Windows 8 faces a much different environment than did either Vista or Windows 7, as those predecessors were released as PC shipments were on the rise, not in a historic slump. Nor did they have to contend with tablets as rivals for consumer and corporate attention and spending.
Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 on Oct. 17 to current Windows 8 customers, then follow with a retail debut -- and with systems running the update -- on Oct. 18. Windows 8.1 is essentially a redo meant to answer customer complaints about the radical changes in Windows 8, which split workspaces between two wildly different user interfaces.
Windows 8's user share of 8.4 percent was ahead of Vista's but far behind Windows 7's at the same point in their post-release adoption cycles. (Data: Net Applications.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers, and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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