Microsoft has finally released sales figures for the 15-month on-sale period of Windows 8, revealing the operating system sold 200 million licences – 40 million fewer than Windows 7 sold in its first year.
Statistics from NetMarketShare state that only 11 per cent of PC users use Windows 8 or its updated build, Windows 8.1. Meanwhile, 48 per cent of PC users use Windows 7, and 29 per cent still run Windows XP – security support for which is due to end in April.
Windows 7 has sold over 450 million licences over its almost five-year lifespan. Windows 8 was launched in an attempt to capitalise on a growing demand for mobile devices. By combining a traditional desktop interface with its modern tile and icon-driven UI, the OS was designed to be all things to all people.
However, Microsoft's attempts to kick off the mobile Windows movement with its own hardware hit some stumbling blocks. Its Surface hybrid tablet hardware proved unpopular with buyers, and there was confusion over the use case for the Windows RT platform, which shipped with the ARM-based Surface RT product.
Effectively a third operating system in addition to Win32 legacy-compatible Windows 8 and the mobile phone-based Windows Phone platform, Windows RT muddied customer's ideas of what Windows 8 actually was.
Computing has yet to find a large IT department that is carrying out a mass-migration to the Windows 8 platform, with many IT directors choosing to stick with Windows 7 for the time being.
Yesterday, Microsoft's GM of platform strategy, Tim O'Brien, told Computing that ARM devices are still on the Windows platform roadmap, but did not say Windows RT was part of the plan.