Microsoft has backtracked on a lot of statements and policies this year, many of them concerning the Xbox One. Now, after initially announcing that it will cease to permit the sale of Windows 7 via both retail software sales and the sales of Windows 7-loaded PCs starting October 30, Microsoft reversed course. While they’re sticking to the halt on retail Windows 7 sales, they are still allowing PC manufacturers to build and ship systems with Windows 7 preinstalled. Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle fact sheet now indicates that the end date of Windows 7 sales on new PCs is “To be determined.”
Here’s what a Microsoft statement had to say on the matter.
“We have yet to determine the end of sales date for PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled. The October 30 date that posted to the Windows Lifecycle page globally last week was done so in error. We have since updated the website to note the correct information [and] we apologize for any confusion this may have caused our customers. We’ll have more details to share about the Windows 7 lifecycle once they become available.”
Considering the slow Windows 8 adoption rates, it’s possible that Microsoft decided to extend the availability of Windows 7 to make up for Windows 8’s weak sales. Though Microsoft has taken steps to improve Windows 8 with Windows 8.1, which was released in October, Windows users are absolutely clinging to both Windows XP and Windows 7.
According to Net Applications, a marketshare data tracking firm, the pool of people using Windows 7 grew to 46.6 percent, up from 46. 4 percent, by the end of last month. On top of that, Windows XP and its user base held steady. Windows XP is found on 31.2 percent of all computers.
What’s more, of all the PCs running Windows, Windows 7 is installed on 51.3 percent of all of those machines as of the end of November. Windows XP also remains strong in this area as well, accounting for 34.4 percent of all machines running a version of Windows, though that number dropped slightly, falling to 34.5 percent last month.
With those numbers in mind, Windows 8 clearly has a problem connecting with consumers. Perhaps by making the move to allow PC makers to offer Windows 7 systems, Microsoft is buying itself more time to build the bridge between Windows 8 and PC users.