Windows usage is dropping at a very fast rate.


Had a few minutes to kill so decided to have a browse of netmarketshare , I knew Windows usage would be declining due to mobile and the fact so many do not sit at a computer anymore to use banking, facebook, or amazon for example, but just since May 2016 usage of Windows visiting web sites has dropped by a 1/3 , going from 61% of devices to 39% in 18 months whilst iOS and Android usage has doubled. I did not think it was at such a fast rate ! Just how low will Windows usage drop? Will Microsoft ever reach a billion devices running Windows 10 without anything serious in mobile?

Comments (34)

34 responses to “Windows usage is dropping at a very fast rate.”

  1. skane2600

    Even if the numbers turn out to be an accurate measure of web site visits, they are still not direct evidence of a drop in Windows use overall. Browsing on a desktop (any OS) is still superior to browsing on a smartphone, but portable use is convenient so it's not surprising that it has increased.

    The smartphone form-factor will always be poorly suited to productivity use and that's the sweet spot for any desktop OS.

    • Dan

      In reply to skane2600:

      Browsing on a desktop is superior when you are sitting at a desk. That's about it.

      On a car, in a plane, on a train, at the park, walking down the street, at a restaurant, in the bathroom, waiting in line, an on a couch are all better experiences with mobile devices - phones and tablets, not just because the devices are convenient.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Dan:

        In a car?

        If I want/need to do work, I'm not going to be doing it on a phone or non-desktop tablet. As for the bathroom, awkward to bring one's laptop to the stalls at work, but no problem at home.

        For me the big determiner is sitting or on my feet. When sitting, I usually prefer laptops.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Dan:

        The scenarios you mentioned - that's what I was referring to as "convenient". I thought that was obvious, but perhaps not. Screens that are larger than the average smartphone give a better web experience but naturally in scenarios where portability has a higher priority and productivity activities aren't involved, the smartphone is better.

  2. wright_is

    Not for everyone. I still can't really read a site on my phone. It is much more comfortable on a proper sized screen.

    I also find smartphones are a pain in the neck, literally. After reading a site or checking an email on my phone, my neck is stiff and it hurts to straighten up again. I still use the smartphone just for emergencies.

  3. giskemo


    I would like to say that looking at how you interact with technology and how technology is helping you going forward should be more important as to what platform and what operating system you use.

    Let me show you an example! 10 years ago you would have to log onto your computer to check in on a flight! This is now way easier to do through your cellphone. I just had that experience today when I had to check in on a cross Atlantic flight. I sat in front of the computer and a notification came on my phone to check in. The same one came on my computer and interestingly enough I chose to check in through my cell phone. Why would I do that? I actually think that part if it is that the apps I am using allows for a very efficient experience for these style tasks.

    Interestingly enough I am a power user at work and I cannot get rid of the computer just yet however, and I don't want to get rid if it since I need big screens and and efficient input system through the normal keyboard. Now I do foresee a future where even my job can rely on a terminal with all the heavy duty work done on servers or the cloud and the terminal could be your phone with keyboard and screen, problem is for travelling that doesn't make a lot of sense cause you need to bring a laptop device still so time will tell what type of category of computing device we get in the future.

    All I am saying is that we should embrace the computing model or systems that allows us to be the most efficient. If for you that is the desktop or a laptop then you have your answer in my opinion. If it is a combination of phone and the above mentik dd then that's your answer. Just remember to not focus too much in the company, in this I fully agree with Paul we need to use what is best for us as consumers.

    Sorry about the long rant but the topic of windows as a falling interesting and needs to get some input in relation to why it is potentially falling.

  4. John Scott

    Market share is more about what OS is accessing the internet. Certainly more frequently people access it by way of mobile these days. Not sure people are dumping PC's they just use them less then before when they now use a mobile device vs carrying around a PC. I myself don't find mobile devices a big plus other then they are more mobile. I still prefer a bigger screen and ability to multi task easier on a PC. Besides a mobile device is more apt to access the internet while people work on PC's without always accessing the internet.

  5. jimchamplin

    Re: the argument of sitting, standing, whatever? To me it’s less of what shape I’m in vs where I am.

    At home, I want a PC experience. I want to sit and enjoy my computing. Away from home, I want the quick convenience.

