back to article Windows XP market share decline stalls, Mac OS X surges

Windows XP's been without support for a month and a day now, but seems not to be falling out of favour any faster than happened when it was supported We make that assertion on the basis of Netmarketshare's data for April. Yes, we know Netmarketshare's methodology of assessing market share by looking at web server logs isn't …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Not disappearing any time soon.

    "Windows XP's been without support for a month and a day now, but seems not to be falling out of favour any faster than happened when it was supported "

    I recently happened upon an NHS Trust's IM&T strategy report that included the immortal line:

    "Although we already support power users whose requirement is for the current generation products we are now actively working towards a route to Windows 7 and Office 2010. This will be achieved within the lifetime of this strategy."

    The lifetime of the strategy was through to 2017, three years before Windows 7 itself hits the end of extended support. I suspect we'll see the same sort of reprieves for 7 as we saw for XP, because the disjoint between product lifecycles and the pace of change in large organisations looks likely to get worse.

  2. DougS Silver badge

    Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

    At least in the consumer market, those who still had a 10 year PC running XP laying around may choose to dump it rather than replace it. Most average people are content consumers, not content creators, and a tablet/phablet is often all they need to do what they used to need a PC for (i.e. email and browsing)

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

      I only finished upgrading the families old Windows 9x machines 2 years ago! And that was caused by a change on eBay which meant that the website no longer ran on Windows 9x, because it needed more memory! :-P

      My fiancés family were only replacing kit when it no longer worked. That said, I think they are all on Windows Vista or later now, so I should have some peace for the next few years...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

        I used to upgrade 9x machines with Windows FLP, which was like a cutdown XP.

        Did the job, and with the Royale skin looked modern!

        Sadly, no such version has been made of 7. While a decent OS, from the performance (lack of) of 7 on a netbook, I'd not put 7 on anything but newish fast hardware.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

          I'm in the same boat - have an old frankenstein desktop machine at home which is basically built out of the remains of a few others (the case says "Tiny PCs" on it, in case you want a heritage yardstick) and it chugs along nicely under XP. It does what I need it to do, getting booted up roughly once a week for a few odd jobs.

          For the day to day stuff there are a couple of laptops around the house (running Win7) plus a few tablets (Android) which more than suffice. So the old desktop machine just provides a bit of a back-up in case of need, but I can neither really justify updating it (I doubt the hardware would support Win8.1) nor justify chucking it (as it still works fine, if a bit slow compared to its newer siblings).

          Hence it'll probably continue to rumble on in the background until it does have a catastrophic failure somewhere, but until then why not? It is fully patched up to the cut-off, and has AV/firewall from another vendor who are supporting it still (and it's also behind a router firewall anyway, and it doesn't venture off the beaten track to more dodgy areas of the web).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

          "Sadly, no such version has been made of 7. While a decent OS, from the performance (lack of) of 7 on a netbook, I'd not put 7 on anything but newish fast hardware."

          Well... something like VLite will allow you to strip the OS down but can only go so far before you run up against the limitations of your hardware.

      2. Lost in Cyberspace

        Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

        I hope they're not stuck on IE9, then!

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Are old XP machines being upgraded/replaced, or simply retired?

      Most are probably being allowed to run the course of their natural lives. Some consumers might have panicked into upgrading when support ended but most will likely keep using the same old until an app they want won't run or some frustration or cheap deal prompts them to consider something newer and they'll take whatever it comes with.

      Most equate a Windows OS upgrade with needing a new PC or facing a drop in performance so there will be a natural tendency to avoid upgrading if they don't wish to buy new hardware. Living a generation or two behind bleeding edge has its advantage when it comes to cost. The XP user base is the hardcore who refuse to be drawn into upgrades they don't perceive as necessary or advantageous.

      I also suspect a fair few XP systems are bootleg versions, installed with a CD Key from the web and with Automatic Updates turned off. Those people haven't had MS support or patches for years so won't even miss support officially ending.

  3. Christian Berger Silver badge

    "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

    From their FAQ:

    "StatCounter is a web analytics service. Our tracking code is installed on more than 3 million sites globally."

    So essentially those statistics are heavily skewed towards people not using noscript or ad-blockers, or people using websites not using the services of StatCounter...

    That explains why even strong pro-Windows websites like TheRegister or heise.de have a lower Windows market share than StatCounter.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      That explains why even strong pro-Windows websites like TheRegister or heise.de have a lower Windows market share than StatCounter.

