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Windows 7 Use Surpasses 10 Percent

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For a new version of Microsoft’s operating system that just began shipping to consumers just a few months ago, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows 7 is doing quite well, according to new figures release by Web analytics firm Net Applications.

Simply on day-to-day usage, Windows 7 passed the 10 percent mark on Jan. 31, while on a monthly average basis, it captured 7.51 percent, Net Applications said.

Still, Windows XP continues to lead the pack with a 66.31 percent market share in January, followed by Windows Vista (17.39 percent). Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 came in at No. 4 for January, at 2.36 percent, followed by Mac OS X 10.6 (1.79 percent) and Linux at 1.02 percent.

Now in third place in Net Applications’ rankings, it’s a promising start for the new Microsoft OS, though the industry had some early hints. When the consumer editions of Windows 7 launched on Oct. 22, the operating system already had achieved some measurable market share due to its release in August to subscribers of two Microsoft technical services — MSDN and TechNet — as well as to corporate customers.

The company also offered free Windows 7 trials that helped to boost early adoption.

At the time of the October launch, use of Windows 7 on average had already reached 2.15 percent use for all PC operating systems, Net Applications’ figures show. By the end of November, that had jumped to 4 percent, followed by an increase to 5.71 percent by the end of December.

At the end of January, the average number of users of Windows 7 during the month had risen to 7.51 percent.

Meanwhile, daily usage figures tend to show larger day-to-day swings for Windows 7. For instance, a month after Windows 7’s consumer debut, the daily usage rate had already hit 5.14 percent, even though the average use rate for the month topped out at 4 percent.

By Jan. 1, that daily rate jumped to 8.01 percent, compared to 5.71 percent for the monthly average.

All-in-all, however, the data point to a strong consumer response to Windows 7so far, as Microsoft acknowledged last week when it reported revenue and earnings for its second quarter of fiscal 2010, which included the holiday sales season.

At that time, Microsoft said that by the end of the quarter, it had already sold more than 60 million Windows 7 licenses, making it the “fastest-selling operating system in history,” officials said. They gave most of the credit for the company beating financial analysts’ expectations for the quarter to Windows 7’s strong performance out of the gate.

Additionally, early analysis of holiday sales by NPD Groupfound that sales of boxed copies of Windows 7 helped bolster brisk sales for the quarter.

While Microsoft officials last week pointed out that its sales and earnings in its current quarter are traditionally down after the holidays, some analysts have been predicting that mainstream corporate adoption of Windows 7 will beginduring this quarter or next, since many large businesses often delay rollout of new OSes.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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