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The Stats & The XP Problem

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Earlier this week the inevitable happened: Windows 7's market share surpassed Vista. The achievement took only 10 months and is testament to the great job Microsoft did following up its troubled predecessor. Still the nagging question remains: has Microsoft now turned its Windows platform around or won a game from which everyone else has moved on?

Taking a look at Windows 7 stats, it is hard to see a problem. In July Netmarketshare reports Windows+Vista&sample=33 Windows 7 grew 0.76 per cent giving it 14.46 per cent of the market. By contrast Vista fell 0.34 per cent seeing it drop to 14.34 per cent overall. Given Windows 7 had under two per cent of the market in September and Vista close to twenty per cent momentum tells us Windows 7's new lead is only going to get bigger, quickly.
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By contrast all Apple's Mac OS X variants accounted for just 5.06 per cent of the market while flavours of Linux make up 0.93 per cent. Despite over 100m iPhone sales and the continued success of the iPad and iPod touch, iOS tallies just 0.7 per cent.

Of course there remains an elephant in the room, an aged elephant to be sure and one not entirely loved by its owner, but Windows XP continues to dominate the computing sector.

In celebratating its ninth birthday this month, XP held onto a whopping 61.87 per cent of marketshare during July 2010 meaning this golden oldie isn't going away any time soon. Yes it has dropped almost 10 per cent since September 2009, but that rate of decline suggests we could be onto Windows 9 before Microsoft can begin to think about cutting it loose. With Microsoft having extended the XP downgrade option no less than six times and recently vowed to continue downgrade sales until at least 2015 even it clearly - if reluctantly - accepts XP's timeless appeal.
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As Netmarketshare points out: "In July, Windows 7 surpassed Windows Vista in global usage share. However, Windows XP is still the leading operating system by far, with double the share of Vista and 7 combined."

Is Resistance Futile? This question is not only about Windows XP, but the entire Windows platform. After all, while the inability to shift users more quickly from XP may frustrate Microsoft, as of July 2010 Windows as whole has enlarged to a 91.32 per cent stranglehold on the computing market. In response Mac sales may have gone up, but proportionately they have actually gone down due to the scale of Windows-based PC sales. Meanwhile Linux has suffered a blow with its biggest backer Dell set to give up on the platform.

In short the simple answer would therefore seem to be yes, resistance is futile - but only in the market's current state and that state is set for major change.

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