Australians scrap Microsoft XP usage faster than US, UK users

Windows XP may still be the second most popular OS worldwide, but Australians have already moved on from it a lot faster than US and UK computer users.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Australians are leading the way in moving away from using Microsoft's 12-year-old operating system, Windows XP, ahead of UK and US users, according to web analytics company StatCounter.

The company's research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, found in January 2014 that despite XP being the world's second most popular operating system in terms of internet usage, only 7.8 percent of Australians still use it compared to 12.4 percent of US and 9.5 percent of UK users.

"Australian computer users are to be complimented for moving faster than the rest of the world in waving goodbye to XP," said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter CEO.

According to StatCounter's statistics, there has been a steep drop in XP usage in Australia since the days when it dominated the market. For example, back in July 2008, 71.2 percent of Australians were using XP.

Windows Vista has also experienced similar patters to XP; it peaked back in October 2009 at 31.8 percent, but has since seen a steady slowdown and is now only being used by 4.4 percent of Australians.

Nowadays, a majority (51.9 percent) of Australians prefer Windows 7, where usage peaked in October 2012 at 58.9 percent. Windows 8 is also starting to gain some relevance in the market, and is being used by 8.7 percent of Australians as of February 2014, creating another window of opportunity for Microsoft to stay in the game.

Mac OS X has been increasing in popularity, too. It is now the second most preferred OS in the country, and is being used by 20.5 percent of Australians, with indications that it will continue to grow.

The StatCounter report also highlights continued use of XP as a global risk to businesses and other users, especially with Microsoft long advising that it will end support for the system on April 8, 2014. Updates for Microsoft Security Essentials, however, will be available until July 2015.

In April last year, Microsoft said: "This means that XP customers and partners will no longer receive security updates or be able to take advantage of tech support from Microsoft."

Cullen said the discontinuation of support could leave business data and systems at risk of exposure to security and virus issues.

StatCounter shows that Windows XP penetration in China still sits above 50 percent, off a peak in April 2009, when the operating system had 93.76 percent of the market.

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