The Windows 8 Debate
W8: Gr8 or H8?
Let battle commence

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03 Jan 2013

When developers decide on which platform to develop for, they think about potential and they think about revenue. And the surest indication that money can be made from a given platform is when you see the user numbers growing.

So it surprises me that various bloggers continue to predict a bleak 2013 for Windows 8, when ANW has just released the most conclusive statistics I have seen that prove why developers should be getting onto the Windows 8 platform. Here are the latest market share figures, showing which OS is installed on the most machines across the world.

The key findings are:

  • The Windows family has grown its market share to 91.74%
  • Windows Vista and XP have slipped, while Windows 7 continues to grow.
  • Windows 8 has gone from 1.1% to 1.8%.

What does this mean? It means that developers have a clear picture of the overall potential of the Windows 8 platform. It is growing nicely, while the base of Microsoft users that are steadily upgrading from older MS products to newer ones is also on the increase. There is money to be made from Windows 8 because an installed base of millions is moving in your direction. Develop now and reap the rewards in the future.

The anti-Win8 gang might still be bleating on about the new interface and lack of start menu, but I think developers are smart enough to look at the facts that really count.

What's your take?


Ted Wise
That's pretty disingenuous. That's desktop only. And that market share hasn't _grown_ to 91.74%, it's _dropped_ to 91.74%. When you include the rapidly growing mobile market that share drops down to 81.55%. And it's dropping more every, single, month. Sales of PCs and Macs (traditional computers) are down year-over-year for the holiday period. That's not a blip, it's a trend. What's more, that's the whole market, not new sales. The high-end customers for traditional computers have been almost wholly ceded to Apple. So your Windows 8 customers are businesses and low-end traditional, existing computer owners. So if you're targeting Windows 8 you're targeting a shrinking market of potential purchasers.
To add to what Ted Wise has said who actually develops native desktop apps now? The browser is the target platform for desktops and W8 doesn't really change that. Native apps are the focus on mobile because of poor web performance and the need to make use of additional hardware like sensors. There's also a totally different always connected always near paradigm that requires native apps for good notification handling. There's nothing about Windows 8 at the moment that makes it a good target to make money.
Hi Ted Thanks for your comment. I prefer to say 'optimistic' than disingenuous, but I see your point. It's hard to say how it's all going to pan out, but it's certainly a fascinating area. Should I take from your comments that you would not advocate developing for Windows 8? We're starting to get a lot of sign-ups for our commerce platform (an alternative to the default Microsoft licensing platform). If you're interested (and it's zero commission to begin with) check it out at
Phil - again, thanks for taking time to comment, and I accept your point. But many would disagree that "there is nothing about Windows 8... ...that makes it a good target to make money". There is every chance of Windows 8 being a big player (maybe not the biggest) in the mobile app space. As I mentioned to Ted above, we're seeing a lot of interest from developers in our commerce platform (again, possibly because it's free to the first 300 developers!). The way the Windows Store is open to 3rd party licensing technology (like ours) is attractive to developers surely? Feel free to take a look at I'd be really interested in your thoughts.
If you take a look at the new type of exciting devices coming and the one announced at CES this year, its plain to see that windows is going nowhere other than up. When consumers and enterpises get use to the start tile screen this will increase both phone and desktop. There are already many shared dev code between phone and PC so in conclusion windows is reinventing itself and users/business now have a tablet choice one that is backed up by full sercurity and domain join.
Good to have a fellow optimist on here, Paul – thanks for stopping by. You're absolutely right that the security aspect is a big deal in the enterprise space, and the long game for Microsoft is clearly to present a single platform. This was one of my reasons for reading significance into the positive Windows desktop figures: you can argue that the top-end consumers are buying Macs these days, but there is a massive installed base of corporate Microsoft licenses – and lots of corporate buyers who will like the security of the MS option.
Ted, cheers for doing the rebutting legwork here. My esteemed colleague's oh-so-sunny view rather blinds him to the realities at times.
Who's "bleating" now? Our commerce platform is indeed perhaps the only thing making Windows 8 app development more attractive. Ooo, Windows 8 goes from 1.1 to 1.8 percent market share, how exciting! Break out the champagne already.
Let the scales drop from your eyes, non-believer! You've got to see the bigger picture here. It doesn't matter *why* Windows 8 is attractive. The point is that developers will be supporting Windows 8 and it will make them money. You can just sit back and gripe about it if you like, but it will be all the other guys making the revenue!