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Windows 8 preview shows weakness as uptake drags

While the initial release of the beta version of Windows 8 gave Microsoft reason to smile, it has all been downhill from there. Interest simply petered out for the supposed “game changer” OS which represents Microsoft’s answer to the combined threats of Google’s Android in the tablet market and Apple’s iOS in the smart phone market and all points in between. As of this writing, it appears that Windows users are around 50% as interested in taking the new OS out for a test drive as the enthusiasm they showed for the OS’ predecessor, Windows 7, when that OS came out three years ago.

Just as troubling, the new OS’ usage share looks definitely anemic compared to Windows 7 in the same time period. By the end of the first couple of months after Windows 7 beta was released, the new operating system was enabling 26 out of 10,000 PCs which browsed the Internet.

What explains the difference in consumer reactions to Windows 7 and Windows 8? Most obviously, the new OS represents a dramatic graphical break from previous Windows iterations. Many consumers are turned off by the stark overhaul of the User Interface. Many find the tile format of the start page confusing. The touch-first operation might have thrown off many users. Alternatively, the reason many people have not taken up the beta version of the new OS is maybe they are just too happy with Windows 7 and don’t feel that the hassle of changing over is not worth their time.

Looking at Internet usage tracking firm Net Application’s data, it appears the latter theory is more on point. Many analysts comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8′s usage trajectories believe that the reason more people jumped on the Windows 7 bandwagon was partly because of a general dissatisfaction with that OS’ predecessor, the much derided Windows Vista. No wonder then that Windows 7 managed to rack up a whopping 41% of all PCs running windows as of last month.