The missing statistics.

My friend Mack D. Male wrote that Windows Media Center was Microsoft success story. The post made it to digg, and he commented on that:

Essentially my post demonstrates that Windows Media Center has become very successful. I don’t really attempt to explain the reasons for the success, aside from glossing over the features and that sort of thing. It seems most people think that WMC is only successful because it is installed by default on many new computers. Even if that’s the case, does it matter? I don’t think it does.

I’m going to politely disagree. While Windows Media Center may be a success in terms of units sold, that is basically because Microsoft has the monopoly power to force computer manufacturers to pre-install it. That doesn’t make it a success.

The statistics are interesting:

Back in 2004, Windows eHome Division General Manager Joe Belfiore noted that 27% of Media Center buyers used the machines in their living rooms, 23% used them in bedrooms, and almost 50% used them in dens, studies, or home offices. Some people use their Media Center PC primarily as an everyday computer, others use it strictly as a home entertainment device.

But they neglect to tell you one important thing. How many people actually use it as a media center? How many even have TV tuner cards installed in their PCs? How many have replaced their TiVo with Windows Media Center?

I did find these statistics, but I’m not sure how credible they are:

58 percent of Media Center users watch TV on their PCs, while 27 percent have their Media Center PC connected directly to a TV set.

So some people may have decided to buy a computer with TV functionality instead of a new TV. They may watch DVDs or listen to music on it. I could do that with any PC – in fact I do it with my Macbook. But I’m not sure that constitutes a success for Windows Media Center.


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