Microsoft may have sold 350 million Windows 7 licenses, but the operating system still lags behind Windows XP in worldwide adoption.
Microsoft is claiming that more than 350 million Windows 7
licenses have sold in the 18 months since the operating system's release.
Despite its push into newer areas such as smartphones and
cloud computing, Microsoft still relies on legacy platforms like Windows for
much of its bottom-line revenue. In an April 22 posting on The
, a company spokesperson claimed that, based on analyst
information, "more than 90 percent" of businesses are undergoing some sort of
Windows 7 migration.
To further spread Windows
7, though, Microsoft needs to persuade businesses and consumers to give up
Windows XP, the decade-old operating system that's become something of a
to analytics firm Net Applications
, Windows XP holds 54.39 percent of the
worldwide operating-system market, followed by Windows 7 with 24.7 percent, the
much-maligned Windows Vista-whose tech-graveyard tombstone might as well read,
"Let's Try to Forget"-with 10.56 percent, and then Mac OS X 10.6 with 3.50
Those numbers are
roughly mirrored by StatCounter
, which places Windows XP at 47.32 percent
of the worldwide market, followed by Windows 7 with 20.6 percent, Windows Vista
with 13.66 percent, and Mac OS X with 6.53 percent. In the United States,
Windows 7 at 30.84 percent seems on the verge of overcoming Windows XP at 32.17
But make no mistake about it: Despite
the large numbers of people still relying on Windows XP for their daily
computing, Microsoft wants people transitioned to the new operating system.
Microsoft Download Center now offers a Windows
XP End Of Support Countdown Gadget
, which counts down the days until the
operating system's official support ends in 2014. Meanwhile, Microsoft's latest
browser, Internet Explorer 9, won't run on XP.
As some poet once said, "The only person who likes change is
a wet baby." After a decade as the operating system of choice, Windows XP is
stable and patched, with an interface and applications familiar to virtually
anyone who works with computers on a daily basis. More to the point, a
relatively anemic economy means less cash for larger businesses (and at least
some consumers) to upgrade their hardware and software, meaning more aging
desktops and laptops in circulation running XP.
In the year or so after Windows 7's initial release,
Microsoft pushed a series of promotions and discounts designed to increase its
new baby's adoption rate. Manufacturers jumped onboard immediately, seeing a
broad array of new machines loaded with some version of Windows 7. But
consumers and businesses have remained somewhat wary, forcing analyst firms
like Gartner to periodically lower their forecasts for PC sales.
However, other analysts expect Windows 7 adoption to pick up
in coming years, as more and more businesses engage in a tech refresh. "IT
managers worldwide are preparing for a significant desktop transformation over
the next three years," Benjamin Gray and Christian Kane, analysts with
Forrester Research, wrote in a November 2010 report. "This desk transformation
... also involves empowering their workforce with more modern browsers, office
suite and productivity applications, connectivity options and security
Within three years, Windows 7 could very well overtake
XP-given it maintains its robust adoption rate.