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Windows 8, 8.1 close to overtaking Windows XP

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Microsoft's Windows 8.1 was release over a year ago, but it seems as though the operating system is juts now gaining popularity.

The market share of users running Windows 8.1 jumped to 10.9 percent in October, up from 6.7 percent in September and 7.1 percent in August.

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined climbed to 16.8 percent, up from 12.26 percent at the end of September, according to the study by Net Applications. This is only 0.4 percent behind the seemingly ever-lasting Windows XP, which now sits at 17.2 percent, down from 23.87 percent in September.

The decline of Windows XP coincides with the increase of Windows 8.1, suggesting that many users waited for year to upgrade until now.

While Windows 8 is considered largely a flop for Microsoft, the company added many of the features back that users were missing into Windows 8.1. The company also recently announced Windows 10, which is more of a hybrid between the classic Windows layout that many are used to and the new "metro" interface found in Windows 8 and 8.1. Many users are likely holding on to their operating system to see what Windows 10 has in store.

Despite the increase in users on Windows 8.1, it seems as though many are still holding on to their older versions of Windows. Windows 7 still has the largest market share at 53.1 percent, which is followed by Windows 8.1 at the aforementioned 17.2 percent. The share of XP users also coincides with the fact that that company cut support for the operating system in April.

Windows XP wasn't the only Windows operating system to see a decrease in market share. Windows Vista, hailed by many as one of the worst versions of Windows ever, fell to 2.82 percent, finally dropping below the 3 percent mark.

The drop in Windows XP market share is the largest drop we've seen for the operating system to date, being the first time that we've seen it have a market share of below 20 percent in over a decade. One possible explanation for the rapid change is the fact that many students purchased new machines for the back-to-school season, which is only reflected in data after they have been using their machines for a full month.

Windows in general suffered a drop in market share of 0.45 points, now sitting at 91.53 percent. Apple's OS X gained 0.67 percent, bringing it up to 7.05 percent. Linux also suffered a drop, falling 0.23 points to 1.41 percent.

Net Applications used data captured from 160 million unique visitors around the world by monitoring around 40,000 websites for its clients. 

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