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Windows 7 vis-a-vis Windows XP

On October 19, I wrote a post here entitled “Win 7, XP Reach Crossover Point.” In reading over Ed Bott’s recent blog on the same subject entitled “Windows 7 continues to roll as XP fades away” this morning, I was reminded of Mark Twain’s immortal epigram on the persuasive power of numbers:

“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Bott’s post essentially makes the point that the StatCounter numbers used in the report that drove my earlier blog post don’t necessarily reflect the actual truth on the ground. He likes the reports from a different Web analytics firm instead, namely those from Net Market Share. They show that the crossover point isn’t quite yet at hand, but that it should hit sometime early in 2012 instead. It’s an interesting counterpoint to my own blog post, and it shows how fragile the conclusions we might base on any particular set of statistics can be.

In the end, the actual date doesn’t really matter. XP really is starting to shuffle off the scene, and Windows 7 remains in ascendancy, probably to be eclipsed only by Windows 8–assuming the marketplace takes it up with any enthusiasm–in another 2 to 3 years. But as with all things speculative or that forecast an uncertain future, only time will tell!

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