back to article Microsoft shops ditch XP for New Year as Windows market share expands

Less than one-third of PCs are now running Windows XP, with many a Microsoft shop giving up on the popular 12-year-old operating system in time for New Year. Windows XP’s market share fell to 28.98 per cent in the month of December, from November’s 31.22 per cent, according to the latest stats from NetApplications. It wasn’t …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    Bit of rounding going on?

    65+31+5 = 101.

    'down from last year in the face of growing competition.' - presumably from Microsoft, her figures leave little room for anyone else!

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Bit of rounding going on?

      Be interesting to see the actual numbers to get a better feel for the real rate of decline in the XP user base.

      I suspect that much of the decline is due to new systems not being on XP, but users retaining working XP systems.

      My house was a few years back 100% XP with three computers, now we have 8 (!) but still have 3 fully operational XP machines..

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Bit of rounding going on?

        It would be interesting to know exactly how many of the 8.1 installations are pre downgraded to win7.

        Just saying because none of my suppliers are actually bothering to offer me win8 boxes. Even the Misco catalogue displaying a hundred odd machines only has win8 on like 5 of them with the rest being win7.

      2. itzman

        Re: Bit of rounding going on?

        Is any XP machine 'fully operational'?

  2. Robert E A Harvey

    The clue is in the name 'NetApplications'?

    Presumably these stats have nothing to do with what people do at work, only what they do on the innertubes?

  3. mark 63 Silver badge


    47%? I'd be interested to see how the rest is divided up

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: 47%

      Seems it's a bit of a mistake there. That's actually the Windows 7 market share.

  4. big_D Silver badge

    Anything to do with...

    people using up their annual leave and not being at work, but being at home and using something a little more "modern"?

    1. James O'Brien
      Thumb Up

      using something a little more "modern"

      I see what you did there :P

  5. JDX Gold badge

    XP -> 8

    Golly, that's a big jump.

  6. Amorous Cowherder

    I moved from a Mac to Windows 8.1 and I have to admit, I really like it! I feel a bit like I should be on one of those God-awful daytime Ricki Lake type things, the sort where they wheel on some bloke who like his wife to dress him in nappies or some such odd behaviour!

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Cowherder...I have a little Acer tablet I picked up a few weeks ago with Windows 8.1 on it.

      Well it shipped with 8.0 but after going through the ridiculous process of installing half a gig of updates, it eventually allowed me to upgrade to 8.1 and as mentioned in a Reg article a while ago, gave me an additional 5GB of free space on the flash post-upgrade.

      Anyway, I digress, slightly.

      I chose this particular tablet because of two reasons: first was price. It was sub <£230 quid inc VAT at the time.

      But the other was, being an Atom based tablet and therefore running 'proper' Windows and not that abortion that is R/T it was compatible with the apps I need but in this case particularly, the software I need for my [scuba] dive computer.

      That means now, I can sling a small device that has run for around 7hours of constant light use, in my bag when I go diving and get instant feedback from the computer.

      And when I go to Egypt in a couple of months, I'm not taking a much pricier and heavier laptop.

      I've always thought Win 8.x would be a better touch-experience than a desktop experience and I was right - I actually like using the thing.

      It does what I would like it to do and does it well, unlike the iPad I gave the wife after a few hours and the kids' Galaxy Tabs. (Before the rabid downvoters...note I said it does what _I_ want...YMMV)

      Still wouldn't fancy 8.1 on a traditional desktop/laptop device yet though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You have described the "use case" for a Windows 8.1 interface. Something for which it was apparently designed and many people actually like it for this purpose.

        As a desktop interface, it sucks donkey balls.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @AC 14:35 - "As a desktop interface, it sucks donkey balls."

          Apparently you haven't met our little friend - "Classic Shell".

          It makes life on Win 8/8.1 so much sweeter...

          1. Anonymous Coward

            "Apparently you haven't met our little friend - "Classic Shell".

            It makes life on Win 8/8.1 so much sweeter..."

