MICROSOFT HAS REASON to smile a little with the release of the latest monthly market share figures from Net Applications.
The figures, gleaned from the number of machines running each operating system that access the portion of the internet monitored by the firm, haven't shifted dramatically, but they do show Windows 8.x as having the only positive growth of the main systems with 13.37 percent (+0.89). With the slow uptake of its flagship operating system, Microsoft will welcome all crumbs of comfort, especially as use of Windows 8.x dropped in the previous month.
Both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 registered a rise with 6.28 percent (+0.36) and 7.09 percent (+0.53) increases respectively. Microsoft would of course prefer it if all Windows 8 users took advantage of the free upgrade to the latest version. But given that the firm offered initial rollout to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, which many people don't use, and the subsequent update caused blue screen of death issues for many users, the update adoption has been slow.
Windows 7, which has shown a continuing rise over the last six months to occupy over 50 percent of the market, has hit a plateau at 51.21 percent (-0.01). Windows Vista dipped slightly at a steady 3.02 percent (-0.03).
Windows XP has scored the biggest drop of the month, despite holding nearly a quarter of the market nearly five months after it reached end of life. This month, it holds 23.89 percent (-0.93) of PCs with active internet connections.
Recent reports suggest that hardware sales are being driven by Windows XP upgraders, many of whom don't realise that upgrading might be a cheaper option, but with the arrival of an unofficial Service Pack 4 for Windows XP, it's possible that next month might see a slight retrenchment.
Away from Redmond, Mac OS X 10.9 has seen a nudge upwards to 4.29 percent (+0.17), mostly down to the easy upgrade path that Apple has offered, which has seen earlier editions of Mac OS X tail off very quickly, covering just 2.36 percent among them. Linux remains stable at 1.67 percent (-0.01).
With the likelihood of revelations about Windows 9 just weeks away, this could be the end of a period of relative calm for the operating system market share charts. Add in the upcoming holiday season and a number of trade shows awash with new hardware announcements, and we could see some big changes over the next few months. µ