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Jul 06 2014

And the Runner-Up Is… Windows XP

Three months after its official death knell, Windows XP still powers 25.3% of all Internet-connected PCs. That's the result of the June 2014 statistics from Net Applications, the more conservative of the two most-quoted go-to services for inquiries of this kind.

With such a massive market share, WinXP only had to bow to Windows 7, which runs on twice as many machines (50.5%) and may now be officially dubbed the one and only "XP successor." Compared to the results from half a year ago, the legacy OS lost 3.6% while its grandson gained 3%. However, the old charger keeps dealing out mean blows to its other so-called heirs apparent, beating Vista and Windows 8/8.1 – whose installed base reaches 15.5% combined – by an unexpectedly wide margin. The adoption rate of the recent touch-enabled editions in particular is disappointing to say the least: over the past 22 months, they found their way onto 12.54% of all PCs, which means they attracted less than half of the XP user base. The uphill battle must be even more frustrating today than it was at the beginning of the year, as even the $100 discounts offered to U.S. customers since March obviously haven't done much to improve the sluggish sales.

With nearly 13 years under WinXP's belt, Microsoft can now easily claim to hold the unofficial record of having delivered the "longest-standing single-release desktop operating system of all time." Mac fans may disagree here and point towards the classic Mac OS period that lasted from 1984 to 2000; still Mac OS saw nine different releases during that time – and that's only counting the major upgrades. WinXP on the other hand remained largely unchanged except for three service packs and might just as well be called the "true classic Windows edition." Redmond itself, however, would most likely disapprove of that title because of the innumerable security flaws and exploits associated with the OS and its built-in applications – the latest of which occurred in May, one month after XP support had been discontinued, and prompted an unplanned emergency fix. Diehard fans who still run WinXP at home and/or at work may either want to prepare for more unexpected attacks of a similar kind during the next months or at least try and upgrade to Windows 7. Those who are ready for a major departure from the old look and feel should probably wait out Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, which is due to start next Sunday and will last until July 17. Rumor has it that the company might announce the release date for Windows 8.1 Update 2 and could lay down the roadmap for further releases up until Windows 9, which some observers expect to appear next spring.


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