The latest analytics data confirms that Windows 10 has moved into a strong second place in terms of usage. Meanwhile, new data suggests that Windows 7 is going to be the enterprise standard for a long time.
In Presidential politics and modern computing, everything's a horse race. For political junkies, it's "Who's ahead in New Hampshire?" For anyone trying to make business decisions based on the future of the PC, it's "How many people are using my favorite system software?"
The answer to either question, of course, is always, "It depends." It depends on the sample population, the sample size, and how the question is being asked. And ultimately, the only answer that matters comes from those who vote and those who buy.
I've been looking at multiple data sets lately, all of them interesting, all of them offering an imperfect glimpse of one part of a very large installed base. But in total, they tell a fascinating story about the trajectory of traditional (desktop and laptop) computing.
Actually, make that three stories, because with an installed base of 1.5 billion PCs, the picture is far too complicated to be reduced to a single bar chart (although that's what seems to happen to the tech media on the first day of each month, when analytics companies do their data dumps for the previous month).
For this story, I've gathered the latest data, covering the entire month of January 2016, from Net Market Share, StatCounter Global Stats, and the United States Government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP). For the first two, I removed non-Windows operating systems from the data set and then normalized the results so that all the comparisons show the share for each version of Windows based on a population of all Windows PCs...