Windows XP finally falls below 50 percent

Ten years after its release, Windows XP's market share -- measured by online usage -- slips under the 50 percent mark

July 2011 may well go down in the history books as the month Windows XP finally started to succumb to the inevitable. According to Net Market Share, which collects data based on user visits to more than 40,000 websites, slightly fewer than half of visitors in July were running Windows XP. Windows 7 was next at 27.9 percent, and Vista slid to 9.3 percent.

Of course, Microsoft's been trying to drive a wooden stake through XP's heart for years. Microsoft cut off Mainstream Support (which includes no-charge incident support) for XP in April 2009, but Extended Support continues until April 8, 2014. In case you were wondering how much longer you have before Extended Support kicks the bucket, Microsoft has a handy, helpful countdown tool that will remind you. One little caveat: The death knell tool runs on Vista and Windows 7 only.

Worth noting: Windows usage in general continues to fall. In August of last year, Windows was used on 91.3 percent of all PCs that found their way onto the Net. A year later, in July 2011, the Windows share was down to 87.6 percent. In the same time period, Mac use increased from 5.0 percent to 5.6 percent.

By contrast, mobile device usage is growing leaps and bounds. In June, for the first time, mobile devices accounted for more than 5 percent of all Internet usage. In July, the figure is up to 5.5 percent. Compare that to 2.8 percent a year ago.

Here's a sobering projection. If trends continue at the current rate, a year from now, Windows 7 usage will barely edge out Windows XP -- unless Windows 8 comes along and scares everyone into staying with XP just a little bit longer.

Old habits die hard.

This article, "Windows XP finally falls below 50 percent," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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