Windows 8.1 gains desktop OS share but 25 percent still use XP
For the month of May, Windows 8.1 finally caught up with Windows 8 in terms of usage. However, a quarter of users still use Windows XP, which reached its end-of-support mark in April.
Windows 7 continues to be the top operating system among PC users though, with 50.06 percent of the PC market compared to 49.3 percent in April. Windows XP has 25.27 percent compared to 26.3 percent last month, Windows 8.1 has 6.35 percent compared to 5.88 percent last month, and Windows 8 has 6.29 percent compared to 6.36 percent last month. These figures came from Net Applications, a web tracking firm that records all web traffic generated by different operating systems.
The increase in users for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is a good sign for Microsoft, which has been urging users to upgrade to either of these operating systems from Windows XP. Microsoft ended XP support last April, which means that there will be no further security updates or bug fixes for the almost 13-year-old operating system.
However, despite the fact that users are more prone to security threats, Windows XP continues to be in second behind Windows 7 in popularity. Its percentage is slowly decreasing, with a four percent decrease since January this year, but it seems that users are switching to Windows 7 more than to Windows 8 from Windows XP.
Windows 8.1 users have increased by 2.35 percent since the start of the year, but Windows 8 users have decreased only by 0.27 percent. This means that most of the new users of Windows 8.1 are not upgrading from Windows 8. Rather, the new users are either upgrading from a previous version of Windows, most probably from Windows XP, or are purchasing Windows 8.1 products.
Adoption of Windows 8.1 among PC users has been slow as upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 has more merit than upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7 or Windows XP. The primary reason is that moving from the keyboard-and-mouse systems of Windows 7 and Windows XP to the touch-based systems of Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 calls for a lot of adjustment. In addition, it is a waste to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 on a desktop PC that will not be able to maximize the operating system's touch-based features. The delay of the much anticipated integration of a new Start Menu into Windows 8.1 to next year will also hurt the operating system's chances of more users upgrading into it.
Overall in May, as per Net Applications, Windows operating systems made up 90.99 percent of the market, with Macs coming second at 7.39 percent and Linux at a distant third with 1.62 percent.