Windows 8 slower out of gate than Windows 7, says report

Web traffic for Windows 8 so far hasn't matched that of its predecessor three years ago, says StatCounter. But the data also serves up hopeful news for Microsoft's new OS.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows 8 is playing second fiddle to Windows 7, at least in Internet traffic, according to data out today from StatCounter.

Over the four-week period ending November 26, Windows 8 had grabbed a worldwide Internet usage share of just 1.31 percent, the Web traffic firm said.

In comparison, Windows 7 had achieved a global Internet usage share of 4.93 percent during the one month after its debut in October 2009.

Both operating systems officially launched in October during their respective years. However, both were also available as freely downloadable release candidates prior to their official debuts.

StatCounter's Global Stats data is based on more than 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the U.S. alone) on its network of more than 3 million Web sites. The information doesn't provide a picture of Windows 8 sales but simply a take on how many devices powered by the new OS have been recorded by StatCounter.

The data also doesn't include the critical holiday season, which should give Windows 8 a shot in the arm.

"Microsoft has reported license sales of 40 million for Windows 8, however this has not yet translated into significant usage figures." StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a statement. "This may be due to sales to manufacturers rather than to end users, so Windows 8 may well get a boost over the December holiday buying season."

StatCounter also had further glad tidings for Windows 8.

"Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 underwent significant periods of beta testing before their official launch dates," the firm said. "In absolute terms, Windows 8 is behind Windows 7 one month post launch as outlined above. In relative terms, however, Windows 8 has more than tripled its usage share in the first month after launch, while Windows 7 only doubled its usage in the corresponding period."

Windows 8 also got off the ground just as Hurricane Sandy was unleashing its damage and devastation. The hurricane left many people without power or Internet access, so its aftermath may have affected typical Internet usage, StatCounter noted.

The tracking firm displays only the top five operating systems in its online charts. So Windows 8 does not yet appear as a separate item.

StatCounter has released a CSV file that shows Internet usage numbers for Windows 7 in 2009 and Windows 8 this year. Clicking on that link displays the unformatted data in your Web browser. From there, you can save the page offline and open it with Microsoft Excel or another CSV reader.

In the past, Microsoft has questioned the methodology used by such firms as StatCounter and Net Applications to measure Internet usage for its applications, such as Internet Explorer. But in June, StatCounter offered its own rebuttal to Microsoft's claims.

In response to StatCounter's new report, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET that "there's nothing more we can share beyond the data Tami gave earlier this week at Credit Suisse." That statement refers to the announcement from Tami Reller, chief marketing and financial officer for Windows, that more than 40 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold since October 26.

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