by Jacqueline Emigh
While Windows 7 users finally exceed those of Windows Vista, long-time Microsoft operating system (OS) Windows XP still gets more than double the combined use of its two intended Windows successors, according to Net Applications.
Windows 7 market share nudged upward to 14.46 percent in July of 2010. In contrast, Vista's share slipped to 14.34 percent, in Net Applications' latest statistics. Only ten months before, back in September of 2009, Windows 7 held merely a 1.52 percent share, as opposed to 18.62 percent for Vista.
Microsoft's nine-year-old Windows XP, on the other hand, held down the OS fort in July with a commanding market share of 61.87 percent. Although XP's share has been dropping each month since the release of Win 7, the decline has been flattening out recently, with the fall in XP's share totaling only 0.7 percent in the two months between May and July.
MacOS market share down slightly
Meanwhile, despite recent growth in Mac sales, market share for the Mac OS slid a tad from 5.11 percent in June to 5.06 percent in July, suggesting that sales of Windows-enabled PCs are also faring well.
Net Applications calculates market share based on aggregated from data from about 160 million visits each month to the 40,000 Web sites the company monitors.
Microsoft tries to spur Windows 7 by extending downgrade rights until 2020
Microsoft has pointed to a wide range of advantages in trying to convince users to move to Windows 7, including better security than Windows XP, a smaller footprint than Vista, and a slick new user interface (UI).
Yet some users have found it difficult to upgrade to Win 7, particularly from XP, and many simply don't want to pay the costs of migrating to a new OS and for new applications and peripheral devices geared to Windows 7 compatibility.
To help overcome resistance, also in July, Microsoft made known a decision to quash its
previous plan of allowing Windows XP downgrade rights only for 18 months or until the availability of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), whichever came sooner.
Now, the OEM versions of Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Professional will continue to include downgrade rights to similar version of Vista and XP Professional through the life cycle of Windows 7 - or more specifically, until 2020, said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's chief blogger, in announcing the availability of the SP1 public data on July 12.
Through these downgrade rights, users who buy new PCs with Win 7 licenses continue to have Microsoft's permission to install and activate copies of XP.
Linux, Apple's iOS, and Java ME also used for Web site browsing
Also according to the Net Applications stats, Linux dropped in July to a 0.93 percent share.
Apple's iPhone OS - recently renamed iOS - stepped upward to 0.70 percent. The Java ME OS turned in a slightly higher share of 0.76 percent.
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