Windows 10 is now the third most-frequently-used personal computer operating system, behind Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. More people now use Windows 10 than Windows XP, as well as every version of Mac OS X combined.
That’s according to NetMarketShare, the most reliable source for this kind of information. The firm says that Windows 10 is now used on 11.85 percent of all PCs worldwide. If you accept that there are 1.5 billion PCs in the world, as Microsoft has said repeatedly, then that amounts to about 178 million active Windows 10 users.
You may recall that Microsoft recently announced that there were over 200 million “active Windows 10 devices” worldwide. That figure includes Windows 10 on PCs, phones, and Xbox One consoles. Since there are about 18 million Xbox Ones in the world, and about 0 Windows phones running Windows 10, both figures mesh nicely.
More to the point, that puts Windows 10 behind only Windows 7 in OS usage share. Well, far behind, as it turns out, since Windows 7 accounts for fully 52.47 percent of all PCs in use.
But Windows 10 is used by more people (and PCs) than Windows XP, which at 11.42 percent of usage is of course on the decline, and Windows 8.1, which sits at 10.4 percent. But when you combine Windows 8.0 and 8.1 usage, as I believe you should, you have the real number two: Windows 8.x, with 13 percent usage.
Windows 10 does, however, nicely destroy Mac OS X, despite being in the market for just six months. All versions of Mac OS X combined equate to just 7.68 percent of PC usage. (And the most recent OS X version, 10.11, is used on just 3.44 percent of all PCs. That usage is less than one-third that of Windows 10.)
And Windows 10 usage is actually accelerating, according to Gregg Keizer over at Computerworld: He notes that Windows 10 usage share jumped by the second-highest-ever amount this past month. I suspect the bump was driven by new PC sales in the holiday quarter, and not upgraders.