Pingdom Home

US + international: +1-212-796-6890

SE + international: +46-21-480-0920

Business hours 3 am-11:30 am EST (Mon-Fri).

Do you know if your website is up right now? We do! LEARN MORE

Windows 7 just became the most widely used desktop OS in the world

WindowsIn October, Windows 7 usage has for the first time surpassed Windows XP usage globally according to statistics from StatCounter. In other words, Windows 7 just became the most widely used desktop OS in the world.

This has been a long time coming. Windows XP has been at the top for eons (it launched 10 years ago, and once established, didn’t let go). Windows Vista never managed to threaten XP, so it wasn’t until Windows 7 came around that a shift really started to happen.

And that shift has happened fast. Windows 7 launched in October of 2009, then…

  • Within three months, it overtook Mac OS X.
  • Within 10 months, it overtook Windows Vista.
  • Now, two years after its launch, it’s finally overtaken Windows XP.

This is probably some kind of record.

Desktop OS market share over time

The chart above covers the entire life span of Windows 7 so far, counted from its official release date. According to Microsoft, they have already sold over 450 million Windows 7 licenses.

Windows XP is still a strong presence, but at least things are very much pointing in the right direction for Microsoft. They must be relieved. Microsoft surely didn’t expect XP to remain so dominant for so long. As for Windows Vista, it looks like it will die out before XP does in spite of being the newer OS.

You’ll see a close correlation between the combined decline of Vista and XP and the rise of Windows 7, which is to be expected. We’ve shown before that Windows 7 users upgrade from Windows XP and Vista, not from other operating systems. Windows eats Windows, OS cannibalism, so to speak. It’s mostly a natural consequence of Windows having such a dominant market presence.

Since the trend chart above isn’t ideal for showing the current situation in detail, here is a snapshot of the desktop operating system market share division as of October 2011, based on the first 10 days of the month:

Desktop OS market share, October 2011

It should be noted that these numbers are based on web usage (visitor stats to 3+ million sites), so it they won’t map exactly to the physical installed base. But these days, how common is it for PCs not to use the Web and the Internet? It’s also worth pointing out that it’s really the only “in use” metric to be had.

A funny little side note to end with: Over a year ago, we actually predicted that Windows 7 would overtake XP in November 2011. Ok, we were off by a month. So sue us… ;)



6 Comments

Unlike Windows Vista, Windows 7 actually doesn’t suck, so it makes sense.

Surprised to see so many people hanging on to Windows XP.

presenting desktop OS mix stats like this is less meaningful than it was 5 yrs ago. You have to take into consideration of how people are accessing the internet and today, far more people are accessing the net, email, FB etc via tablet devices and phones which are running iOS and Android operating systems which are not shown here.

Your title is misleading. Windows 7 just became the most widely used desktop OS among internet users. Not in the world. That’s a big difference.

“It should be noted that these numbers are based on web usage (visitor stats to 3+ million sites), so it they won’t map exactly to the physical installed base. But these days, how common is it for PCs not to use the Web and the Internet?”

There’s something very wrong with those charts: They say that Linux has only 0.82% with no variation in the shown period (what is extremely suspect), MacOSX arose from 5% to 8%, Windows 7 arose 42%, the same added loss that XP and Vista has had. My blog, a Linux oriented website, arose from 300 page views/month to 28,000 page views/month in the same period, most of them from rookie users. Two specific posts about how to install Ubuntu, are in the top 4, with more than 500 page views/day. Also, any statistics has an uncertainty associated (+/- n%, for example). That’s very important to give credibility to the data. They have not shown the uncertanty associated to your data, and I guess it’s extremely high. So sorry, I just can’t believe in the statistics shown above, based on my own experience as blogger and professionally working on statiscs.