Microsoft has just crossed a major milestone with its 6-month-old operating system, Windows 10.
Having officially launched last summer on July 29, Windows 10 has already surpassed its predecessor, according to Web analytics firm StatCounter. As of January 2016, Windows 10 has claimed a 13.7 percent share of the worldwide desktop OS market versus 11.7 percent for Windows 8.1.
Adopting an Apple-like strategy of providing free OS upgrades is paying off, according to Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter. "Microsoft's determined promotion of Windows 10 seems to be having an impact," said Cullen in a statement.
In the United States, the OS overtook Windows 8.1 in December and currently accounts for 15.7 percent of the market. Across the pond, demand is even higher.
"In the UK, Windows 10 is powering ahead with 22.4 percent in January compared to 12.5 percent for 8.1. Win 10 overtook 8.1 in October. Windows 7 represents 36.8 percent of internet usage in the UK," said StatCounter.
Windows 10 adoption rates are outpacing that of its predecessors as well. "Worldwide usage of Windows 10 after six calendar months (since August) was 13.7 percent compared to 5.0 percent for Windows 8 and 13.5 percent for Windows 7 at their initial half-year stage," stated the firm.
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the new system software, it may take time for it catch up to the current OS champ.
Cullen observed that "there remains a lot of loyalty to Windows 7 and it will be interesting to see if it becomes the equivalent of XP, which, 14 years after launch, refuses to lie down and still has an 8 percent global share in terms of desktop Internet use." In total, Windows 7 commands 46.7 percent of the global desktop OS market.
Net Applications, another Web analytics specialist, tells a similar story.
Windows 10 grabbed 11.85 percent of the worldwide desktop OS market, beating Windows 8.1 (10.4 percent) and the long-in-the-tooth Windows XP OS (11.42 percent). Windows 7, a favorite among enterprise IT departments, dominates the scene with 52.5 percent of market, according to Net Applications' latest data.
Naturally, Microsoft's leadership is pleased with Windows 10's reception in the marketplace.
"We crossed the 200 million milestone, and Windows 10 is outpacing adoption of any of our previous operating systems," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in opening remarks during a recent conference call discussing the company's FY16 Q2 earnings. "In fact, adoption is nearly 140 percent faster than Windows 7."
Businesses are also getting on board, claimed Nadella. "More than 76 percent of our enterprise customers are in active pilots, including organizations like Kimberly-Clark and Alaska Airlines, and 22 million enterprise and education devices are already running Windows 10."
Early indications are that Windows 10, and its built-in virtual assistant Cortana, is also helping to lift the fortunes of other divisions within Microsoft.
"With search, the clearest indicator of our progress is US search share, where Bing now exceeds 21 percent. Nearly 30 percent of our search revenue in December came from Windows 10 devices, partly as a result of user engagement with Cortana," Nadella claimed.