SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft's decade old operating system (OS) Windows XP is still the most popular, according to data released today by web analytics firm Net Applications. Despite shedding users over the past year, Windows XP is still clinging onto a sizeable share of the market, with Net Applications' report showing only a minor drop in users to 46.08 per cent in April from 46.86 per cent in March.
Interestingly, the data also reflect an unusual rise-and-fall pattern in Windows XP's audience each month since last November. Meanwhile, the study tells us that Windows 7 is continuing to grow in popularity with its most recent edition capturing a 38.67 per cent share of the market in April, up from 37.54 per cent in March. Despite Windows XP's firm grip, Microsoft has been encouraging users and businesses to switch to Windows' most recent version, with relative success.
However, Microsoft will have to step up the message as a post on the Windows Team Blog announced last month that support for Windows XP will end in two years, causing panic among large enterprises that have to migrate thousands or tens of thousands of users, something that doesn't happen overnight. Another worry is that businesses running Windows XP can't easily switch to a new OS without ensuring that all of their hardware and software will be compatible.
By the time support for Windows XP does expire and software patches, security fixes, and other updates will no longer be available, it could put computers running Windows XP at greater risk without up-to-date protection against malware.