Windows 7 Now Owns 4% of PC Market, Says Report

Microsoft's Windows 7 now occupies about 4 percent of the PC operating system market, according to statistics company Net Applications, outpacing Vista, which took nearly 6 months to claim a 4 percent market share in 2007. If Windows 7 can sustain its momentum, paired with strong sales of other Microsoft products, it could help ease Microsoft out of its declining revenue trend of the previous few quarters.

A report by statistics company Net Applications suggests that Windows 7's share of the overall PC market continues to rise at a steady clip, having passed 4 percent by Nov. 9. At this rate, Windows 7's rate of adoption is outpacing that of Windows Vista, Microsoft's much-maligned previous operating system, which took months to reach the same numbers.

Net Applications' data, displayed here, shows Windows 7 as breaking that 4 percent barrier between Nov. 6 and 7. This follows an earlier report showing that Windows 7 had passed 3 percent market share by Nov. 1, a gain of 84 percent since the operating system's Oct. 22 release.

Vista, by comparison, reached 4 percent in June 2007, six months after its general release to consumers in January 2007.

According to Net Applications, the various Windows operating systems currently hold about 92.52 percent of the operating system market, compared with 5.27 percent for Mac and 0.96 percent for Linux.

That 92.52 percent, however, represents a slight dip from thw 93.06 percent recorded by Net Applications in August 2009. Net Applications said its data comes from the "approximately 160 million visitors per month" to its clients' Websites.

Microsoft has been aggressively pushing the new operating system through a series of discounts and promotional offers tied to retailers such as Best Buy. It is also attempting to ease users' transition from legacy systems running Windows XP to Windows 7, for which there is no linear migration path, through a series of tools such as Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and step-by-step instructions on its main site.

Microsoft is no doubt hoping that widespread adoption of Windows 7 by both consumers and the enterprise will help reverse a declining revenue trend. As the economy has driven down sales of PCs and related IT infrastructure, Microsoft has found its own cash intake negatively affected; during an Oct. 23 earnings call, company executives indicated that sales of Windows 7 would largely be tied to any accompanying pickup in PC sales throughout 2010 and beyond.

Other recent analyst reports may give Microsoft reason to hope that it will succeed.

A Nov. 5 research report issued by the NPD Group suggested that U.S. sales of Windows 7 boxed software had exceeded Windows Vista sales by 234 percent during the operating systems' respective first days of release. Tempering that good news for Microsoft, however, was other data suggesting that Windows 7's low-cost presales had weighed down its gross revenue versus that of Vista.

In what could perhaps be taken as a sign that the economy is recovering slowly from its multiyear recession, PC sales rose 95 percent between the weeks before and after Windows 7's release, an impressive figure but one that pales in comparison to the 170-percent jump that occurred after the Vista launch.