Why Windows 9 Is Likely to Be More Successful Than Windows 8

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) intends to release Windows 9 in April 2015, about one year from now, perhaps to appease the masses that have revolted against Windows 8. For all its failings, Windows 8 is perhaps the most maligned Windows OS in recent history. It has been labeled an unmitigated disaster both from an end-user viewpoint and from Microsoft's perspective in terms of adoption rates.

But according to a recent NetMarketShare study, Windows 8 has a 6.38% market share, almost double the market share for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) Mac OSX 10.9 with 3.48%, although the latter has only been around for just six months. Windows 7 has the lion's share of the market with 47.31%.

Windows 8 adoption rate not as bad as feared
There is no denying that Microsoft bet the farm by developing an OS targeted at both touchscreen devices and the traditional desktop. The result? Windows 8 is not perfectly suited for either platform, and desktop users in particular find it needlessly difficult to use.

Microsoft recently released data that showed that it had sold over 200 million Windows 8 licenses. Windows 8 is now about 19 months old since its release in August 2012. By the time Windows 7 had been in the market that long, Microsoft had managed to sell 240 million licenses for the OS. But let's not forget that PC sales have been steadily declining, with shipments falling a jaw-dropping 10.3% last year. Most Windows OS purchases are tied to new PC purchases.

During the period that Microsoft sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses, 350 million PCs were shipped worldwide. That works out to about 68 licenses for every 100 PCs sold. In comparison, 314 million PCs were sold during the period that Microsoft sold 200 million Windows 8 licenses. That works out to 63 licenses for every 100 PCs sold. While that might not be on an equal footing with Windows 7, it's much better than the 55 licenses per 100 PCs for Windows XP, or 37 PCs for every 100 PCs sold that Windows Vista recorded, in a similar time span.

Exit of Windows XP creates room for Windows 9
Microsoft plans to withdraw support for Windows XP in April this year. A study done by TechProearly this year showed that 37% of Windows XP users plan to continue using the OS even after Microsoft withdraws its support.

Source: TechProearly

As we have seen, the adoption rate of Windows 8 has not been as dismal as many have been led to believe. Windows 8.1, an improvement on Windows 8, is already being touted as being significantly better than the highly popular Windows 7. It's said to be faster, more stable, and sports some useful extra features such as the improved Task Manager, Storage Spaces and Windows Explorer. Additionally, users can choose to use it like Windows 7, or use it as a touchscreen OS.

Just five months after its release, Windows 8.1 has garnered quite a following, and now commands a 4.3% share of the market. But the snowball effect that made Windows 8 so unpopular, and its association with it, has probably discouraged many potential users from trying it out.

Microsoft is likely to pick some useful lessons from both Windows 8 and 8.1, and use them to offer a better product when it finally releases Windows 9. For the 38% Windows XP users who plan to upgrade to Windows 7, the availability of a newer version of Windows in the form of Windows 9, without the complexities of Windows 8, will quite likely lure them to give it a try.

Microsoft unlikely to give Windows for free
Unlike Microsoft which has been having a slog trying to get its Windows users to upgrade to newer Windows versions, Apple has no such difficulty. As of January this year, 80% of eligible Apple devices had upgraded to iOS 7, just four months after its release. Cost is probably a major limiting factor since Apple charges just $30 for users to move a tier higher, compared to Microsoft's $100 or more. Apple even offers Mac OS, Mac OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks, free.

Despite the difficulty Microsoft has been experiencing migrating its users from older Windows platforms, it's highly unlikely that it will go the Apple route and offer free Windows upgrades in the future. The Windows XP study revealed 37% of Windows XP users do not intend to upgrade. For this group, only 21% cited cost as the reason they intend to stay put. For the other 79%, lowering the cost of newer Windows OSs, or even giving them away for free might not be enough reason for them to move.

Source: TechProearly

Windows 8.1 is already being hailed as significantly better than its immediate predecessors, which proves that Microsoft has integrated the lessons it has learnt from the Windows 8 failure when building the product. It's only logical to expect Windows 9 to be even better than that.

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Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 8:25 PM, pmvflyer wrote:

    Windows 9 is likely to be successful because expectations are continually set so low by Microsoft. After enduring Windows 8 any incremental improvement will look like a relief to users.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 12:19 AM, smauney wrote:

    How MS will eventually get there in 2015: 8 - 1 = 7 (acknowledging millions of satisfied users) + 2 = 9

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 5:53 AM, jasongw wrote:

    Umm, Windows 8 wasn't released in August of 2012, it was released October 26th, 2012.

