As Microsoft prepares to launch its Windows 7 operating system around the globe, technology firm NetApplications found the software is finding a receptive audience in Eastern Europe. The leading adopter of Windows 7, Slovenia, shows a 6.9 percent adoption rate, compared with that of Germany, Europe's largest economy, with just 2.4 percent. The second fastest adoption rate was in Lithuania, at 6.3 percent, with Estonia, Belarus, Romania and Latvia all reporting adoption rates of 5.6 percent or above. "Upon analysis of global Windows 7 usage share, we noticed a distinct pattern," NetApplications said. "Russia and many Eastern European countries already have significant share of Windows 7 usage. We are sure these are all properly licensed users."
Denmark, Sweden and Finland represented the three first Western European countries on the list, according to NetApplications. The runup to Windows 7's launch in Europe was a wobbly event: In order to comply with European antitrust regulations, Microsoft decided to ship Windows 7 without its Web browsing application, Internet Explorer (IE), in European Union member states. Windows eventually scrapped plans for a "Windows 7 E" edition, but not before proposing to the European Commission allowing users to download a competing browser from a "ballot" screen instead of providing a version of Windows completely without IE.
"One reason we decided not to ship Windows 7 E is concerns raised by computer manufacturers and partners," Dave Heiner, Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel of Microsoft, explained on the company's "Microsoft on the Issues" blog in late July. "Several worried about the complexity of changing the version of Windows that we ship in Europe if our ballot screen proposal is ultimately accepted by the Commission and we stop selling Windows 7 E."
All the seasawing isn't having much effect on pre-orders, however; NetApplications reports Windows 7 broke the 2 percent worldwide market share earlier this week, and British newspaper The Guardian reported pre-sales of Windows 7 on Amazon.co.uk to be the highest-grossing pre-order in Amazon's history. "The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone's expectations," the managing director of Amazon.co.uk, Brian McBride, told the paper. "Demand is still going strong."
According to a recent report by Forrester Research, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of the 655 surveyed IT decision-makers for North American and European enterprises and small to midsizee businesses (SMBs) said they plan to upgrade to Windows 7 at some point. Fifty-one percent said they would choose Windows 7 to be the primary OS on their PCs within 12 months, though many did not have firm plans. Analysts at research firm IDC predicted nearly 177 million copies of the operating system would be in place by the end of 2010, of which 50 million would be in Europe. IDC also predicted that products and services surrounding Windows 7 would generate ?Ã¶?Â®??215 billion.