September 3, 2012

Windows 7 Emerges As Most Prevalent Operating System

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Microsoft Windows is generally recognized as the leader in operating systems, however just ahead of the release of Windows 8, the current OS Windows 7 just surpassed Windows XP as the most popular operating system, according to data released by Net Applications.

Windows 7 has a very slight lead over XP. At the close of August, Windows 7 comprised 42.76% of the market. In the same data grouping, Windows XP comprises 42.52% of the market. Windows Vista follows at 6.15%. After the Microsoft contingent, Apple follows with Mac OSX 10.7 (2.45%); OSX 10.6 (2.38%); and OSX 10.8 (1.41%). Linux follows with 1.10% of the market.

Microsoft controls roughly 92% of the market, Mashable reports.

The climb to number one was not quick. Windows 7 was released in October 2009. What's surprising is that XP, which held the largest market share until just a few days ago, was not the predecessor to Windows 7. In between the two Windows operating system versions is Vista, an arguably unpopular release by Microsoft.

Windows XP might keep its grasp on the market in the office sector. Businesses and IT departments are often slow to upgrade, and XP was recognized as a strong operating system for businesses due to the security and controls that IT departments were able to implement. Windows XP has been out for over a decade and Microsoft recently announced it would discontinue support for the aged OS, however reports that companies still buy new machines installed with the Windows XP operating system.

Windows 7 is also a viable candidate for business machines, however the down economy might cause businesses to hold on to older machines - and operating systems - that much longer.

Windows 7 has limited time on the shelf. Microsoft has plans to launch Windows 8, which will go on sale October 26. Windows 8 will be friendly to consumers and businesses alike, and have mobile versions for phones and tablets.

Many businesses and consumers may be waiting to upgrade hardware or planning a software upgrade to put Windows 8 on existing machines. For the past year or so businesses may have found it more economical to maintain their existing XP-dominant networks, even with the addition of new XP machines.

Some universities are making the switch to Windows 8 in advance of the October release. Seaton Hall University students will start the semester this week with Windows 8 machines.

It is unlikely that Windows 7 will see any growth at this point. If consumers and businesses are still using aging machines, and are in need of replacement, at this point most will likely move to systems running Windows 8. Windows XP will soon no longer be an option since Microsoft will stop supporting the OS. It is unlikely that businesses and consumers will opt for the older Windows 7 system once Windows 8 is released.

The question is how fast users will migrate from Windows XP to Windows 8. Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems are also showing age at this point, and many of those systems are also ripe for an upgrade. If those users stay with Microsoft, it could mean quick adoption for the new Windows 8 operating system.