Blue Screen of Death — the stats
It’s just two years since I stopped using Windows. What do I miss? Viruses, and worms, obviously. But most of all, I haven’t seen a Blue Screen of Death in two years. Instead I have Mac and Linux machines which run without rebooting for weeks, and which never seem to experience the total system failure which is a Windows speciality. In an interesting article, John Dvorak has been doing some calculations based on something Bill Gates said recently about crashes. Quote:
“Gates said that 5 percent of Windows machines crash, on average, twice daily. Put another way, this means that 10 percent of Windows machines crash every day, or any given machine will crash about three times a month. Since Bill is a math junkie, I have to assume this number is real and based on something other than a phone survey…
Now according to StatMarket.com, as of March 2003, Windows XP had 33.41 percent global market share among operating systems. Let’s give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and make Windows XP’s share an even 35 percent at this point. How many computers are in use? According to the Computer Industry Almanac, there were 603 million worldwide in 2001, and the growth rate seems to be around 10 to 15 percent per year. Let’s be relatively conservative, and add just under 100 million to get a round number of 700 million PCs. With 10 percent of them crashing daily, we have 70 million crashes every 24 hours. “
Now just try this thought experiment: imagine if Ford released cars with this kind of failure rate. And imagine if we changed our consumer legislation to make Microsoft liable for the instability and insecurity of its software. Now that would have an interesting impact on its share price.