            It does indeed, but when I'm rolling out 200+ boxes via Altiris I'm not going to add Classic Shell to a Corporate build of a version of Windows that should already have a Start Menu - one more thing to test and support. As a result, I suspect Windows 8.x and its successors will fit a very small niche in our company, and 99% of PCs will stay on Windows 7 for the foreseeable. Pity - I have a Surface RT tablet and like it well enough in a consumer context. Not a difficult thing for MS to fix, they need to just quietly do it in 8.2/whatever and fix their sales dive.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Classic Shell

              @Andrew Fernie - "It does indeed, but when I'm rolling out 200+ boxes via Altiris I'm not going to add Classic Shell to a Corporate build of a version of Windows that should already have a Start Menu - one more thing to test and support."

              At least with Classic Shell you've got an open-source community project with constant vulnerability testing and an open bug-fixing process. Windows itself, not so much.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Classic Shell

                "At least with Classic Shell you've got an open-source community project with constant vulnerability testing and an open bug-fixing process. Windows itself, not so much."

                Don't take this the wrong way Andy - I like classic shell, but to quote the developers "Starting with version 3.9.0, Classic Shell is no longer open-source", and while the developers are clearly committed to bug resolution in a timely manner, 'constant vulnerability testing' is quite a claim - are you able to cite a source for their process for such testing? At home or in a 4-5 person office it's well worth using, but I wouldn't add it to a image for a corporate environment, and I'd be prepared to bet the vast majority of enterprises larger than ours won't either. when they can just deploy Windows 7.

                1. Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Classic Shell

                  @Andrew - "Starting with version 3.9.0, Classic Shell is no longer open-source"

                  Well - that's a damm shame! I hadn't seen that. I hope someone forks it off the 3.8.x version then - it should remain a community project.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "when I'm rolling out 200+ boxes via Altiris"

              Yes - you clearly have much bigger problems than your start menu. Get yourself an upgrade to SCCM...

      2. Tom 13

        @ TonyJ

        You're right, you're going to collect a lot of downvotes.

        Given that you have self-identified that this is a niche use and added the caveats about traditional desktop/laptop devices, I figured you've earned an upvote from someone who despises the direction MS is trying to force on the market.

  7. vagabondo

    Where do these numbers come from?

    It is hard to evaluate an article like this without some idea of its basis. Research or what?

  8. Spoonsinger


    that seems to be bollox.

    a) Most business installs I've come across recently are still XP, (with a smattering of Vista and 7). No 8/8.1

    b) Comparing a desktop business install with Android/iOs is just missing the point entirely.

    c) I look forward to May's XP Zero day - might pay off a chunk of the mortgage. (OK it might be April - but that would just be too obvious).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IME...

      a) Most business installs I've come across recently are still XP, (with a smattering of Vista and 7). No 8/8.1

      Well, we have 3500 NOT on XP (about 1 or 2 that still are), and we've replaced about 25,000 this year for multiple other companies.

      So on your calling bollocks, how big are your installs?

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: IME...

        Ummm, well in the old day's IME meant "In My Experience", which granted might not be too extensive when compared to your sample , but I suspect extensive enough to make a judgement call on some preoffered statistics provided in this article. I'm totally happy that 'your' company has managed to 'upgrade' a number of installs to a new, (and probably more secure), version of an operating system. However IME, (see above), it hasn't really passed the random contractors test. (i.e. what we have to play/support/code for when we get a gig). It's still mostly XP with a smattering of Vista & 7. No 8/8.1. Not that I care because if you code properly for XP, it will most likely run on anything newer. It's one of those things which makes sticking with a Windows API quite agreeable over the long term. (Lets face it Delphi 2 32bit still works on it and that was a dev environment from the last century - actually I suspect Delphi 1 will still work with a bit of fiddling, but haven't played with that since 2K).

        1. Tom 13

          Re: IME...

          If you're still programming in Delphi 2.0, that's the filter that obscures your world view. I'm not a programmer, just the guy who puts together their systems. Last time I installed Delphi 2.0 on a system was over 6 years ago. If you were programming in something else you'd see a lot more Win7. I doubt you'd see much 8/8.1 on the corporate side. I think that's mostly been consumers who can't figure out how to upgrade from 8/8.1 to 7 (or Linux).

