Windows 8's market share declines, but factor in Windows 8.1 and it's up -- but only just

NetMarketShare's monthly operating system statistics always make for interesting reading and analysis. For example, a month ago they showed Windows 7's growth was outpacing that of Windows 8. That was, naturally, just a blip, but in October -- the month that Windows 8.1 launched -- Windows 7 managed to make further market share gains.

There are other interesting things about last month's share statistics. Windows 8.1 -- which NetMarketShare has included since the Preview version launched -- is up, as you'd expect, while Windows 8 drops. Combined, the two operating systems see an overall rise, but the growth is slight.

The newly released OS nearly doubled its market share in the month, rising from 0.87 percent to 1.72 -- a fairly moderate increase considering it's a free upgrade from Windows 8, and a much better operating system. Windows 8.1's adoption is outpacing that of Windows 8 at launch, but as a free upgrade it should. The operating system's share will increase as time goes on, and people get around to upgrading. I'd expect it to jump to over 3 percent next month.

Windows 8's share declined, dropping from 8.02 percent in September (the highest it will ever be now) to 7.53 percent in October. That fall isn't surprising as users migrating to Windows 8.1 are bound to affect the numbers.

Windows 8 lost 0.49 percent, and Windows 8.1 grew by 0.85 percent, so it's fair to say most of that decline is down to users upgrading.

Those numbers also show that while Windows 8.1 upgrades are slow, it's selling reasonably well as half the share increase comes from new sales.

Combined, the two operating systems grew by 0.36 percent to 9.25 percent. It's worth pointing out that the numbers from NetMarketShare are for desktop-based computers and don't take into account Windows 8/8.1's presence on tablets.

Windows 7's share was up, but only just, rising a mere 0.03 percent from 46.39 percent in September to 46.42 percent last month. But it's still growth. Windows XP declined from 31.42 percent to 31.24 percent, a drop of 0.18 percent.

Apple's OS X Mavericks (10.9) has 0.84 percent of the desktop market, which is pretty good considering it was only made available two weeks ago as a free upgrade.

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