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Two Months After GA Release, Windows 8.1 Almost Catches Vista

Here’s an interesting graph from the Market Share Reports for “Desktop Operating System Market Share” at netmarketshare.com. Today, January 2, it shows The Windows 8.1 number at 3.6%, with the Windows Vista number at 3.61%. I’m pretty sure that means by next month, if not sooner, Windows 8.1 will pull ahead of Vista for once and for all, and won’t look back at such numbers for some time to come.

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The numbers for desktop OS share on the Internet show Windows Vista and 8.1 neck-and-neck for the moment.

But Vista’s share never climbed much above 10% at any time in its lifecycle, and has steadily declined in recent years. Although 8.1 has yet to make significant inroads into the business side of the market, it’s picking up momentum on the consumer side. I have to believe that it will surpass Windows 8 some time in the next calendar quarter or two, and cross the ten percent mark that represents something of perihelion for Vista’s approach to the center of our desktop “solar system” before too much longer after that.

What’s really interesting is to observe and learn how Microsoft’s new rapid cadence will play out in terms of desktop share as NetMarketShare measures it. I expect we’ll see Windows itself becoming something of a “long tail” distribution, with popular versions trailing somewhat behind the leading edge (as leading versions Windows 7 and XP now occupy slots 2 and 3 releases behind the leading-edge 8.1 version). It should also be interesting to observe how long XP maintains the number two slot after April 2014 when long-term support for the OS is discontinued at Microsoft.

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