It might be only a matter of time before every version of Windows prior to Windows 10 barely registers a blip on the radar, but in the here and now, that is not the case. Windows 7 is still widely deployed. What's more interesting is that even though Windows 10 has been steadily growing its share of the OS market since it came out in July 2015, it has given up a bit of ground to Windows 7 over the past few months.
By way of Windows users who have opted to send Microsoft telemetry data, Microsoft's own audit of Windows installs shows that Windows 10 dropped from 48 percent in December of last year to 47 percent in January of this year. The needle did not move in February, with Windows 10 staying at 47 percent.
Meanwhile, Windows 7 installs grew at the same rate that Windows 10 declined, going from 38 percent in December 2016 to 39 percent in January and February 2017.
According to Microsoft's data, there has only been one other period of time since Windows 10 came out that Windows 7 showed a jump in share. There was a small spike in Windows 7 installs in September and October 2015—it grew to 64 percent and 65 percent, respectively, up from 63 percent in August 2015. It has been declining in share ever since, and at around the same pace that Windows 10 has been gaining share.
For whatever reason, Windows 7 is seeing another small surge. That does not mean Microsoft should go into panic mode—over time, the graph comparing Windows 10 to Windows 7 looks a lot better (for Microsoft) than it does if examining just the past few months. Unless the recent trend continues, then (and only then) will Microsoft have cause for concern.
There is plenty of other data out there that suggests Windows 10 is doing fine. This is especially true among gamers—just last month, Windows 10 penetration among Steam users hit an all-time high of 51.2 percent for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions combined. That represented a jump of nearly 2.5 percent from the prior month.
The breakdown by Net Applications also shows Windows 10 continuing to gain ground, going from 0.39 percent in July 2015 to 25.36 percent in March 2017, though the breakdown is decidedly different with Windows 7 being installed on twice as many PCs at 49.42 percent (down from 60.73 percent in July 2015).
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Marlon E)