I noticed a funny thing during the Fourth of July weekend. I wrote a couple quick articles about Google+, but since it was a holiday weekend in the U.S. and I initially thought Google+ didn't have a whole lot to do with IT or business, I posted them in my personal blog (jasonhiner.com) instead of here on TechRepublic, and then I simply promoted them on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. When I looked at the stats for those posts, I was startled by the user data for operating systems and web browsers. I noticed that Microsoft Windows was far lower than you'd expect (well under 50% of visits) and Internet Explorer was nowhere to be found.
Naturally, the one who were reading those Google+ articles were the early adopter crowd, especially technophiles, coders, IT professionals, and journalists. But, this tech crowd also tends to be an early indicator of where the masses will be headed in a couple years. If that's the case, then Microsoft Windows could be closer to a significant decline than I expected. Interestingly enough, the biggest competition isn't from Mac or Linux but from mobile devices.
Of course, this got me thinking that I should run a poll on TechRepublic to check the loyalty of users to Microsoft Windows. Before we dive into that poll, take a look below for a closer look at the visitor data from my personal web site during the long weekend of July 1-4, along with a comparison to my TechRepublic blog during the same four days.
Here is the comparison of visitors based on operating system. Notice that only a third of all visitors to my personal site (again, coming primarily for the articles on Google+) were coming from a Windows machine, versus the 80-90% we typically see for TechRepublic articles.
Here is the comparison of visitors based on web browser. Notice that roughly a third of all visits to my site came from Google Chrome browsers and another third came from Firefox/Mozilla browsers, while Internet Explorer is was missing altogether, suggesting that even the Windows visitors were using mostly Chrome or Firefox.
Keep in mind that the numbers we're talking about here in relation to my personal site are pretty small -- 1,000 visitors versus over 35K on my TechRepublic blog over the same period -- plus this was measured over a holiday weekend in the U.S. Nevertheless, this is what data wonks would call a statistically significant sample. And, the fact that the primary people attracted to my site during this period were technology early adopters (albeit ones with a Google preference) means that this data could be a bad sign for Microsoft. Combine this with the fact that 80% of students now want to buy a Mac instead of a PC, and the story starts to look even worse for the Redmond software giant.
That said, I expect that existing Windows users, who make up the vast majority here on TechRepublic, don't plan to jump off the Windows bandwagon any time soon. I'd like to confirm just how deep that loyalty runs, so I've created the poll below. Answer the poll and then jump into the discussion to share your current thoughts on the issue.
Take the poll
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.