Windows 7 rules the desktop

XP is slowly dying, Windows 8 is slowly gaining, but the almost five-year-old Windows 7 was the real desktop operating system winner in May as it went over the 50 percent mark for the first time.

Android may be gaining on Windows when it comes to overall end-user devices , but when it comes to the desktop, Windows still rules. The one surprise is that Net Application's latest desktop operating system numbers show that Windows 7 and Windows 8.x are neck and neck in their gains over recent months.

OS Market-Share May 2014
For the first time, Windows 7 has gone over 50 percent of all desktop users.

The gold medal must go to Windows 7 as, for the first time since its introduction in the summer of 2009, it now has not just a plurality but a majority of users on the desktop with just over 50 percent of users. These gains have come at the expense of the now no longer broadly supported Windows XP .

Users may have said they were going to stick through thick and thin with XP , but the reality is they're slowly leaving it behind.

In the seven weeks since XP support ended, XP usage has fallen from 27.69 percent in March to 25.27 percent in May for a total drop of 2.42 percent. At the same time, Windows 7 use jumped from 48.77 percent to 50.06, a gain of 1.29 percent. During the same period, Windows 8.x bounced up from 11.30 percent to 12.62 percent for an overall increase of 1.32 percent.

What's noteworthy about this is that in the consumer space, where Windows 8.x is almost always the default choice in Windows PCs, its gains are in a dead-heat with Windows 7's growth rate. This indicates that business users are still choosing Windows 7 over Windows 8. Overall, of course, Windows 8 still lags far behind Windows 7 in general user acceptance.

If an end-user buys a Windows 8 PC, they can only "downgrade" to Windows 7 if they buy a new PC with Windows 8.x Pro pre-installed. While any PC with Windows 8.x has Windows Pro embedded within it , you must buy one with Pro to move it back to Windows 7. Windows 8.x Pro, which lists for $200, comes with Windows domain join, Group Policy support, and the ability to act as a Remote Desktop server. In short, it's a version that only a business would buy.

A closer look also reveals that Windows 8.1 has finally overtaken Windows 8 in popularity. In May, Windows 8.1 had 6.35 percent of users, while Windows 8 had 6.29 percent.

After that, Mac OS X 10.9, Maverick, comes in with 4.15 percent of users. It's followed by the Linux mix of desktop operating systems with 1.62 percent.

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