Talking tech since 2003

It’s no secret that Microsoft is having a hell of a time getting users to make the switch to Windows 8. And numbers from a recent report from Net Applications—parsed by a post on TechCrunch—reveal that the company’s struggle wasn’t made much easier this past September.

The good news, according to the post, is that Windows 8 has finally managed to exceed an 8 percent adoption rate among desktop computer users, an increase of .61 percent of the market. Hooray for Windows 8! The bad news, of course, is that Windows 7 actually grew more that month, increasing in user base by .8 percent for over 46 percent of market share. Boo Windows 8!

Of course, it’s important to note that Windows as a whole—which includes Windows 8, 7, XP, and probably even Vista—dominates over 90 percent of the market as a whole, so Microsoft doesn’t need to worry too much about users abandoning Windows as a whole. If anything, Windows 7’s enduring growth points to how well the company managed to make the operating system. If you had an OS that worked well, did everything you asked of it, and that you were pretty accustomed to, would you make the switch?

But Windows 7’s overall solidity is only part of the story. It’s simple, really: Windows 8 is made for touch-interfaces. Everyone knows it. Using Windows 8 on my Dell Latitude 10 tablet is often a great experience, and I can’t wait to give Windows 8.1 a whirl, what with its improved interface and the long-heralded return of my lost, lamented Start button. But the fact that most already-owned computers are still not touch-enabled means that until more folks make a switch in hardware, they’re not going to bother switching software. And until the price of touch-enabled computers drops (or non-touch capacitive computers and monitors become standard), Microsoft can bet that Windows 8 will continue to go unloved by the majority of its customers.

A part of me does wish that I had Windows 8 installed on my Acer laptop. But then the rest of me remembers that the only thing that happens when I touch its screen is the appearance of greasy fingerprints. That’s when I snap back to reality.

Will Windows 8.1 change the OS’s fortunes for the better? Our own Shawn Farner doesn’t think so, and he may very well be right. September’s numbers would seem to reveal that Windows 8 may be a dud with customers overall. But you never know…

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