Going into Windows 8, Windows is Still the Top Operating SystemWindows 8 is around the corner and I’m constantly seeing folks on social networks and in personal blogs declaring that Windows is dead and Microsoft won’t survive past Windows 8. We’ve written in the past about how important Windows 8’s success is to Microsoft — though with a significantly less doomsaying as to the potential of a mass exodus.

While I agree with the impact that this update will have on the PC world as a whole, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft’s dominating market share will somehow fall away overnight.

Microsoft gets a bad rap. It’s very easy for folks to take their frustrations out on the company that they deem most responsible for their technology ills. It’s also reasonable to assume that many of the pundits out there who use OS X as their primary operating systems are prone to talk about whatever it is they use more than anything else. It happens, and I even struggle to make sure that my own coverage is as fair and balanced as possible.

Apple is Big, but Let’s Get Real About the Usage Numbers

Apple has a huge market share in the world of mobile phones, portable media players, and handheld gaming devices. It’s currently dominating the technology industry in terms of revenue, but this doesn’t translate directly into desktop computer market share.

I need but to look at our own reader statistics here at LockerGnome to see that Microsoft still holds a dominating position in technology. Here’s a look at some of the statistics we’ve seen over the past three months. Keep in mind that we, like many members of the technology community, cover Apple quite extensively.

  • 65.55% Windows
  • 11.94% Macintosh
  • 11.91% iOS
  • 5.70% Android
  • 2.80% Linux
  • 0.31% BlackBerry

Just taking a look at these numbers, it’s obvious that Microsoft’s Windows operating system is still the most popular operating system among readers. Only about 1/10 of our visitors are browsing from a Mac and 1/5 of our visitors are using any type of Apple-branded product.

W3Schools.com regularly releases usage statistics for its users and the spread is actually tipped a little harder in Microsoft’s favor. Over 54% of its total users are running Windows 7 and 24.8% are still operating Windows XP.

  • 83.8% Windows
  • 8.7% Macintosh
  • 5.0% Linux
  • 1.8% Mobile

Why I Believe Windows 8 Won’t Sink Microsoft

Now that we know where users presently sit, we can concentrate on exactly why rumors of Microsoft’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

First, let’s assume that Windows 8 is a massive flop. Windows Vista was a massive flop, and Microsoft has managed to come back with a vengeance. 3.2% of WPSchool’s visitors were running Windows Vista. Since Windows XP and Windows 7 have such a larger share, it’s reasonable to assume that the market is adaptable enough to skip a release if it doesn’t like what Microsoft has to offer. Folks are still using Windows XP because it works for them. Many people saw Windows 7 as the release of Windows that Vista should have been, and the statistics certainly support that point.

Windows 8 could be a catastrophe, but I doubt it’ll be the catalyst for Microsoft to lose its dominance over the market. If anything, OEMs and users will stick with Windows 7 (or even Windows XP) until Windows 9 comes out. A few might fall off the Microsoft bandwagon and head over to the Linux or Apple camps, but not all.

Windows 8 introduces a number of new features that are sure to bring a pain point to some users, but more important, it optimizes the experience for a growing market of tablet users. I still stand by my original theory that Microsoft is making a smart bet on what will be the future of hardware design by taking a leap into the touchscreen market today.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below!