updated 10:20 am EDT, Mon September 3, 2012
Windows 7 finally overtakes Windows XP in usage
Two milestones can be found in the latest monthly data from Net Applications, heralding good news for both Apple and Microsoft. The combined active base of OS X use surpassed that of Windows Vista for the first time, and Windows 7 became the first Windows version to top the marketshare of the perennial Windows XP, nearly three years after its release and just before it is due to be replaced with Windows 8.
The data from Net Applications confirms our report that the six-week-old OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is seeing rapid adoption, up to 1.34 percent of all web usage based on Net Applications' stats. OS X overall (counting 10.4 Tiger on up) has a collective share of 6.15 percent, indicating that Mountain Lion is approaching 20 percent user base adoption. OS X Lion makes up the largest individual version share at 2.29 percent, Snow Leopard has 2.23 percent and Leopard (10.5) has 0.65 percent. Tiger, launched in 2005, maintained a showing of 0.15 percent.
The combined share of OS X was enough to push it ahead of Windows Vista, the next-most recent version of Windows, which has fallen to 6.15 percent. While never very well-regarded, Windows Vista was the de facto upgrade and default OS for approximately three years, from late 2006 until late 2009. It eventually was shipped or deployed on some 400 million PCs worldwide, but never managed to dislodge Windows XP from the top slot. Windows XP had been generally praised and was available as the default OS for a much longer period (over five years), creating a large and fairly loyal audience that was resistant to change, particularly given that Vista was encumbered with numerous bugs, changes that downgraded the user experience and other problems.
In this month's statistics, Windows 7 -- intended to combine the advancements in Vista with a more logical update from Windows XP -- has surpassed XP for the first time by the slimmest of percentages, 38.54 percent versus 38.46 percent. Windows 8 is already in testing by 0.21 percent of PC users, suggesting that Microsoft may be able to build on the more-positive momentum of Windows 7 with its next release if the final version of Windows 8 proves stable and popular.
The four versions of Windows combined still held a dominant share of net-using computers at 83.36 percent overall, with Apple's two operating systems -- OS X and iOS -- taking the lion's share of the difference, at a combined 12.3 percent, leaving just 4.33 percent to fall to all other mobile and desktop OSes.
Among mobile operating systems, Apple far and away dominated the statistics with 5.95 percent of worldwide web share. Android's combined share added up to 1.71 percent (with v2.3 still having the largest portion at 1.02 percent, the latest 4.x versions at 0.48 percent and the older Android 2.2 at 0.21 percent), while BlackBerry was listed at 0.18 percent. Amazon's Kindle Fire took 0.04 percent, the smallest share broken out by name by Net Applications.