems to be holding steady so far), Windows 7 will see 50% adoption in 21 months. So, after Windows 7 will have been out for two years, only half of Windows users will likely have switched to the OS–even though it started with 70% of Windows users stuck with a decade-old OS.

On the Mac side, adoption of new OS versions is much stronger. Despite Snow Leopard offering very few visible new features, already 35% of Mac users have upgraded (an average of 6% per month). OS 10.5 users dominate with 46%, meaning that 81% of Mac users are running an OS released since 2007 (as opposed to 27% of Windows users doing the same), and adding in Tiger (10.4), 96% of Mac users have an OS released since 2005. Snow Leopard is currently growing at a steady 4% per month, meaning that it will have reached 50% adoption in just 9 months since release.

Just FYI.

Categories: Computers and the Internet Tags: by
  1. Troy
    February 10th, 2010 at 17:06 | #1

    It’s nice that Apple only charged $30 per copy for 10.6 and doesn’t have DRM BS about activation.

    Microsoft has $60B in assets but still sells Win7 in a dizzying number of variety of crippling.

    Kinda bizarre, actually.

  2. Luis
    February 10th, 2010 at 18:54 | #2

    It’s nice that Apple only charged $30 per copy for 10.6 and doesn’t have DRM BS about activation.

    Yeah, I was thinking about expressing the SL pricing as a contrarian point, but then checked myself: pricing is a legitimate element in OS sales, just as advertising is. One reason people adopt or not is how much it will cost them.

    I can understand MS using DRM and activation as the software is the whole of their business, where for Apple, OS sales are a relative side issue. But still, the serial number is bad enough, but Activation? That gets into “obnoxious” territory. Not to mention that the DRM is defeated in pirating circles almost immediately, meaning that only paying customers tend to get inconvenienced by it.

    Windows’ DRM can go over the top, too; I bought XP and installed it on my Mac using Parallels. I activated it like a good little boy, and used it for a while. Then I realized that the RAM I had allotted XP was too high, so I scaled it back–and immediately lost the ability to use XP. Their activation DRM actually zeroed out whenever the amount of RAM changed. WTF? I had to call up Microsoft and re-activate it.

    How stupid is that?

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