      El Reg and Heise.de are both technology websites. I would guess their readers are more likely to be IT literate, and will have things like Ghostery, NoScript, AdBlock Plus, etc installed to suppress these ad cookies. Or, even, run an O/S other than Windows altogether. e.g. Linux, *BSD, etc!

      1. N2 Silver badge

        Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

        ...I would guess their readers are more likely to be IT literate, and will have things like Ghostery, NoScript, AdBlock Plus, etc installed to suppress these ad cookies. Or, even, run an O/S other than Windows altogether. e.g. Linux, *BSD, etc!

        Agreed, Ghostry, Noscript, DoNotTrackMe, AdBlockPlus installed, non Windows OS & outgoing ports monitored.

        But you dont really need to be all that techie to achieve, just common sense.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      It also only measures computers which go on the internet, and are turned on. Noscript is not a common plugin (in terms of market share not absolute numbers) so the skew is within tolerable margins, certainly not enough to materially affect their findings.

      Can anyone confirm that AdBlockers do block analytics tools?

      1. channel extended

        Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

        I do know that Ghostery will block analytic's. You can block individually or all.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      >>That explains why even strong pro-Windows websites like TheRegister

      Also, El Reg is one of least pro-Windows websites I visit. I suppose to Linuxtards used to visiting sites like BallmerBlowsGoats.org, sites who objectively report on Windows and Linux are massively pro-MS but that's only in comparison.

    4. Ocular Sinister

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      On the other hand my Win 8 work laptop has a user agent spoofer installed so stat counter probably thinks its Linux.

    5. Alan Bourke

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      > That explains why even strong pro-Windows websites like TheRegister

      El Reg is strongly pro-Windows in the sense that the Tea Party thinks the BBC is strongly pre-left, i.e. it only looks like that from way over in the other direction.

    6. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      Herr Berger, if you think El Reg is "Pro Windows", you're either not reading its coverage of Microsoft at all, or your other reading is so rabidly anti-Microsoft that it has skewed your judgement.

      After twenty years online, the Register is the one site I still visit daily. Firstly, because they're an equal-opportunity cynic. Nobody gets a free ride: not Google (the tech press's current Golden Child), not Apple, not Microsoft, and not the Free Software business. The fact that everyone accuses the staff of being biased against their favourite OS/company is a good sign....

      (The other reason I still come here is that its one of the few news sites where the user comments actually add information and reasoned opinion to a lot of the stories; long may it continue)

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

        I was with you until that last sentence.

        1. Andy Watt
          Happy

          I was with you until that last sentence.

          Nicely put

    7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "What methodology is used to calculate StatCounter Global Stats?"

      Statcounter along with 'host' of others is aliased to 127.0.0.1 in my hosts file. Pun intended.

      I am sure that a good number of the people that post here do the same sort of thing with a huge number of sites.

      But, we are in the minority of Internet Users... so what does our 'refusnik' attitude do to the overall stats? Probably nothing at all. Any skewing from our actions is probably well within the scope for error in these stats. Still it give us pleasure that we aren't being counted.

      We are not just a number.

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Gray
    Trollface

    An obvious embarrassment

    From this tiny corner of the world, the weekend sales flyers from the big box stores no longer show the gaudy tiles of Windows 8/8.1 on the screens of featured computers. One has to get out the Sherlock Holmes magnifying lens to even find "Windows 8.1" in the advert text! Visits to the local office supply outlet, or to WalMart's electronic section reveals the display computers gathering dust.

    The graph shows that XP still has 2.15X the share of Win8/8.1 combined! ... 12.24 for the 8's, versus 26.29 for XP. That's gotta be a helluva an embarrassment for MS, after all the time they've been pimping Win8, and threatening XP users with apocalyptic disaster.

    It also shows that the percentage of Win7 dropped in Jan-Feb, but has surged back, from a former high of 47.52 percent, and now shooting for 50 percent at 49.27, and still climbing. This is despite the fact that MS stopped all sales of Win7 dead in the water ... so it's supposed to be a bragging point that Win8/8.1 is creeping up on Win7?

    One other observation: a local hole-in-the-wall computer shop is flying a huge banner across his storefront: "Windows 7 Here!"

    1. Halfmad

      Re: An obvious embarrassment

      The stats don't really tell us anything useful due to how they're collected.

