On Windows 7's one-year anniversary, Windows XP still rules

On the first-year anniversary of the shipping of Windows 7, Microsoft has been justifiably touting the operating system's big success. But the truth is, its use still pales in comparison to Windows XP, the Operating System that Refuses to Die.

In his blog, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc lays out the success of Windows 7 by touting some very substantial numbers. Here's what he has to say:

We are announcing that more than 240 million licenses of Windows 7 have been sold. Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system in history. As of September, Windows 7 was running on 93% of new consumer PCs and has over 17% global OS market share (according to Net Applications as of October 1st).

Looked at any way, that's a success.

However, the inconvenient truth is that Windows XP, released nine years ago, still rules the desktop. As Greg Keizer points out in Computerworld:

According to the latest statistics from Web measurement firm Net Applications, Windows 7 owned a 17.1% global usage share in September compared to Windows XP's 60%.

Every month, Windows XP use gradually drops as Windows 7 use picks up. But it will be years before Windows 7 catches up, Keizer notes:

If the pace of the last three months' of Windows XP's losses and Windows 7's gains continue, Windows 7 won't pass XP in usage share until the third quarter of 2012, two years from now.

Of course, by that time Windows 8 may already be released.

With Windows XP, Microsoft has been a victim of its own success. It was a solid, stable operating system when it was released, and remains a solid, stable operating system today. Nine years after its release, it's not dated. I can't remember any other operating system with such a long, useful life. I've still got it installed on one of my PCs in a dual-boot setup with Linux, and it keeps on chugging along.

So Microsoft is right in blowing its horn about Windows 7's success. But the real operating system champion remains Windows XP.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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