    Also, Windows 8 is a superb OS, made better by 8.1 and now the spring update.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 7:24 AM, EvilTwin2014 wrote:

    I has taken me almost 12 years to get Windows XP to run right. Sure it is a stable platform, and I can't tell you how much cash I have thrown away buying software and hardware to get my Windows XP machine to do what I want it too!! I am so sick and tired of buying operating systems and software that I have to re-learn how to use them and fed up with constantly having to throw money away for stuff that doesn't work with whatever the current Microsoft OS is! Windows 8 is a joke and while I just upgraded to Windows 7 I find that none of my old stuff works with it! Now I have to buy a decent photo shop program all over again, and a bunch of multimedia software use to run, I need all new again! Frankly I am tired of how little Windows whatever (XP, 7, 8, 9) supports anything! Top that off with how poorly Windows 8 is and now you have to have a touch screen, I am sorry but I like my keyboard and mouse just the way they are!

    And while they may claim Windows 7 is better then Windows XP and that Windows 7 is "more secure" I at least knew how to fix a virus on my windows XP machine!! I have had Windows 7 install for just three weeks now and I got a virus a week ago that wiped out Microsoft Security Essentials and I still have yet to figure out how to fix the stupid thing!! So how is that more secure?? In fact the virus claimed to be MSE and asked if I wanted to "Clean My PC" which I did, then it uninstalled MSE completely!! Thank god my free copy of AVG caught the thing before anything else was deleted! But now I keep getting a weird error message from MSE with a error code that keeps popping up! I am not a huge fan of Windows 7, but given the alternative, and from everything I have heard and seen, I would rather have 7 then 8 or 8.1 or perhaps 9!!! For me I want a toaster that makes toast....I don't need a toaster that stores data, takes photos, sends texts, or plays music....I am the same way about my computers or any other gadget!!! I use my phone to make phone calls...isn't that strange???

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 7:53 AM, binary512 wrote:

    Re: "During the period that Microsoft sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses, 350 PCs were shipped worldwide."

    I think more than 350 PCs were shipped during this time....maybe even a thousand PCs were shipped!

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 9:19 AM, SkipPlummer947 wrote:

    I haven't seen the advertised update for Windows 8.1 yet but I'm pretty sure that, even with that, we're not going to see it getting any better. The best course of action that I've found is to go with Windows 7 Ultimate and then stay right there until silly season is over with.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 9:23 AM, SkipPlummer947 wrote:

    I'm not sure how they are counting licenses but when my latest desktop arrived with Windows 8 pre-installed I did the logical thing; after messing around with it for a week or so. I wiped Windows 8 and did a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate. Everything has been fine since then.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 10:58 AM, DolceTran wrote:

    binary512: sorry that should read 350 million PCs, and not 350PCs.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 12:55 PM, TMFJCar wrote:


    We fixed the error, thanks for bringing it to our attention!



  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 8:46 PM, smilingdon wrote:

    A roll of slightly used toilet paper would be better than Windows 8. All the creators are fired or on their way out. Seems like a fitting in to idiots who pump out operating systems without any input from the people that are supposed to buy them.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 1:58 AM, deecee10000 wrote:

    I use both Windows 7 and 8.1 and I'm expecting I will love 8.1 even more after this upcoming April update for 8.1. From what I've read, most if not all of the complaints have been addressed.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 2:14 AM, madmax2708 wrote:

    this on the April Fools day is great....fooling the user has been the business strategy of MS / Gates...and keep his cash cow churning...i have been using OS since 80s....the 1st machine i saw/used was a Mac in early 80s.....then came this load of "dirt" from MS....churning out OS after OS every 2nd yr......the best OS from MS was Win98 ...and the XP.....just to keep the cash register running MS has been throwing stuff on to users to adopt new threatening them that support from MS will stop for old OSs....i ask 1 may of us actually needed any support from MS for any OSs in the past.....i never needed any support nor made any upgrades to my OS once installed.....i have a Desktop still running Win98....basically for my kids to play old games and a 12 yr old Dell notebook running WinXP, my new Dell notebook has Win8 and all of them work perfect.....except that my HP printer cant be connected to my new Dell using Win8 as the driver is NOT upgraded and cant be used. Upgrade all HW for the new OS is a pain in the the alternative is to keep using old OSs in some old PC.....

