Windows 7 set to overtake Windows XP in August

Summary:According to Net Applications, Windows 7 will finally overtake ageing Windows XP in market share in August, more than three years after its initial release, and months before Windows 8 is out the door.

Windows XP, the operating system that just won't die, is about to be overtaken by Windows 7 in worldwide operating system share trend, according to one research firm.

Despite other research firms suggesting that paths have already crossed, Net Applications is yet to call time on Windows XP holding the top spot.

Windows XP, currently weighing in at 42.8 percent, has lost month-on-month around 1 percentage points of its market share. Meanwhile, Windows 7 stands at 42.2 percent, gaining 1 percentage point each month.

Aside, Windows Vista remains mostly flat but continues to lose a fraction of its share, while Apple sees marginal growth in its OS X line-up. Linux, well, doesn't really exist, unless you call it an "other."

It's worth noting that StatCounter, a rival research firm, said Windows 7 took over Windows XP in mid-September 2011, though two firms rely on different methods of totalling up their figures. How the two firms calculate their figures is crucial, however, and any figures based on estimates can be disputed.

In doing so, Microsoft will have succeeded in pushing aside its decade old software. (For years, I've considered Windows 7 to be Microsoft's Terminator, released to kill its predecessor. I digress.)

It's somewhat poetic that Windows XP should die the same month that Windows 8 is released to manufacturing . But with the warning that Windows 8 will "be another Vista," it could be that Windows 7 is just as pesky half a decade down the line, long after the buffet cart empties and the tears dry up at Windows XP's memorial service.

How this fares for the enterprise is interesting. Windows 7 is a solid piece of kit. It's reliable, relatively secure, and compatible with the apps you know and love. It has to be to survive in the face of Microsoft's catastrophic foul-up with Vista. 

But rinse and repeat years down the line as Microsoft readies Windows 9 or Windows 10 -- or if we go by perhaps the development cycle will speed up to keep in line with Apple's annual rollout -- that businesses and the enterprise will cling on to Windows 7 like it did with XP. 

At least we have until 2020 before we have to say goodbye for good to Windows 7. That gives us plenty of time to worry about that nearer the time.

Until we hear from Microsoft on official figures -- which could be in the coming months, ahead of the Windows 8 launch in October -- we'll just have to twiddle our thumbs, wait, and break out the party poppers around this time next month. 

Image source: Net Applications.

Topics: Windows, Operating Systems

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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