Some security experts have speculated that cyber criminals will unleash attacks in the months after April 2014, having saved up their "zero-day" vulnerabilities and associated exploits until the deadline has passed.
Using the trends in Net Applications' data, Computerworld now predicts that XP will power between 18% and 26% of the world's personal computers at the end of April 2014. The lower number assumes that the accelerated decline of the last few months continues, while the higher user share assumes XP's drop-off resembles the more stately 12-month slide.
Microsoft has aggressive plans for deprecating XP, although it has not shared any new specifics. "We have plans to get [XP's share] to 13% by April when the end-of-life of XP happens," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's COO, during a half-day presentation last month in front of Wall Street analysts. "This has been a major and multi-year initiative for us, and one that we've worked very hard on to make sure we can execute towards."
While Windows powered nine out of 10 personal computers in September, Apple's OS X — the foundation of its desktop and notebook Macs — ended the month with a record 7.5% user share. Linux, which has never made good on its loyalists' hopes that it would dominate desktop PCs, finished September up slightly, to 1.6%.
Net Applications measures operating system user share by tracking unique visitors to approximately 40,000 sites it monitors for clients.
Windows 8's user share of 9.8% widened the gap between itself and Vista. But the newest OS's uptake remained about half that of the more successful Windows 7 at the same point in its post-release cycle. (Data: Net Applications.)
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