    It’s why the iPad is so unsatisfying! It’s neither. It’s too complicated now to feel quick and mobile, but too simplistic and limited to feel PC-like.

    Its why I’d be okay with a 10S mini tablet. It runs “mobile” software, but with an experience that’s more PC-like.

    • macguy59

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      You found using an iPad complicated ? Ok . .

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to macguy59:

        Read the entire sentence.

        It’s too complicated now to feel quick and mobile, but too simplistic and limited to feel PC-like.”

        Good reading comprehension skills will let you understand context as well. I was directly referring to the enjoyment, the satisfaction of the experience. It’s important to make sure you read and understand.

  6. wunderbar

    You didn't at all take into account that sales of mobile devices have exploded while sales of PC's are flat to declining.

    Make an assumption that the number of PC's on the internet is about the same from May 2016 to now. Then look at the number of mobile device sales. If the number of PC's didn't change a single unit, the sheer volume of mobile device sales would send the statistics for PC's through the floor.

    Usage rates going down doesn't mean that people are actually using PC's less (they are, but that's another point). Mobile devices are just selling that fast.

    • longhorn

      In reply to wunderbar:

      Good comment. Let's also remind ourselves how mobile is pushed everywhere. Apple wants to sell iDevices, not Macs. It wasn't long ago Microsoft was shouting "Mobile first, Cloud first". Banks encourages clients to use mobile devices. The Transportation sector does the same. If you are forced to use a mobile device then the laptop will be pushed into the productivity corner. Remember those days when every smartphone had a physical keyboard? The iPhone changed that and now you are supposed to type on glass. Blackberry was my last hope. GONE. I think mobile is uninteresting these days. It's just more of the same. Android or iOS; You have no other choice. The pocket-PC died when iPhone became popular. It's sad.

  7. hrlngrv

    Netmarketshare doesn't seem to include game consoles (Xbox) or IoT, so only desktops, phones and non-desktop tablets. I'll use all devices to mean desktops including tablets which run desktop Windows, phones and non-desktop tablets.

    Since macOS is only on desktops, its stats can be used to estimate the ratio of desktops to all devices. For Dec 2017, 4.02% (macOS all devices) / 9.02% (macOS desktops) = 0.446, so roughly 4 desktops to 5 phones and tablets. The Windows overall usage figure is 39.49%, and its desktop usage figure is 88.51%. 88.51% * 0.446 = 39.46%, which implies Netmarketshare puts Windows phones and non-desktop tablet usage at 1 - 39.46% / 39.49% = 0.076% of overall Windows usage (excluding Xbox and IoT), so fewer than 1 Windows phone per thousand included Windows devices.

    In May 2016, 6.74% (macOS all devices) / 9.60% (macOS desktops) = 0.702, so roughly 7 desktops to 3 phones and tablets. That looks highly suspicious to me. Let's say PCs in use in May 2016 were the proverbial 1.5 billion, then there would have been roughly 447 million smartphones and tablets. If there are 2 billion smartphones in Dec 2017, there are 891 million desktops, and if MSFT is correct that there are over 600 million Windows 10 devices in use, and damn near all were PCs, then Netmarketshare should be showing Windows 10 desktop usage more than double Windows 7 desktop usage for Dec 2017. It doesn't.

    Netmarketshare has been changing its definitions over the past few years, so I'm strongly inclined to believe its stats before April 2017 are crap. There's not a chance in Hell smartphones numbered less than a half billion for May 2016. If there had been a billion smartphones back then, the macOS usage ratio would imply there were 3.38 billion PCs in use back then.

    Netmarketshare stats seem to need to be taken with a supertanker-size grain of salt.

  8. Simard57

    percentages do not tell the story without showing the population size. what you could be seeing is the number of mobile devices that have been placed in the market. it doesn't necessarily mean that there are fewer Windows machines out there.

  9. rameshthanikodi

    and every single one of those webpages browsed on mobile was created on a windows desktop. So....

    • pecosbob04

      "and every single one of those webpages browsed on mobile was created on a windows desktop. So...."

      So no webpages are created by MacOs, or Linux, or other Unix systems, or Maybe even Chrome?

