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start_update_51167EBFMicrosoft’s Windows 7 continued its rebound in June, climbing to 50.55 percent of worldwide desktop operating system usage.

And despite its retirement, Windows XP saw a small increase in market share during the month, clawing back up to 25.31 percent of worldwide usage, according to the latest desktop operating system stats from NetMarketShare.

Windows 8.1 also saw a slight increase, to 6.61 percent, but the simultaneous fall in Windows 8.0 usage translated into an overall decline for all Windows 8 versions — slipping a tenth of a percentage point, to 12.54 percent.

Small changes like that may not be as significant in the short run, but the overall trend demonstrates the challenge that continues to face Windows 8 as the Redmond company approaches the two-year anniversary of its release.

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As one benchmark, Gregg Keizer of Computerworld reported this week that Windows 8 is actually running a smaller percentage of the world’s computers than the 12.8 percent that the widely panned Windows Vista had achieved at this point in its lifecycle, although Windows 8’s share of overall Windows usage is actually larger than Windows Vista’s was at this point. (The difference is due to Windows’ larger overall worldwide market share in the Vista timeframe.)

Windows 8’s radically different user interface, optimized for tablets, has made some users reluctant to upgrade, although the changes made by the company since then have made things significantly better for traditional desktop PC and notebook users, with more improvements on the way.

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