For the second month in a row, Windows XP shows stronger growth than Windows 8.x

It's a new month and so once again NetMarketShare reports desktop share for all of the major operating systems. What's interesting this month is all versions of Windows showed fairly minor changes. Whether dropping or gaining, the differences in share were minimal.

However, one inescapable truth is clear from the figures. While Windows 8.x might finally have shifted 200 million licenses, use of the OS has pretty much plateaued. In February, Windows 8's share declined from 6.62 percent to 6.38 percent, a drop of -0.24. Windows 8.1 increased shared from 3.94 percent to 4.30 percent, rising by 0.36. Combined, Windows 8.1 grew by just 0.12 percent.

XP on the other hand packed on 0.23 percent, going from 29.30 percent in January to 29.53 percent in February. XP's share also grew December-January. I described that growth then as a statical anomaly (minor variations are always going to happen when recording monthly market share) but with end of life looming it could be partly down to users taking old XP PCs online for the first time in a while to research upgrade options, or selling old systems off cheaply or passing them on to younger family members. Tech journalists writing practical columns about XP's end of life will also have some slight impact (I used XP for the first time in years last month for this very reason).

Windows 7 dropped market share, but again its decline was minimal. It went from 47.46 percent in January to 47.31 percent in February, a decline of -0.15 percent.

While the level of change doesn't tell much of a story, the lack of difference between the rise and decline of the three operating systems speaks volumes. Windows 8.x is very new, and yet there's simply no real growth. Will Windows 8.1 Update 1 make a difference when it's released (likely next month)? Combined with end of support for Windows XP you would expect to see some sort of spike, but as Windows 8.1's launch didn't do much for the tiled OS's adoption, I wouldn't bet on it.

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