Windows Everywhere-ish

Windows 8 adoption frankly sucks:

The percentage of PCs in use worldwide running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system inched up to 2.7% in February, from 2.3% in January, according to Net Applications. Microsoft launched Windows 8 with a massive advertising campaign on Oct. 26.

Now four months after its launch, Windows 8 barely beats Apple’s Mac OS X 10.8 operating system, called Mountain Lion, which had 2.6% usage market share in February.

By comparison, its predecessor, Windows 7, had 9.1% global market share four months after its release, says Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of marketing and strategic alliances for Net Applications.

When Windows 8 first rolled out last year, I was willing to cut the lousy adoption rate some slack. As I wrote back in October:

Windows Vista was so awful and Windows XP was so long in the tooth, that pent-up demand [may have] caused Windows 7 early installs to skyrocket. There’s no such pressure on people to upgrade early to Windows 8, because they’re pretty happy with 7 — which has only been around a couple of years.

That was my best of three guesses as to why early adopters were shunning the new OS, but months later that excuse is wearing a little thin. After all, new Windows computers drive a huge fraction of new OS installs, and Win8 was supposed to drive new computer sales.

But the sales never materialized. Not for Win8 desktops and laptops, not for Win8 semi-“Pro” tablets, and not for Windows RT tablets. I wouldn’t be surprised to read that the craptaculent Windows ME was adopted at a faster rate.

So what’s going on here?

First of all, the PC market is flat. Well, the Windows PC market is flat — Mac is still enjoying nice growth again, now that iMac supply constraints have been (mostly) fixed. But the explosive growth is all in mobile, where Microsoft is practically a no-show. Windows Phone 8 is good-but-ignored. Windows RT is a redheaded stepchild with a hairlip and a nasty disposition, and Win8 seems to be the semi-touch answer to the mouse-and-keyboard question nobody is asking.

Steve Ballmer has got to go.