          1. Spoonsinger

            Re: "If you're still programming in Delphi 2.0, etc"

            Sorry that was just an example of the longevity of a compatible API over a period. Nope I do .Net/embedded/or what ever someone wants. Tart A/P Me, which does mean I get to see stuff in lots of different environments - but not finance or banking :-)

    2. mmeier

      Re: IME...

      Your experience may be limited / in a specialist sector.

      Our customers spanning three types of business have all switched to Win7 (with a few specialist Win8 units, few as in 100-500 among a few thousand PC) for the clients. Same for at least one of the "big IT companies" around here.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many reasons

    What we really want to know is how many less XP installs there are than the previous month, rather than the market share which could be influenced by a number of factors. Market share is useful for developers and investors but it only tells a part of the story.

    Personally I would like to know how many people have moved from PC's and Laptops to doing everything on their tablet, be it Apple, Android or Windows based.

    Having had a dual boot (quad boot to be exact) laptop for years, in the last six months I have stayed in Linux Mint nearly all the time with only the occasional boot in to Windows. People change, be it by natural course, choice or gullible to marketing.

    1. Captain Queeg

      Re: Many reasons

      ... fewer XP installs....


  10. Bill Neal

    A good number of Windows surface tablets sold in Q3 2013 were quickly returned when people realized they had to get all applications from Microsoft. Where is that figure? Friends in retail tell me they are the most returned tablet. Too bad we don't get accurate stats on these things.

    1. mmeier

      If one reads the articles comment about Surface it is quite clear that the reference is to Surface/Pro (since Lenovo etc. do not offer RT based units) and that is basically an Ultrabook+Wacom. So no need to get all software from MS.

  11. Chad H.

    Given that XP saw a 3% market share drop, not even a tenth of its installed base, shouldnt the headline read MS Shops dont ditch XP for new years?

    1. Peter2 Silver badge


      It could also have read "struggling businesses that can barely afford to keep the lights on avoid paying out many thousands to buy new Win7/8 boxes for absolutely no business benefit". (because the XP boxes were all bought between 2000-2007, happy days with lots of cash!)

      For some, probably quite a lot of smaller SME's, upgrading from XP to Win7 is not priority 1. Priority 1 is keeping the electricity on, and the Business Continuity Plan may include gems like back of the envelope plans to relocate the core network elseware (no, not offsite DR centres, lost the budget for such luxuries years ago, somewhere else in the building on a different meter) in case an old rack full of very unvirtualised servers drawing considerably more power than an fanheater 24x7 finally gets the plug pulled for late payment of the electricity bill. (Economy measure, no aircon; we leave all the doors open. The servers generate enough heat to act as central heating...)

      Payment is always late to everybody, because payment is late to us from everybody. We aren't bust, cash forecasts show we will run out from red ink to black in about 18 months. Trying to hold onto all of the staff in the early years of the recession was retrospectively a mistake. When headcount was ruthlessly trimmed down to fit the available work things started to get a bit better, and ultimately we got back to making money.

      In the meantime until we have paid all of the debt off, we wonder how we can trim costs down yet further while anxiously checking the RAID arrays on the 8 year old servers to see if another drive is throwing up SMART warnings. If you spread the cost of new servers over 5 years it'd pay to replace the ageing 2003R2 servers given the amount of new parts we buy, but it's a lump sum and we absolutely cannot afford a lump sum and we can sort of afford smaller sums, even if it does cause accounts to lament the "we've hit the black" date slowly moving fractionally backwards.

      It doesn't matter though, we'll make it. But when 18 months hits, we are *NOT!!!* doing a mass migration off of XP.

      We are doing a mass replacement of the core network hardware. Those 2003R2 servers are toast and the sodding network switches are going to die a slow and horrible death for the number of glitches and hangs requiring a reboot we have had to live with. I look forward to replacing the Watchguard Firebox (x750e). It's the single most reliable piece of equipment we have despite the sheer level of abuse it has withstood both electronically and physically, holding the gate against untold horrors. The POS printers that have been slowly squealing out their death throes for the last couple of years are next in line and we might get around to doing the XP boxes by 2017 because if an endpoint snuffs it we can get a replacement in a few hours. If we lose something in the core network? Less said the better.

