Windows 10 contributes to decline in PC sales

One month on, exactly how well is Windows 10 doing?

It’s hard to gauge exactly how well Windows 10 is doing.

On the one hand, the OS has managed to gain a 6.34% share of the market, according to StatCounter. Just over four weeks after launch, this is quite an achievement. It’s already closing the gap on OS X, the only legitimate rival to Windows in the consumer desktop space. Apple’s operating system currently has an 8.28% share of the market and it has been slogging it out for nearly 15 years.

In a series of tweets yesterday, Microsoft’s corporate VP of marketing for Windows, Yusuf Mehdi, told the world that Windows 10 was now installed on more than 75m devices. This makes it the fastest growing version of Windows in history.

On the other hand, the rate of downloads is stalling. In week three, Windows 10 had a 5.39% market share. The week before that was 3.78% and in it’s debuting week, it secured 1.36%.

Does this slowdown mean that the operating system is plateauing? Unlikely, as with anything new, the explosion came from early adopters, keen to tap into the hype, hook up their Xboxes and take Cortina for a spin.

Now it’s the turn of everyone else; the people that simply want a stable operating system that does what it says on the tin.

In a way, Microsoft has created the ideal upgrade path by producing Windows 8, generally regarded as one of the worst operating systems in history. With Windows 8.1 still retaining a 14% share of the market, one can safely assume that Windows 10 will easily consume that figure with time, leaving the Start-button-less Metro OS to rot with the likes of Windows Millennium Edition.

Then there are the enterprise users, the vast majority of whom are safely snuggled up in the Windows 7 camp. Windows 7 still enjoys a 52.96% share of the market and this will be a harder figure to chip away at. As refresh cycles come along, businesses will gauge the right time to move and slowly, but surely, Windows 10 will reach the promise land.

Ironically, Windows 10 seems to be having a negative impact on PC sales. The free upgrade is causing would-be-PC-buyers to reach for their legacy hardware and give it a Windows 10 makeover.

IDC’s latest forecast was a grim one. It predicted that worldwide PC shipments would fall by 8.7% this year and 1.1% in 2016, with a modest recovery in 2017.

“In addition to economic issues, free upgrades of Windows 10, a relative dearth of newer models in the short term, and channels that are reluctant to take stock also makes the prospect of growth unlikely through 2016,” IDC said in the report. “Perhaps as a further sign of a broader pullback, mobile devices can no longer be the sole culprit for PCs demise.”

“Although the shortcomings of the PC business are obvious, a silver lining is that the industry has continued to refine the more mobile aspects of personal computers – contributing to higher growth in convertible and ultraslim notebooks.”

With mobility now the name of the game, it will be interesting to see how the world reacts to Windows 10 mobile, due to launch later this year.

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