Thoughts on Windows 10

Some quick thoughts on Windows 10 after playing with it for a couple of days after the release.

It is no longer confusing

I consider this to be the single, most important feature of Windows 10. Unlike Windows 8 and 8.1, I no longer am confused with how to perform really simple tasks like opening up a browser, getting to the control panel, opening up Evernote, etc.

The important thing to understand about the Windows ecosystem is that despite Windows 8 being released back in October 2013 and being with us for almost two years, the vast majority of users are still using the traditional Start Menu-based navigation system on Windows XP or Windows 7. This is more pronounced in corporate environments, most of which are still on Windows 7. One cannot overstate the importance of Windows 10 being intuitive to these users.

Number of Instalments

It has been reported that Windows 10 has been installed on 67 million machines as of 8AM July 31st. Since the release was on the 29th, this massive number was achieved in a just a couple of days. This is a tremendously huge number.

To put this number in perspective, the installed base of PCs is in the 1.0 to 1.5 billion range (Microsoft says that they have 1.5 billion Windows devices including phones, and 1 billion Office users). Of this, only about 15% are on Windows 8/8.1 (based on web usage statistics). This puts the number of Windows 8/8.1 instalments at 150-225 million. Windows 10 has achieved about 1/3 of this in 2 days. The number of Macs are only 5% of total PCs, at about 50-75 million (at WWDC 2014, Apple said it was 80 million), so Windows 10 instalments will likely exceeded the total number of Mac instalments any time now. Gartner is predicting Chromebooks sales of just 7.3 million in 2015, which is just a tenth of Windows 10 installs.

Simply put, the rollout of Windows 10 has been massive by any measure. Microsoft has also formally announced their goal of 1 billion Windows 10 devices within the next 2-3 years, which has been considered to be an achievable if not conservative goal.

Usage share

Given the massive uptake of Windows 10, Windows 10 should show up in web usage statistics. Sure enough, Stat Counter has put Windows 10 at 2.69% of US desktop usage as of July 31st. This compares with 0.92% for Chrome OS, 4.8% for Win XP, 3.19% for Win Vista and 20.9% for Win 8/8.1 and 17.04% for Mac OS. We can expect this this number to rise rapidly within the next few weeks.

Effect on future browser usage share

Windows 10 apparently sets your default browser to Microsoft Edge, even when you had previously set it to Firefox or Chrome. It will be very interesting to see how many people will stay with Edge and how many will set it back to the browser of their choice.

If many people stay with Edge, which is certainly possible given that it is actually quite nice, then Chrome usage share will suffer. More importantly, since the default search engine of Edge is Bing, Google Search market share may also decline significantly.