Microsoft’s Windows 10 has finally surpassed Windows 7, according to an analyst firm that tracks real-world usage.
In December, Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 for the first time, according to NetAnalytics. Windows 10’s market share for desktop and notebook PCs combined hit 39.22 percent, versus 36.90 percent for Windows 7. That’s a shift from November, when Windows 7 held a 38.89 percent market share, and Windows 10’s share was 38.14 percent. For all of 2018, Windows 10’s market share rose by about 7 percentage points, while Windows 7’s share fell by about the same amount.
NetAnalytics didn’t explain the sudden growth in market share, though that’s possibly attributable to the traditional spurt in PC sales over the holidays. Historically, Windows 10’s market share has trended upwards, though it’s dipped month-on-month once or twice—meaning that Windows 7 could top it once again—though Windows 10’s 2.3 percentage-point advantage looks pretty solid at this point.
NetAnalytics collects data from the browsers of approximately 100 million web sessions per month, widely distributed across thousands of websites, according to the company. Those browsers self-report the operating system they used.
Microsoft has said that 700 million devices are now powered by Windows 10, which is still shy of the company’s lofty goal of serving a billion devices with its operating system. Microsoft now must somehow pry users of Windows XP (4.54 percent share, according to NetAnalytics) and Windows 8.1 (4.45 percent) off those legacy operating systems and onto Windows 10. To do so, though, those users must pay at least $139 for Windows 10 Home, which we didn’t think was such a good idea.
Windows 10 launched on July 29, 2015.
Why this matters: Whatever your feelings about Windows 10—which reader feedback shows to range from positive to profoundly negative—any new PC purchased is going to have Microsoft’s latest operating system installed. That of course means that time favors Windows 10.