      • rameshthanikodi

        In reply to pecosbob04:

        Well yes. Some are definitely created on MacOS. But I wouldn't go as far as to say Linux or Chrome because usually webpage creation involves using other tools - photoshop and stuff. Unless the webpage's CMS is powerful enough to do everything, I doubt you can do it on Chrome/Linux.

        • pecosbob04

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          I suspect you are right about Chrome but Linux has GIMP and other tools that may suffice for at least simple web page creation.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          . . . usually webpage creation involves using other tools . . .

          Gosh, it's not possible to use images produced by PhotoShop in webpage layout tools under Linux or BSD? It's not possible anyone would ever try to use the Gimp or any FOSS tools as alternatives to PhotoShop or Creative cloud?

          • rameshthanikodi

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            if you're flying solo, no problem, go ahead and use Linux and GIMP all you want. But let's not kid around: when you're working with others or in an organization or any kind of collaboration, I can almost guarantee you that they're passing around .psd files around and to you, and good luck opening that on Linux.

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to FalseAgent:

              Okular and ImageMagick have no trouble opening .PSD files, and ImageMagick has no trouble converting .PSD files into other image formats.

              Apparently, luck is all taken care of.

              ADDED: how many .PSD files does, say, reddit commonly display?

              • rameshthanikodi

                In reply to hrlngrv:

                Quit being dense. When I say "open .psd files" I mean actually working with them and doing what photoshop does. The rudimentary ability to open .psd files is not going to earn you any promotions at work.

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to FalseAgent:

                  I don't play with image files at work. The only Adobe software I've ever used has been Acrobat. I have no idea whether it's essential or just useful to have other Adobe software available for web site creation. OTOH, I haven't seen any compelling reasons to use .PSD files rather than .JPEG files.

                  I don't have the Gimp (because I don't play with image files), but I suspect it also opens and manipulates .PSD files.

                  Finally, it was you not me who wrote good luck opening that [.PSD files] on Linux, Regretting asking that in ignorance and overstatement, are you?

                • rameshthanikodi

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  The only ignorance is coming from the person with the audacity to even suggest doing photoshop work using obscure software with rudimentary .psd support. Yes, I am regretting. Regretting that Linux fans always find a way to put their irrelevance into every single conversation, wasting everyone's time and energy, proving that they live in some kind of alternate reality, and somehow still be smug about it.

                  No one wants to mess up other people's work. No one is using Linux to open and edit .psd's. Not until Photoshop comes to linux. End of story.

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to FalseAgent:

                  Obviously those working with others are likely to use the same tools. No one is going to use the Gimp when their coworkers would be using PhotoShop or Creative Cloud.

                  OTOH, it's foolish to say it's not possible to use Linux to do the same types of things. Would it be as easy or efficient? Maybe not, but it may be easier to automate some tasks.

                  Finally, I'm only wasting your time, and you keep cooperating, so it seems you also want to waste time. You're just not honest enough to admit it.

              • skane2600

                In reply to hrlngrv:

                I don't know, reddit's website is the only one I can think of that would actually be improved by a flashing, scrolling banner. Not exactly the poster boy for a professional website.

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  . . . Not exactly the poster boy for a professional website.

                  Yet shows it as the most visited website not owned by Google, Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps your preferences aren't representative of a majority of reddit users.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  Survey results vary with the company doing the survey and rankings vary over time, but as the popularity of the Kardashians indicates, popularity doesn't always equate with quality.

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  Just how much fluff do discussion sites need? From my perspective, reddit should be little different in user experience for sighted and blind users. You may view that as a fail, I view it as a success.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  I'm not sure how blind people figure in to this discussion. Should extra static be added to screen reader content on reddit so that blind users can experience the ugliness that sighted users get?

                  I'm definitely a function over form guy, but reddit's appearance could be improved without adding any "fluff".

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  Sorry. Too obscure. My point is that some sites deal with information not necessarily in visual form. Reddit comes close to that. In such cases, adding visual embellishments would be a distraction if not an affront to the purpose of the site. Suppose this depends on whether or not one favors minimalism.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to hrlngrv:

                  When I look at, I see little pictures next to the submissions and visual indicators of the gamification stats. That looks like a visual embellishment to me.

  10. Patrick3D

    How many PC's are running Android/iOS? Exactly.