      I know that there are a LOT of SME's in either the same or a similar boat who are extremely Scrooge like. Nobody loves XP that much, there's just no sodding point replacing something that works when you have your back to the wall.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Peter2

        I agree with your general sentiment throughout... However I do have a few comments for you to consider:

        Leasing of hardware would break up that large single payment into possibly smaller monthly payments.

        Replacing your servers could save significant amounts of power; I am in the process of shutting down, consolidating or migrating numerous servers to a virtual environment; my power bill per server is around $800AUD per annum. Unfortunately, the business will see the savings, not my IT budget.

        As in most circumstances, it sounds like your budget constraints are causing you to make decisions to choose one technology over an other; I don't envy your position (having been in similar circumstances).

        "we wonder how we can trim costs down yet further" - the other option is how can you make the business more productive. If you can enable to business to acheive its objectives at a cheaper cost, then you have still helped. A simple example, a finance team I supported had single 19" monitors, I gave every staff member dual 22" monitors @ $250 each. The productivity gain was significant (over 10% recorded). At an average $100K per annum wage, for over 30 staff, I have just added $300K of value for $15K. This meant we didn't need to employ additional finance staff (which had been on the cards), which would have cost significantly in wages, floor space, insurances etc.

        "there's just no sodding point replacing something that works when you have your back to the wall" - i understand, hell I know of businesses still running Windows 98, but it doesn't mean I agree. Ultimately, old systems can start costing more to run, and there may be other benefits to replacing the systems; for instance: Improved Security, Faster boot times, updated application and browser support, reduced power consumption and improved group policy management options. There is also the intangible benefit of staff using a system they feel is new and that they have been given the right tools for the job... whether you like it or not, staff will grumble and become dissatisfied.

        All businesses i have supported in recent years have pushed out their PC's from a 3 year to a 4 year refresh cycle. This is mainly to reduce costs, but it is also because a Core2 will still run all the general business applications without issue. In all those organisations, there has been a push to migrate all machines to Windows 7.

        My current org is investigating opportinuties to leverage the Windows 8.1 environment as this will require a change in mindset and we will need to re-code some applications... who knows where this will go, but it is certainly being discussed.

        Anyway, I hope this has been some food for thought...

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: @ Peter2

          We can't reliably do monthly payments due to chaotic cashflow so leases are out.

          Project work is more or less the only thing we can do, as long as it requires zero spending. We have had major successes in quite a few areas such as eliminating people entering data into 3 different systems, reduced that to 1 along with the staff required. Also, due to most of the work having moved to the internet from the yellow pages IT is also marketing.

          Our replacement cycle is now "when it stops working", although the 98 and 2k boxes did get "lost" during an office move 2 years back.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I wonder which?


    Damn Lies


    Hmm, connected with Microsoft, so probably all three.

  13. Philippe

    Are those Surface sales real 8.1 sales?

    Threads explaining how to install Ubuntu or OsX are all over the web.

    Even the driver for the wifi card is easy to find.

    I don't deny the number of Surface being sold but I have a problem believing the OS market share.

    8 and 8.1 scares the hell out of IT department and above 60 users everywhere.

    There is no way this thing is hitting the numbers describe in the article.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Are those Surface sales real 8.1 sales?

      I don't think these numbers relate to sales. My understanding of how NetApplications data is based on what they can derive from the user agent strings with which browsers identify themselves and the platform/OS.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Are those Surface sales real 8.1 sales?

