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Windows 8 finally overtakes Windows XP

Barry Collins
1 Dec 2014
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Windows 8 surges past XP to become second most used version of Windows

Windows 8 and 8.1 finally have a bigger market share than the defunct Windows XP, according to the latest figures from Net Analytics. Windows 8.1 has been on something of a growth spurt in the past couple of months, its market share having almost doubled from 6.7% in September to 12.1% in November. 

That growth has largely come at the expense of Windows XP, which has been in freefall since Microsoft decided to cut off security updates in March. XP's market share stood at 13.6% in November, while Windows 8 and 8.1 combined have a market share of 18.7%. If the operating systems continue at their current trajectory, Windows 8.1 alone will overtake Windows XP next month. 

The decline of Windows XP is a vindication of Microsoft's painful decision to stop providing security updates for Windows XP earlier this year. XP's market share stood at 26.3% in April, while the two versions of Windows 8 had a little over 12%. It seems businesses and consumers have been spooked by the idea of running an unsupported OS and either switched those XP machines off, or replaced them with Windows 8.1 PCs.

The back-to-school market seems to have provided a boost for Windows 8.1, and with the lucrative Christmas season still to come, things are looking a lot less bleak for Microsoft's much maligned OS than they were just a few months ago. However, with Windows 10 now firmly on the horizon, it's unlikely that Windows 8 will ever overhaul its predecessor, which still commands more than half of the desktop market. 

Microsoft has already released several preview versions of Windows 10, which is expected to be fully complete by next summer. The company has an event planned for January in which it is expected to unveil more tablet features for the next-generation OS, with most of the features announced so far focusing on the desktop. 

Browser battles

The new Net Analytics figures provide more bad news for Mozilla. Whilst Internet Explorer's market share has remained relatively stable at around 58%, Firefox continues to tumble rapidly. Its market share now stands at 13.3% on desktops, down from 18.5% a year ago. Firefox's loss has largely been Chrome's gain, with the Google browser now claiming 20.5% of the market.

Google last month ended its long-standing deal to be the global search default in Firefox. Whilst Google will continue to be the default search engine here in Europe, Yahoo has taken over in the US.  

 

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