Microsoft has every reason to think this year’s set to be a good one, following the news that its divisive Windows 8 and 8.1 operating systems have finally landed on 10 percent of all desktops running to date. The stats come from Net Applications, which is one of the leading monitors of such things, and show that while the original Windows 8 lost 0.001 percent of its market share, it’s follow up Windows 8.1 grew by 0.86 percent, taking the two OS’s combined share to 10.15 percent of all desktops.
A great job by Windows 8 to be sure, but it was always likely to creep up to the ten percent mark given that most new laptops come with the OS pre-installed. An even better performer however was Windows 7, the elder sibling of Windows 8, which continues to expand its overall lead on the desktop platform. Throughout November, Windows 7′s market share grew by 0.22 percent, followed by a massive 2.62 percent in December to leave it with 49.26 percent of the market overall.
The reason for this sudden growth of Microsoft’s more recent operating systems is the decline of Windows XP, support for which is finally set to end in a few months time. Over the last two month’s, Windows XP’s share fell by 3.38 percent, from 31.22 percent to just 27.84 percent overall. Windows Vista also saw its market share fall by 0.11 percent, most likely as organizations upgrade themselves to newer operating systems.
As for the rest, Apple will be pleased to see that its Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) rose from 2.42 percent in November to 2.86 percent last month. Overall, Mac operating systems claim 7.54 percent of the desktop market, while the number of systems running Linux distros rose by 0.17 percent to 1.73 percent overall.
What will be interesting to see is next month’s stats, as we’ll find out whether or not Christmas was a good one for Windows 8. Has Microsoft finally begun to win over consumers with its revamped OS, or will Windows 7 continue to dominate?
Internet Explorer rules the roost
Aside from keeping tabs on operating systems, Net Applications also likes to keep abreast of the so-called “browser wars”, revealing that Internet Explorer continues to be the world’s most popular browser overall. The combined versions of IE are used by 57.91 percent of all desktop web users, with the biggest surprise that the older IE 8 accounts for 20.64 percent of the market, followed by the more recent IE 10 with 11.05 percent, and the touch-centric IE 11 claiming 10.42 percent. Even more shocking perhaps, is that 12-year old IE 6 still accounts for a staggering 4.43 percent of all desktop users, despite being launched more than 12 years ago as part of the Windows XP operating system and unable able to cope with many of today’s standards.
As for the other browsers, Mozilla’s Firefox continues to be the leading alternative, with 18.35 percent of the market, followed by Google Chrome on 16.22 percent, and Apple’s Safari on 5.82 percent.