Windows XP may be the last Microsoft operating system to hold a majority share, according to data from Web metrics company Net Applications.
At its peak, Windows XP powered more than eight out of every 10 computers worldwide. In November 2007, the earliest month for which Computerworld has Net Applications' data, XP accounted for 83.6% of all operating systems.
Although Windows XP's share has gradually declined since then, it still enjoys a slight majority: Last month, XP owned a 52.4% share.
The long lag time between Windows XP's release in 2001 and Vista's debut in late 2006 -- combined with Vista's stumble in the marketplace -- are the factors usually cited to explain XP's large-scale and long-term dominance.
Both conditions could be reproduced -- Microsoft might face future failures like Vista -- but the one least likely to happen again is the five-year gap between upgrades.
That's because Microsoft has taken to a three-year development cycle. Even though the company has been mum about a ship date for Windows 8, the operating system it showed off last week, most experts have pegged its release to the fall of 2012, or three years after Windows 7's launch.
With a regular cadence between upgrades, it's unlikely that any one edition of Windows will be able to duplicate XP's supremacy.
Forecasts based on Net Applications' numbers bear that out.
Using Windows 7's average increase over the last three months as a guide, Computerworld projects that the OS will top out with a 41% share in the third quarter of 2012.
After that, Windows 7's usage share will begin to decline as customers upgrade to Windows 8 or start buying new PCs with the OS pre-installed. That's what happened to Vista. The problem-plagued OS peaked at 19% in October 2009, the same month that Windows 7 launched. Since then, it has lost nearly half its share; in May Vista accounted for 10% of all operating systems.
By the third quarter of 2012, XP's share will have dropped to 38%, marking the first time the creaky OS will be behind Windows 7 in Net Applications' rankings. Meanwhile, Vista will have nearly vanished, with a share of just 4%.
In this scenario, Microsoft continually repeats the Windows 7 performance, where a new edition is rapidly adopted, comes near but doesn't cross the 50 percent bar, and then is supplanted by a newer version.
Financial firms can stay relevant by focusing on digitization, security and data quality
How can financial institutions be faster, smarter and more responsive? Find out how they can avoid the risk of becoming irrelevant with insights into digitization strategies, beefing up on data security and ensuring data quality.
Transforming Data protection with Integrations for Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365
Veeam for the Microsoft Cloud provides a consolidated solution for virtual, physical and cloud-based workloads with integrations for Microsoft Azure and Office 365.
The Future of Retail in a Digital World
Retailers may face cyber attacks like any other industry, but steps can be taken to guard against cyber crime.
Nina Simosko, CEO of NTT Innovation Institute Inc., On The Driving Force Behind Technology Innovation
Learn about NTT i³'s unique approach to technology innovation and their latest projects.
VMware Virtual SAN risk avoidance and Availability
Veeam Backup & Replication provides full support for VMware vSAN, enabling faster backups through smart logic that reduces network traffic and enables backup and restore for the storage policy associated with the VM.