According to retailers Microsoft wants to
"distance" itself from Windows 8 and 7 ahead of the launch of Windows
10 which is supposed to fix a host of problems with the Microsoft OS.
Microsoft has told retailers that they want to move
consumers onto on to more recent versions of its operating system while
eliminating the ability to buy cheaper versions of the Companies operating
The next version of Windows is Windows 10, it is due to be
released in late 2015 in Australia.
From 31 October, consumers could no longer buy copies of the
Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. Now, Windows 8 is
also no longer available. The change affects both copies bought in shops or
loaded on PCs and laptops.
The current version of Windows, 8.1, will be the default
version offered on PCs.
The change will take time to feed through into the market,
as many PC makers have large stocks of older versions of Windows and will
continue to sell PCs running the software.
Those keen to get a computer running Windows 7 will be able
to "downgrade" from 8.1 to Windows 7 Professional but relatively few
PC firms offer this option.
Gordon Kelly, writing in Forbes, said the policy revealed
"Microsoft's determination to distance itself from the original form of
Windows 8" despite it being released just over two years ago.
The original version of Windows 8 did not prove popular
because it did away with some familiar elements of the desktop version of the
By contrast, he said, Windows 7 has been available since
late 2009 and is still very popular among users. About 53% of Windows users are
on the various editions of Version 7 of Windows, he said. The more recently
released Windows 8 has only grabbed a 6% market share and has already been
surpassed by 8.1, said Mr Kelly.
The change will also clear the path for the arrival of
Windows 10, he added.
Separately, market analysis reveals that the numbers of
people using the venerable Windows XP operating system has suddenly seen a
sharp decline. Data from Netmarketshare suggests that in October this year its
share dropped from almost 24% to just over 17%. It is not yet clear what was behind