Windows 10 growth slowdown has bright side

Although Windows 10's growth slowed in August, the one-year-old operating system didn't slam on the brakes as expected, according to data from multiple analytics sources.

The smaller-than-anticipated slowdown may signal the start of enterprise deployments, a move that would vindicate Microsoft's efforts to nudge businesses to adopt the OS faster than they had earlier editions.

According to U.S.-based metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10 gained 1.9 percentage points of user share during August, putting its mark at 23% of all personal computers for the month.

Windows 10 powered 25.4% of all machines running Windows: The difference between the user share of all PCs and only those running Windows stemmed from the fact that Windows powered 90.5% of all personal computers, not 100%.

August's 8% month-over-month growth rate was the lowest since Windows 10's mid-2015 launch, but it was not as dire a dip as other sources hinted around the middle of August. Last month's sequential increase was only slightly behind June's 9.8% and March's 10.1%.

Others analytics firms showed similar results.

Ireland's StatCounter, for example, pegged Windows 10's usage share -- more a measure of activity than of individual users and their devices -- at 24.5% for August, a 1-point gain that represented a 4% month-over-month increase.

Like Net Applications' numbers, StatCounter's portrayed a slowdown of Windows 10 growth, but one at odds with earlier projections by Computerworld. Where those mid-August forecasts put Windows 10's increase at just a third of July's and a fourth of Junes, in reality 10's gain was better than half of July's and more than a third of June's.

Expectations of a slowing of Windows 10 uptake were based on the demise of the year-long free upgrade offer, which Microsoft extended to all consumers with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines, as well as to many -- but not all -- businesses. The offer expired July 29, at which point Microsoft began charging all customers for Windows 10 upgrades.

Data: Net Applications

Windows 10's month-over-month growth rate fell under 8% in August, but the downturn wasn't as large as feared.

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