The latest market share data from Net Applications has revealed that usage of the latest editions of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, version 8 and 8.1, rose throughout December to now total an overall market share of over 10 percent.
Two months on from its release, Windows 8.1 has a 3.6 percent market share, with Windows 8 coming in at 6.9 percent. During the month of December, Windows 8 gained 0.2 percentage points, while Windows 8.1 jumped a whole percentage point. However, this rise for Windows 8 may be short-lived, as Microsoft is encouraging all Windows users to switch to version 8.1, making the upgrade path to Windows 8.1 a free download for Windows 8 users.
More worryingly, Windows XP is showing no sign of disappearing before April, when Microsoft shuts off support for the version, which is now nearly as old as the century.
The usage figures for the later Windows iterations are still well behind that of Windows 7 and even Windows XP, both of which continue to enjoy a healthy market position.
Supported by strong enterprise usage, Windows 7 is still the leader, and gaining in overall market share; it went up by 0.9 percentage points over the month to reach 47.5 percent, continuing a strong growth trend seen throughout the year.
Despite being on Death Row, Windows XP still has a strong share, and it seems likely it will still be in widespread use when Microsoft pulls the plug on the vintage Windows version. It lost 2.2 percentage points over the month, but still finished the year with a 29 percent market share.
Given that Microsoft is completely cutting support for Windows XP on 8 April 2014, that rate of decline would mean 23 percent of Windows desktops could have no security updates or support after that date., leading to a predicted security nightmare.
Surprisingly, the universally-hated Windows Vista actually enjoyed a tiny gain, rising by 0.04 percent to 3.61 percent overall, proving that there is still life in the old operating systems,
Elsewhere, the statistics showed that the most popular Apple operating system is OS X 10.9, which recorded a 2.8 percent overall market share, whilst Linux was used by 1.79 percent.
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