Microsoft's wishes and happy thoughts just don’t seem to be enough to pry the Windows XP UI from the white-knuckled grip of the computing world.
The latest numbers for overall desktop operating system market share, courtesy of Netmarketshare.com, show exactly what the majority of us in the real world suspected. While Windows XP usage continues to melt (slowly), Windows 7 adoption is rising. And, it's primarily attributed to businesses.
I talked with a consumer-type yesterday who installed Windows 8 on his laptop because of the Windows XP expiration deadline. He told me he was surprised that it wasn't as bad as everyone told him it would be, but that he still missed Windows XP. He said he would go back if he could. And, truly it's not Windows XP that he missed, but instead the way Windows XP worked.
And, that's a consumer person who will still use Windows 8, but only because he bought it. Businesses on the other hand have the luxury of testing without jumping in with both feet. And, the most recent stats show how that testing panned out. Businesses are overwhelmingly opting to rollout Windows 7, while they wait to see what Windows 9 might bring. I love Windows 8. There, I've said it. But, I also didn't mind Windows Vista, which according to many, was the worst OS ever created. Unfortunately, it looks like Windows 8 might end up coming in a close second – at least in adoption and revenue.
Windows 7 is the newly crowned king with over 50% desktop share, and could replace Windows XP as one of the most popular OS's of all time, if Windows 9 also fails to pan out. Microsoft is steadily working on bringing back the Windows XP "feel" in Windows 9 with a new Start Menu and "windowed" (instead of snapped) applications. These were rumored to come in a coming update for Windows 8.1, but rumors suggest it's being shuttered until the new full OS version. To me, that sounds as if Microsoft has simply given up on Windows 8. And, if Microsoft is giving up, how can they expect the public to do any different.
The interesting thing is that we knew this all along. One of the largest costs associated with an OS migration, particularly one as life changing as Windows 8, is training and retraining. Moving to Windows 7 from a computing experience that has lasted for over a decade is easier, less costly, and much less burdensome for both IT and business workers. We knew this, why didn't Microsoft?
Long live Windows XP (the interface).