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Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed

Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day

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Remember where you were once your patch Tuesday downloads end, because today is Windows XP death day.

Users other than the well-heeled and well-organised won't receive so much as another byte of code to update the operating system as of today, bringing to an end an era that started with the operating system's release to manufacturing on August 24th, 2001.

Amazingly, the era ends with XP still enjoying over 27 per cent market share, according to Netmarketshare's data for operating system market share during March.

We've once again fired up Vulture South's Tablo-matic 2099 and fed it March's data. Here are the results for Windows versions expressed in terms of market share among all operating systems.

Oct 13 Nov 13 Dec 13 Jan 14 Feb 14 Mar 14
Windows XP 31.24 31.22 28.98 29.23 29.53 27.69
Windows Vista 3.63 3.57 3.61 3.3 3.1 2.99
Windows 7 46.42 46.64 47.52 47.49 47.31 48.77
Windows 8 7.53 6.66 6.89 6.63 6.38 6.41
Windows 8.1 1.72 2.64 3.6 3.95 4.1 4.89

As you can see, even in the month before it was due to start pining for the fjords, XP still claimed over 27 per cent of the market using Netmarketshare's methodology of counting “ operating systems in use for browsing (not servers) … derived by aggregating the traffic across our network of websites that use our service.”

Even if we assume that the last week saw plenty of last-minute upgrades, that's still many tens of millions of users willing to live without security updates. Anecdotally, many of those users may not have exactly paid for their operating system or reside in nations where the word about XP's demise has spread widely. Either that or they're wild-eyed rebels willing to take a chance.

Many pundits believe it won't be long before a wave of attacks, some exploiting never-to-be-patched zero-days, make remaining XP users' lives a misery. We'll check back with Netmarketshare's data for April to see if that's the case, or if Windows XP's decline remains slow and steady rather than swift and panicked. ®

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