Windows 7 has broken the 4% market share barrier in less than three weeks, a mark that took Windows Vista five months to reach, a Web metrics company said today.
According to Net Applications, Windows 7 has crossed the 4% line in the California company's daily tracking of operating system usage. By comparison, Vista was under 1% a month after its late-January 2007 release to retail, and didn't exceed 4% until June of that year.
"Windows 7's rate of adoption is really impressive," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of Net Applications.
With two-thirds of November to go, Windows 7 has already posted a daily market share average of 3.6%, close to the 3.8% that Vista reached at the end of May 2007. Since its Oct. 22 release, Windows 7's daily average has been approximately 3.2%.
Windows 7's share has been steadily increasing since its debut. The first week after its launch, the new operating system accounted for 2.7% of all operating systems used worldwide; the second week it climbed to 3.3%.
If Net Applications' data is accurate, Microsoft has the hit it wanted, but never got, from Vista, the much-maligned and little-loved operating system that preceded Windows 7.
Vizzaccaro said that Windows 7's gain had primarily come at the expense of Windows XP, a hint that Microsoft might have found an operating system enticing enough to get the bulk of PC users to upgrade from that eight-year-old OS. "Last week, Windows XP had a share of 69.5%," said Vizzaccaro, "while Vista had 18.5%."
The numbers for XP and Vista were down 1 percentage point and 0.3 of a percentage point, respectively, since the end of October.
Even more interesting, added Vizzaccaro, was the drop in market share of Apple's Mac OS X. "That's very intriguing," he said, noting that overall, Apple's share slipped last week to 5.19%, down 0.08 percentage point from October's 5.27%.
Windows 7 has already passed Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, in the market share race, according to Net Applications. Leopard had a 2.7% share last week, while Windows 7 accounted for 3.5% of all operating systems.
Overall, however, Windows lost ground last week, even with the surge in Windows 7. "Windows had 92.4% last week," Vizzaccaro said, "and Mac was also down. But Linux was up slightly to 1.1%." At the end of October, Linux accounted for just under 1% of the OS market.
Net Applications measures operating system usage by tracking the machines that visit the 40,000 sites it monitors for clients, which results in a pool of about 160 million unique visitors per month.