Numerous outlets are reporting about Windows 8.1 usage figures online, generally based on NetMarketShare numbers (see “Windows 8.1 Market Share on Desktop” for an illustration). Baldly stated, Windows 8.1 “market share” (which really reflects its percentage of the overall clients that bang the Web on servers to which NetMarketShare.com pays attention) has jumped from 0.87 percent in September to 1.72 percent in October. This 0.85 percent jump represents a near-doubling of the number of 8.1 clients in active use (98%, actually) on the Internet. In the grand scheme of things these percentages are small potatoes indeed, but they also present a steeper growth curve than that for Windows 8, which didn’t hit the same level until two months after its GA (general availability) release.
The graph from NetMarketShare shows a nicely steep growth curve for Windows 8.1 out of the gate.
Does this mean that Windows 8.1 is bound for success and other forms of glory? It’s still too early to tell. But what with Windows XP nearing it’s “drop dead date” in April, 2014, and a huge mass of PCs in need of some kind of upgrade, it looks like perhaps more of those machines may wind up running Windows 8.1 rather than Windows 7 SP1 as conventional wisdom might otherwise dictate.
An interesting analysis from Alex Wilhelm at TechCrunch entitled “Windows 8.1 Doubles Its Market Share in October to 1.72%, Handily Beating Winodws 8′s Initial Rollout,” also provides further analysis of the distribution of Windows 8.1 licenses. Through means not disclosed in the story, Mr. Wilhelm attributes half of that market gain to sales of Windows 8.1 OSes (mostly OEM licenses on new computers, I would presume) and the other half to upgrades from machines with Windows 8 already installed. He also observes that Windows 8′s market share hit its high of 8.02 percent for September 2013 and says “it won’t ever reach a higher level than that,” though that number does exceed the 7.73 percent of all PCs that run one kind of Apple OS X version or another.