Windows 10 grows despite the end of free upgrades

The number of PCs and laptops using Windows 10 increased significantly during the normally slow month of August and despite the withdrawal of Microsoft’s free upgrade for PC users running Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.

The operating system enjoyed a big rise to 22.99 per cent of the market (+1.86 percentage points) after the arrival of the Anniversary Update.

This month’s figures will make happy reading in Redmond, as everything else went on a downward trajectory, save for the constant fly in the ointment, Windows 7, which went up to 47.25 per cent (+0.25).

Windows 8.1 rose marginally to 7.92 (+0.12), offset slightly by a larger drop for Windows 8 to 1.82 (-0.27), meaning that Windows 8.x is down to 9.74 (-0.15) overall.

The numbers do suggest, however, that Windows 8 holdouts have gone straight to Windows 10 rather than shifting to Windows 8.1.

The thoroughly obsolete Windows XP operating system took its biggest beating in a while, dropping almost a full percentage point to 9.36 (-0.98), meaning that it is now less popular than Windows 8.x for the first time. Windows Vista sits at 1.05 per cent (-0.17), its position as a footnote in history now seemingly assured.

Elsewhere, macOS Sierra is being beta tested by enough people to make it show on the Netmarketshare figures, debuting at 0.04 per cent.

The current version, 10.11, was down this month to 4.38 (-0.31) while its predecessor, 10.10, held more or less steady at 1.73 (-0.02). Other versions were down to 1.21 (-0.21).

Even Linux took a hit, this time dropping to 2.11 (-0.22).

So, things are finally looking up for Microsoft. Despite having to revise down a promise of one billion machines by mid-2017, Windows 10 is still proving a success, even with a price tag attached.

It may even make it to one-in-four PCs and laptops by the end of the year, although the meltdown of Windows Phone, where sales have dropped into BlackBerry territory, means that Windows is, effectively, less popular than Google’s Android operating system.