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 3:51 AM, squirl033 wrote:

    Windows touts "market share", but how good a gauge is that of the product's value, when most of that market share is gained by forcing users to buy it pre-loaded in a new computer? it'd be much a more worthwhile statistic if users had a choice, and Windows still maintained that market share.

    Microsoft has had a history of alternating between producing good OS's and crap in recent years. XP was popular, stable, and worked very well. Vista sucked. 7 is excellent - like XP only better - and 8 sucks. if they stay true to form, 9 should be the next decent OS.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 10:02 AM, thims wrote:

    There is a fairly gross error in the story. Analyzing the "the adoption rate of Windows 8" based on windows 8 license sales from MS is inaccurate. MS does not currently sell Windows 7 licenses. What you get when you buy a PC that has Win7 installed is a Win8 license with the right to run an older version of window (i.e. Win7). So the numbers quoted in the story show a rosier picture for the adoption rate than is probably accurate. A more accurate analysis might be obtained by doing a survey of PC retailers on the relative rates of Win7 vs. Win8 sales. The final story on Win8 will probably be known in a couple of years when Win9 hits the market, we'll then get to see if it's overall market share is more like Win7 or more like Vista.

    My personal opinion is that the interface of Win8 is an interesting and potentially excellent idea that was poorly executed. I'm hoping that Win9 will be a better execution of that idea. Otherwise, it's off to the Apple world for me.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 10:33 AM, JohnWarner wrote:

    This is the entire reason they are discontinuing their BEST OS yet WINDOWS XP!!!!! To force us into buying these POS Operating Systems that are by far INFERIOR to XP!!!! Just so they can keep us buying their crap!!!! Windows 8 is the WORST OS I HAVE EVER USED and I WILL NEVER BUY A PC WITH IT OR INSTALL IT ON MY PC!!!! I am ready to DROP WINDOWS ALTOGETHER AND GO WITH APPLE!!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 3:32 PM, bigalnc wrote:

    So let me get this straight?

    XP expires 4/8. Vista and W7 have expiration dates.

    It quite likely appears many of us will be forced to upgrade to W8/W8.1 to avoid the wrath of MS and the hackers they enable. It's an astonishing marketing plan.

    But then, relief is offered with W9 - and you can bet we'll pay dearly for that.

    MS's behavior is undeniably monopolistic, and without real competition, able to defraud billions of us with sub par products we would not tolerate in other industries. In comparison, GM's behavior is mild.

    For many Motley readers, MS's practices are reason to cheer. You can hardly go wrong investing in MS - because they face virtually NO market risks, can churn profits by compelling buyers to buy their products at competition-less prices. and continuously engage in non-competitive practices such as denying their liability for profoundly insecure products. Imagine if the law and market practice for Ford abandon their vehicles after 10 years, and even encourage mechanics to actively sabotage older vehicles.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 4:44 PM, pazria wrote:

    Microsoft is a such a disappointing company! I used to enjoy discovering their new products and being happy to upgrade (in the 90's). Today, they must have a loser strategy such as changing file extension (e.g. xls not accepted anymore) to force you to buy their newer stuff because they have nothing else to offer to make you buy their new stuff. Same thing with WIndows, as a basic user, what difference between XP, vista, 7? Not much. Actually they were able to make 8 worse than 7 and Vista worse than XP. Actually, just take 7, rename it 8 and it will be better than the current 8!

    So, really, definitely not impressed by Microsoft. There is actually so much that can be improved. Anyway, just sharing my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On April 03, 2014, at 5:36 PM, dlherring1964 wrote:

    I was a die-hard Microsoft supporter from the very inception of the "Basic" language through DOS, Win3.x, Win95, Win98, and WinXP. During the Vista fiasco I switched permanently over to Linux. Linux Mint is definitely ready for "prime-time" for the basic home user. Any XP user could sit down at a machine with Linux Mint and immediately know how to use it. And, the included "Software Center" has thousands of free application to do anything the home user needs to do. For example LibreOffice is fully compatible with Microsoft Office, and GIMP for photo editing will produce professional results!

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