Microsoft's new OS is one-fifth as popular as its predecessor was at the same point in the launch cycle.
Early indications are that the market is just not all that interested in moving to Windows 8. PC World reports on the numbers from California-based analytics firm Net Applications: With less than a month to go before its October 26 launch, Windows 8 is installed on 0.33 percent of Windows computers (33 in 10,000). At a similar point before its launch in 2009, Windows 7 had five times the market share at 1.64 percent (or 164 in 10,000).
Since mid-August, Windows 8 has been available in "release to manufacturing" (final) form to developers, IT professionals, and enterprises covered under a Software Assurance plan. It had been available in beta for months before that, but unlike Windows 7, experienced no big uptick in market share when the RTM version was released.
Neither PC World nor Net Applications says so, but the lackluster reception Windows 8 is experiencing relative to that of Windows 7 may have a lot to do with Windows Vista. That earlier version of Microsoft's OS was widely scorned, and could account for much of the early popularity of Windows 7 -- whose share of the overall PC market just last month overtook that of Windows XP.
In the enterprise, PC World reports that Gartner is estimating that Windows 8 will achieve only 20 to 25 percent penetration; the analyst firm is advising its clients to stick with Windows 7 and essentially to ignore Windows 8.
What kind of bets are developers placing on Windows 8? It's hard to get authoritative numbers, but one Web-based poll (with self-selected respondents and no guarantee against multiple voting) indicates that Windows 8 is off to a slow start in our community as well. The Website ForumsWindows8.com, which calls itself the largest Windows 8 help and support forum on the Internet, ran a survey that garnered over 50,000 responses. These were presumably people familiar with Windows 8 -- those who had downloaded and installed the betas, and thus probably developers and IT people and corporate users.
In that community, only 25 percent rate Windows 8 as their favorite version of the OS. Windows 7 gets a 53 percent vote of confidence, and Windows XP is favored by 20 percent.
Microsoft is doing all it can to foster the appearance of enthusiasm in the developer community. The company recently put on an 18-hour Windows 8 hackathon in Bangalore, India that attracted 3,500 developers -- apparently enough that Microsoft is applying for a Guinness world record.
But how about actual Windows 8 apps available from the Windows Store? The blog WinAppUpdate.com tracks over 2,000 of them available now, up from 1,000 a month ago. The slope on that curve "certainly isn't the 'hockey stick' shape that would indicate the much-needed enthusiasm from the developer community," according to i-Programmer.info.
What is your experience with Windows 8? Have you downloaded and run the betas and the release candidate? Will you be devoting development resources to this platform?