      Who buys a S/P2 when he can not use the rather costly Wacom digitizer? And the Wacom Penabled drivers for Linux are "Alpha" and for MacOS there are none. If I want a Haswell tablet there are cheaper options. So yes, most S/P2 are likely used under Win8.x

      Given that the units are out on Amazon MS and the MS webshop as well as the pricing - they are clearly aimed at the non corporate user as well. If you want to see pricing for a purely business tablet - look at Fujitsu, there 10ince ATOM starts at a price close to that of a 256GB S/P2. And with the "typical candidates" for "big corporates" (Dell, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Sony) offering their own units (with more options/better maintainability) I do not expect the S/P2 in our customers IT departments. Rather the Thinkpad Yoga or the Duo13. S/P2 in "commercial" use is for users like the real estate agent that I support on occasions or the insurance agent

  14. Greg J Preece

    One thing I found interesting, flick back and forth between months on the freely available reports between, is that Linux didn't register as its own notch on that pie chart until this past month. A quick click-through reveals that Linux use has grown a full half-percent of market share through 2013, and overall usage has nearly doubled since the beginning of 2012. It's still insignificant compared to the big players, but at this rate "honest Linux" (Linux that actually identifies as Linux) should break 2% desktop market share in 2014.

    1. Greg J Preece

      *flicking back and forth between months on the freely available reports

      I don't know if I was distracted or inebriated. I guess it was Friday afternoon...

    2. Eddy Ito

      It does beg the question

      ChromeOS has a user agent string that identifies the operating system as "CrOS" not "Linux" so does it get counted in as Linux since it's just a stripped down version or does it go into the "Other" bucket on the chart? If it's counted as Linux it might explain some of the growth but they do seem to break out known flavors in the list like Windows 2000 & 98 so why not CromeOS?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It does beg the question


        I instantly thought "Crap OS" - how appropriate...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good question.

      I use Linux on my laptop, yet to watch Netflix the browser I use for that has to identify as Firefox on Microsoft Windows.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    8.x in the Corporate environment will cause great angst amongst users and IT dept.

    Over the holiday I spent significant time rescuing a family member's dead Vista system by pulling the HDD and converting it to a VHD and setting up VirtualBox on their new Win8.1 desktop. 8.1 seemed stable enough, but there was a fundamental issue that confronted me - font rendering is horrific under Win 8.x. Identical hardware running Vista vs. 8.1 showed it purely is software, NOT a hardware issue. All of the latest video drivers were installed, so whilst it may be something not yet refined completely from a video driver perspective, there seems to be plenty of online complaints about display rendering under 8.x.

    I suspect there are some kinks in various hardware implementations - online forums are rife with some who say they have no issues and everything appears glorious, while others seeing what I did - vastly inferior rendering. Running VirtualBox Vista full screen everything appeared as expected. Win 8.1 native looked like garbage. If an IT department is considering deploying 8.x across their user base, expect LOTS of complaints.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 8.x in the Corporate environment will cause great angst amongst users and IT dept.

      We've piloted 8.x on a small scale. There are plenty of reasons why it's not ready for large scale use here, but I've never seen any issues with font rendering.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    I have to wonder

    I have to wonder where they are getting this information.

    I am now working for my third Fortune 50 company and I can tell you that we are NOT moving to 8 but we sure as hell are leaving XP as fast as we can.

    As I've said before, XP is obsolete and is being retired as fast as the big companies can get rid of it. I'm talking world famous name companies.

  17. veti Silver badge

    What's "market share"?

    Is it asking too much for an article to explain what its basic premise - actually means?

    Normally, "market share" means something like "relative numbers, by volume or value, of sales". But I find it hard to believe that XP still accounts for almost 30% of new Windows licenses. (If I'm wrong about that, please enlighten me.)

    So what does it mean? Prevalence of operating systems as measured by some website or online store? By survey of shops (and if so, where are these shops and how were they selected)? Normally I'd read the linked report to find out, but goshdarn it, there doesn't seem to be one.

    Exceptionally sloppy reporting. D.

  18. eianm777

    Win 8 popularity growing- NO WAY- not possible!

    I surely cant be the only person who is pulling his hair out over Win8?? It has to be the biggest blunder Microsoft has EVER made- it SUCKS! I am now seriously considering the time consuming option of going backwards - back to Win7. If you don't have a touch screen, Win 8 is so laborious- it is so frustrating to have to make so many steps to do so many things- ERGHHHHH!!!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win 8 popularity growing- NO WAY- not possible!

      "it is so frustrating to have to make so many steps to do so many things- ERGHHHHH!!!!!"

      Such as what? Most things are faster or the same time to get to on Windows 8.1 than 7.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It also has it :(

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