Why Microsoft Windows 7 Still Reigns Supreme

Almost 10 months after its launch, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Windows 8 still lags way behind its predecessor Windows 7. While any new OS takes a while to get off the ground, there are two major reasons why Windows 8 is struggling.

People don't need a new OS
Right now, Windows 8 takes just 5.4% of the entire Windows OS market share pie, and last month, it moved up just 0.3%. June saw the biggest uptick in percentage, likely because of the release of Windows 8.1 Preview, but even with that the gain, it was still less than 1%.

Windows 8.1 Preview. Source: Microsoft.

In recent interview with IDC, CNET found that companies are taking their time upgrading to new operating systems, and many of them are making the switch to Windows 7 – not 8. IDC said that Dell and HP have reported that most of their clients are choosing to move to Windows 7.

Companies are hesitating to upgrade, at least in part because of the drastic user interface changes from 7 to 8. A new focus on apps, touch screen capability, and the former start button fiasco has given IT departments too many reasons to hold off. Training users to adapt to a new OS can cost a lot of time and consequently hurt productivity.

Tablets are king
On the consumer side, things are a bit less strategic. Consumers are shifting their attention away from PCs in favor of tablets -- which brings down Windows 8 adoption rates. Yes, Microsoft sells the Surface Pro running the new OS, but if you haven't heard yet, those devices aren't selling so well. And let's not even get started on Surface RT tablets.

Microsoft Surface RT. Source: Microsoft.

Consumers are simply choosing tablets over PCs, which has caused global PC unit shipments to drop five consecutive quarters in a row -- and a 10.9% drop in the second quarter of this year alone. Ironically, IDC said back in April that Windows 8 not only hasn't helped the PC market, but has actually slowed it. According to IDC and Gartner, hybrid laptops -- a cross between a tablet and PC -- aren't fairing much better. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it's not Surface tablets that consumers want. Android tablets took off in the second quarter of this year, while Microsoft took just 4.5% of global tablet shipments over the same period.

Microsoft's future is tied up with both its enterprise solutions, and its consumer products, and investors should really keep an eye on both sides of the company's business to see how Microsoft is performing. Unfortunately for the company -- and its shareholders -- Microsoft is struggling to get Windows 8 off the ground, and sell tablets. The recent release of Windows 8.1 Preview may help calm some fears about the Redmond company's software, but it's not enough to turn the tide just yet. Microsoft needs to continue listening to its customers so it can make adjustments to its software and devices. Without those changes, things may keep moving in the wrong direction for the company. 

I don't see Microsoft turning a corner on tablets or Windows 8 anytime soon -- but that doesn't mean they're out of the tech game. The company still has significant influence over the PC industry and -- if it listens to consumers -- could become a major player in the tablet market. But four other tech companies are on the heels of Microsoft. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.

Read/Post Comments (14) | Recommend This Article (6)

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  • Report this Comment On August 02, 2013, at 10:00 PM, summerwhistler wrote:

    I bought a new laptop with Windows 8 and would give almost anything to go back to 7. Heck, even Vista was better than this failed hybrid. You get half a desktop and half a tablet environment. It's awful. Microsoft should offer downgrades to 7 for everyone who wants it and be done with this failed experiment. Everyone I've told about this experience has paid extra to get the Win7 OS. It shouldn't cost more to get a workable OS. That's where Microsoft has truly failed.

  • Report this Comment On August 02, 2013, at 11:40 PM, laurawalker707 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On August 02, 2013, at 11:45 PM, postacomment wrote:

    In my experience, Windows 8 is nearly unusable. It's good to see that a poor product is rewarded with poor product sales. Did Microsoft write Windows 8 so we would all have to purchase a Surface to run it??? Maybe they should get out of the hardware business and write software that we can use.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 1:25 AM, sypoth wrote:

    Windows 7 still reigns supreme because it doesn't have an ugly touch friendly only interface that bogs down the user when they are trying to do multiple things at once or force them to go on the hunt for a program every time they want to use it. It also doesn't force users to relearn everything they know about the user interface for no good reason or refuse the use of older programs. Windows 8 is garbage and a universal failure with sales behind Vista and more problems than Millennium.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 3:48 AM, btc909 wrote:

    The two reasons for the PC Slump is Windows 8 and the price of memory. You have to laugh at WIndows 8 once you mickey mouse it to where you want to go you get the familiar Windows 7 menus buried underneath.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 5:07 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    Cause Windows 7 is the Windows 95 of today?

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 5:11 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    The reason no one likes windows 8 is because you have to buy the software that sold PCs outside of the price of the hardware.

    Content control is going a little bit nuts, and the fact is that PCs are really no higher tech than the beta max.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 5:18 AM, JeffPrime wrote:

    I have a Windows Hybrid tablet. The Lenovo Yoga. I love it. I was actually just telling my wife that it is the best tablet that I ever bought. (yes I know its a netbook too) I like the touch screen on it. I actually use it more as a laptop than I do as a tablet.

