With a user interface that's a little more attractive to many, Windows 8.1's adoption rate continues to outpace that of older sibling and Microsoft accidentally feeds rumors it'll be welcoming Windows 9 into the family soon.
The latest market stats for desktop operating systems were released by StatCounter and it tells the tale of Windows 8.1's slow but steady rise to outpace Windows 8. StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen suggested that many people wouldn't get past Windows 8's appearance.
"Following a mixed reaction to Windows 8, perhaps because of its radical new look, Windows 8.1 appears to be winning over users," stated Cullen.
Windows 8.1 first overtook 8 in May of 2014, but the disparity between the pair has grown to just shy of 1 percent of the global market share for desktop OSes.
For August of 2014, Windows 8.1 claimed proximately 7.5 percent of the global market share and 8 accounted for roughly 6.6 percent. In the U.S., Windows 8 held a 5.9 percent share of the market and Windows 8.1 staked a 8.35 percent claim, according to data from StatCounter.
But as Windows 8.1 slowly finds itself in the global market, Windows XP is being kept alive by hold outs around the world. Windows XP still held onto 12.9 percent of the global market, though it clutched to an 8.9 percent share in the U.S. at the end of August.
At home and abroad, Windows 7 still secured the market for desktop OSes with a 50.3 percent share at the conclusion of August 2014 -- Mac OS X stood at 7.8 percent at the end of the month. While Windows 7 is in the prime of its life, Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, has warned enterprise groups to start planning to avoid the migration pains experienced in letting go of Windows XP by planning well ahead for the end of 7's support in January 2020.
"While this feels like it's a long way off, organizations must start planning now, so they can prevent a recurrence of what happened with Windows XP," said Kleynhans. "The good news is that improvements to Windows 8 help enable adoption. Microsoft has moved to a more fluid approach to releasing and updating Windows. In the 18 months since its release, Windows 8 has had two significant updates, and we expect more during the next year."
And while Windows 8.1 doesn't appear to have hit its stride yet, rumors of Threshold, the codename for Windows 9, have been given some weight after Microsoft leaked a mock up of a Windows 9 logo on a Chinese tech site. Though with Windows 8 and 8.1 banned from government equipment in China and rumors of a Chinese OS coming this fall, Windows 9 may run into trouble early in its life cycle.