Windows 7 Approaching Top Spot OS Slot

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Analysts say Windows 7 is gaining fast on the venerable Windows XP – and leaving Vista well behind

Analyst house Gartner has today predicted that Windows 7 will be the world’s most used operating system (OS) by the end of the year.

It estimates that 42 percent of PCs will be running Windows 7, which will have shipped on 94 percent of the year’s new machines.

Gartner points to improved IT budgets in 2010/11 accelerating adoption in the US and Asia/Pacific regions, where large volume migrations began in Q4 2010, to back up its claims.

Slower Uptake Outside US

“However,” said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. “The economic uncertainties in Western Europe, political instability in selected Middle East and Africa (MEA) countries and the economic slowdown in Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, will likely lead to slightly late and slow deployment for Windows 7 across those regions.”

The Gartner announcement also says that Apple OSs have been growing well above market average in the last couple of years on the back of excellent integration between its products and their ease of use.

Gartner expects Linux to remain niche over the next five years and it does not expect Google’s Chrome OS, Android or HP’s webOS to have any significant impact.

Windows 7: The last of the giants

Gartner says its forecast assumes that Windows 7 is the last in the era of grand OS roll outs from Microsoft as cloud adoption and virtualisation negates the need for comprehensive, heavyweight OSs.

In a world dominated by web-based applications future OSs are likely to be lightweight, requiring just tweaking and styling to improve user interfaces.

Last week, Net Applications’ data estimated that Windows XP use had dropped below 50 percent for the first time since it began tracking OS usage, currently registering at 49.69 percent. Back in April, StatCounter estimated XP usage to be lower at 47.32 percent.

Net Applications figures suggest that Windows 7 is gaining slightly more users from XP than it is from the much maligned Vista. It records a drop in market share of 12.4 percent for XP since December 2010, and a 5.4 percent drop, to 9.3 percent, for Vista in the same period. It registers gains of 13.8 percent for Windows 7.

Microsoft recently named the date at which XP support would end as it depends on Windows 7 to drive adoption of its IE9 and IE10 browser, leading to the development of Windows 8 and the HTML5 app-model OS.

In April, Microsoft said it had sold 350million Windows 7 licences in the first 18 months of release.

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