    However I also have a desktop also running Windows 8 and that does not have a touch screen. I can see users frustrations with the new Windows startup screen. I don't know why there isn't a setting that if you don't have a touch screen that you turn off those features in Windows. That would probably be my only real problem with the desktop software. I don't find the software buggy at all and actually feel it runs very smooth. It seems to me that most people complaining about Windows 8 are against the changes it made, IE: no start button and the opening tiles, but they are correcting that "problem" with updates later this year.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 6:43 AM, flybywire54 wrote:

    I bought a touch screen laptop 3 weeks ago to replace my old win XP laptop and really like windows 8 after I installed classic shell . The convenience of being able to scroll and zoom using touch in desktop mode while using the keyboard to type has greatly enhanced my productivity . Just using Metro occasionally for games , videos , and light browsing . A great OS but only with classic shell , until they release the 8.1 update at least .

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 7:17 AM, midarkmind wrote:

    Well look at the bright side. I did a check disk in 5 minutes in windows 8. Still takes hours in any other previous version. Not to say that will make people switch. Plus windows 8 booted really fast...

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 9:25 AM, Desktopguy wrote:

    Windows 7&XP is the best operating systems 8 should have been a upgrade for windows 7 not an operating system that is worthless.Oh and the desktop is not dead it is just fine tablets are Toys with a whole lot of nothing.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 5:08 PM, Asmodeus1971 wrote:

    Windows XP for me was OK, but it seemed to lock up more than any version of Windows I ever used on a normal basis. That would be 3.11/95/98/XP/Vista/7/ 8 and 8.1. It would just seem to need to be rebooted often on any long term use, anything 8 hours or longer.

    I can understand a little some of the reaction to 8, it does take a little getting used to but honestly the modern/metro screen really isn't that hard to use and once you learn the new shortcuts Windows 8 is as productive if not more so than any other version of Windows.

    I run Windows 8.1 on a 5 year old Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5900. Windows 8 made such an improvement, I'm actually just thinking about doing upgrades in memory and to an SSD instead of replacing this laptop in the next year. Only thing that is holding me back is the old graphic card ATI Radeon X1250 which is not supported by AMD and every once in a while runs me into some problems with some graphic programs.

    I do like 8.1 with leaps and bounds over 8. I actually love the Modern screen now under 8.1 if you take the time to set it up it can work so much better than the old start menu and the other changes truly can make doing things faster. Over the next year I will be integrating my whole system so I can use tablets to interact with my desktops, laptops and even Xbox 360 (maybe Xbox One next year) Using a tablet as an input device with remote desktop access on my desktop in combination with a high DPI mouse and keyboard makes for the most powerful, user friendly system I have ever seen.

    The possibilities of this interaction between mobile, office and home systems hopefully will find appeal with both consumers and enterprise, this is the strength of Windows 8/8.1 and the fact that Windows 7 machines can also interact well in this environment is another reason the lag in people switching to 8 is irrelevant. 7 was a major improvement over XP, the only downside was its footprint, 8 fixed that to a point being much more compact and added more flexibility you just need to learn how to use it.

    I can build a system for $1400 with a desktop with a SSD 4-8 core processor, wireless AC WiFi and tablet using Windows 8.1 in both that can outperform 3 $2000 PCs or MACs from 6 or 7 years ago. Or even 2 from as little as 3 years ago. The hybrid bios, less driver conflicts, quicker startup, less lag, more capability to use higher powered hardware and cloud based functionality with three input devices and one finger print free screen is more functional than anything you could do with XP, smaller footprint than Windows 7 so less waste of system resources and way cheaper than a similar Apple system so less wallet waste. Windows 8.1 combined with cloud storage if you think outside the box can be the best improvement in computers in the last decade but the media bashed it so much and people feared the change and no one or very few have truly looked at the possibilities.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 5:30 PM, 110254545yy wrote:


    It is faster than Windows 7, if you can actually survive the stress and nuisance it takes to use Windows 8 EVEN IN A LIMITED FORM.

    Microsoft just HUMILIATED itself with Windows 8

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2013, at 8:45 PM, Latch32 wrote:

    I don't understand the hate for windows 8. It is exactly the same as windows 8 but runs smoother, less time to boot, and has better utilities. If you don't like the start page, install start8 or another application and it is back. Personally after a bit of getting used to it I prefer it to the old start button. If you don't like the metro apps then don't use them. I don't use them in desktop mode but like them if I am holding my surface pro as a tablet for entertainment once in a while. The reason. Windows is failing is not because windows 8 is bad but most people don't need to run real applications they just want to watch youtube. And for that you don't need windows. But for those of us who actually need a real computer windows 8 is amazing. And the surface pro is unbelievable.

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