Microsoft’s Windows 8 is ending the year by reaching a nice little milestone — exceeding 10 percent market share (for Windows 8 and 8.1 combined) for the first time on desktop and notebook computers, according to preliminary operating system usage data for December, as reported by Net Applications.

windowsAt the same time, Windows XP (originally released more than a decade ago) dipped below 30 percent market share.

Windows XP’s market share is down from about 40 percent a year ago, and still a long way from what Microsoft would like to see prior to the official end of Windows XP support in April of this year. (That means no more security updates, fixes or paid support for computers still running the operating system after that point.) But at least it’s headed in the right direction.

And then there’s Windows 7, which is refusing to fade away — actually increasing its market share over the past six months, as some businesses and computer users opt to stay away from Windows 8 (which was released in October 2012.) Windows 7 ended the year at 48 percent market share, up a few percentage points from the beginning of the year.

That speaks to the challenge Microsoft faces as it tries to move users to the latest version of Windows, which is key to the company’s broader strategy of unifying its software and services across various devices. Windows 7 is still in demand because Windows 8, for better or worse, is a radical change.

Of course, desktop and notebook computers are just part of the definition of “computing” as we enter 2014. As shown in the chart below, based on Net Applications data, Microsoft’s market share in tablets and smartphones isn’t yet enough to break the company out of the “other” category. This is something that Microsoft will be aiming to accelerate with the acquisition of Nokia, set to be completed early this year.


Previously on GeekWireMicrosoft’s 2014 will be defined by a new CEO … if Ballmer and Gates can let go


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  • arrow2010

    Windows 7 is rock solid, there is no need for businesses to upgrade from that.

    • Bill

      agreed. Windows 8 is garbage

      • WebUser

        shut the hell up. Why do even open your stupid mouth!

        • Bill Gates

          Windows 8 is garbage at least for desktops and laptops

    • cybersaurusrex

      Windows 8 is not garbage. It’s great on touchscreen devices & tablets.
      Windows 7 is great on desktops, but not everyone lives in the desktop.

      • ThatConfused1

        Business tool wise, Win8 is garbage. Logistic and Inventory control software have stuck to WIndows 7 Enterprise for stability. A touch screen support is a pointless feature when tracking and maintaining inventories is problematic if the OS tends to have issues running a 500 dollar license such as Ecometry leading to constant crashes, freezing or corrupt data from sudden application termination.

        • AmFuzzy

          You obviously don’t get it. For an Enterprise they can move to Windows 8, and users with standard desktops will stay in Desktop mode 99+% of the time, but the Enterprise can build tablet apps where needed or where it makes sense. This way they can have a single OS image but allow or customize the UI for any type of user. Your example is just one…and APP COMPAT is easily fixed with poorly written Windows apps that might have been written for XP or worse. If it works in Windows 7 it can work in Windows 8 if the IT department knows what they’re doing. There are advantages for Enterprises to move to Windows 8 even if you aren’t aware of what they may be.

        • Paul Allen

          I’m sitting here on my work desktop typing this in IE11 on Windows 8 (no touch screen) and it was a solid step up from my Windows 7 machine. Company-wide, we are still about halfway through the transitions from XP to 7 that started mid last year. We wont be thinking about Windows 8/9 for a while.

        • Dirty_Harry2

          Duh. You don’t HAVE TO USE TOUCH SCREEN.

          Metro is just there as an interface to launch apps. If you use desktop software the DESKTOP IS STILL THERE. YOUR KEYBOARD AND MOUSE ARE STILL THERE. THEY STILL WORK THE SAME WAY.

          Maybe you should just go back to the abacus to do all your inventories. If Windows 8 is complicated then the abacus may be the simple solution you need.

    • Salial

      No need to upgrade. If at all they upgrade, upgrade to Android :P . Very nice dream which is not going to happen !!!!!

      • Dirty_Harry2

        Yeah then the whole economy can collapse while buggy “apps” freeze up important systems, and everyone throws their device out the window after being asked to sign up to Google+ for the 40,000th time in a day.

        • Salial

          Even that is not going to happen :P Why think something that can happen and not day dream. You watch lot of scary movies ??

  • Guest

    Congrats! We are pleased with the progression of Windows versions. The community can also help: if you ever see Windows XP used in an important place, such as a medical office or an airport, take a photo of it and swerve it with the hashtag “#stillusingxp.” Remember to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Foursquare, Studio, and of course Prance.

    Let’s move the world forward, people. Don’t #stillusingxp!

  • Ray Burt

    I know a number of people who were, against their desire, forced to go to Windows 8. Now they all love it (they have touch screen PCs).

  • 509

    IF your running software that does the job…..why upgrade?? I don’t make money upgrading software, in fact, it costs me money to upgrade.

    Most business applications are in support of a economic transaction. If the software upgrade makes you more money then do it.

    Quite frankly, I think MicroSoft is missing a huge market by not still selling XP and Windows 7…..they can dump Vista.

    • guest

      ATMs, slot machines, Kiosks still runs on XP

  • james braselton

    hi there there are live tiles metro ui windows 8 emulators for windows 7

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