Preston Gralla

Windows 8 loses market share. Is there no hope for it left?

July 02, 2014 9:48 AM EDT

Think things are bad for Windows 8? They're worse than you think -- the struggling operating system lost market share last month, something almost unheard of for the latest version of a Microsoft operating system.

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that in June, Windows 8 lost one tenth of a percent user share, the first time that has happened since Windows 8's launch. Net Applications' figures show that for June, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 had 12.5% market share of all desktop and notebooks systems, down from 12.6% the month before.

That means that at the same time in their release cycles, for the first time Windows Vista was running on a larger percentage of all personal computers than Windows 8 -- 12.8% compared to 12.6%.

How is Windows 8 managing to lose market share, when it's on most personal computers being sold in retail stores? It's because corporations largely refuse to buy computers with Windows 8 on it, instead opting to buy Windows 7 machines. As a result, Windows 8 gained a half percentage point of user share in June, up to 50.6% market share. As Keizer points out, it was the fourth month in a row that Windows 7 has been gaining market share.

There's no hope that Windows 8 will ever be a success, and even Microsoft recognizes that. Before the next version of Windows is released, code-named Threshold, Microsoft is scheduled to release only one more Windows 8 update, and it's not expected to bring significant changes.

Instead, Microsoft is focusing on making big changes with Threshold, particularly for users of traditional PCs. On those machines, the Windows Desktop will once again regain supremacy, inclusing a Start menu. Users will never even have to see the Start screen if they don't want. Tablet and phone users, on the other hand, apparently won't even have the Desktop to go to.

So as things stand now, Windows 8 seems to be the worst operating system Microsoft has ever released. Few will miss it when it's gone.