  5. Chris Miller

    It's fairly obvious why the rate has dropped

    Lots of organisations will have raced to eliminate XP (at least, from anything visible over the Internet) ahead of the end of (normal) support date, so I'd expect to see numbers increase immediately before and reduce immediately after.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows must be like Star Trek, every other release is a good one.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woah, hang on...

    ...when did they end XP support?

  9. Syntax Error

    Many users in Asia do not know or care. They still use and ex corporate machines are sold with XP in shops even today.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corrected that for you

    Many users in Asia do not know or care. They still use and ex corporate machines are sold with PIRATED COPIES OF XP in shops even today.

    I never saw a genuine copy of XP or Win7 during my 6 month stay in China, and talking to a tech rep from a major firm confirms it, they also had huge problems with the PCs they were using in China - it was impossible to locally source a genuine copy or licence, but they had to prove to UK head office that everything they were using was legit.

    You can walk into any PC shop and buy a disk with multiple scripts on for every major brand of PC you can think of, in any Win flavour you can think of, I found 98SE, Win2000, NT5, XP, Vista, and Win7 - all for Rmb10 (~£1).

    (Win 8 hadnt been launched at that point).

    I bought XP and Win7 disks and M$ recognises them as legit and updates them, just dont enter a licence number when it asks for it during the install.

    (In Chinese for my Chinese wife, although English was available as an option).

    Anon of course!!!!

  11. herman Silver badge

    I always see a sharp rise in Windows visitors on my site over the week (75%) followed by a rise in Linux (45%) and Mac (10%) over the weekends. So one can make the stats counters say whatever you want by picking the right day of the week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I always see a sharp rise in Windows visitors on my site over the week (75%) followed by a rise in Linux (45%) and Mac (10%) over the weekends."

      Sunday's Child is full of GNU? Mon-Fri... MS for you? That's an intriguing statistical quirk - any idea why?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        "Sunday's Child is full of GNU? Mon-Fri... MS for you? That's an intriguing statistical quirk - any idea why?"

        People who use Linux at home on the weekend have day jobs sorting out Windows PCs during the week?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          "People who use Linux at home on the weekend have day jobs sorting out Windows PCs during the week?"

          You've got the joke icon, but, actually....

  12. Azzy

    That stat counting method underestimates XP machines, particularly ones that won't upgrade

    If what I see of XP computer use around me is any indication, checking web server logs is a terrible way to assess the number of XP computers still deployed.

    At my apartment, everyone's main computers are running Win7/8 (or Mac OS - I have a roommate who swings both ways) - but each of us has a media center PC's that play stuff off the NAS (all XP, because the hardware is aging and we have doubts about whether they could handle Win7 - the upgrade cost isn't much higher than the value of the hardware, but it works. None of those machines routinely touch the internet - they're just for playing content we've downloaded on larger screens. So those aren't being counted...

    And then there are the machines that are being used occasionally (either as extra machines, or by people who don't use computers much).

    And these are likely to be kept until they fall apart, and never upgraded - either because the hardware won't perform well with win7, or because we can't cost justify the upgrade, or because the owner isn't good with computers and their kid(s) have moved out so they don't have anyone to train them on the new OS (and let's face it, moving from XP to 7+ does take training for... probably the bottom quartile of computer use skill).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That stat counting method underestimates XP machines, particularly ones that won't upgrade

      An important point - I was still in possession of XP kit until last month as a consumer, and there's plenty of corporate equivalence. Examples I've seen include:

      • Windows XP Machines running ancient management software for things like Nortel Meridian telephone switches (and why not?),
      • That one guy who (you discover a year or two down the line from event logs) because of an inventory oversight or sheer bloody-mindedness, is still running the XP laptop he had for the previous hardware upgrade cycle, his shiny new i5 Windows 7 laptop left at home.
      • Embedded systems - that one will run for ever, given MS only stopped supporting WIndows 3.x embedded in 2008
      Those examples vary wildly in terms of risk, but I'm sure we can all think of other examples of systems that will never be caressed by a packet from the Internet in the course of their endless working lives.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone thought about *new* XP installs?

    What about companies where the standing policy does not allow anything newer than XP?

    I do know at least one company where every new PC is downgraded to XP before it's put to use.

  14. Paul Johnston
    Happy

    Tesco

    Just popped in and they are still using them in there :-)

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