Windows 7 is quickly displacing Vista -- but not XP

InfoWorld's tracking service shows that Windows 7 uptake is surging, and Vista switchers account for the lion's share

Windows 7 is surging. After an insanely popular beta cycle, Microsoft's latest and greatest has exploded out of the gate, grabbing more than 4 percent of the real-world usage base as tracked by InfoWorld's Windows Pulse service -- after only a few weeks of general availability.

More tellingly, Windows 7 is grabbing a sizable chunk of our new users. Fully 10 percent of the most recent registrants are running some version of Windows 7, which is remarkable since, after three years in the market, Windows Vista still barely registers above the 30 percent level.

[ How to choose between 32-bit Windows 7 and 64-bit Windows 7. | Get InfoWorld's 21-page hands-on look at the new version of Windows, from InfoWorld’s editors and contributors. | Find out what's new, what's wrong, and what's good about Windows 7 in InfoWorld's "Windows 7: The essential guide." ]

And even that number is beginning to erode: As Windows 7 picks up user share, it seems to be making most of its gains at the expense of Vista. In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between Windows 7 adoption and Vista abandonment, with the latter losing a percentage point and the former gaining the same in a little over a week.

Of course, the lion's share of our user base remains on Windows XP. And with this legacy OS holding steady at just under 64 percent, it seems clear that the fence-sitters in the Vista-versus-XP debate remain firmly seated on their perches. In fact, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see this early Windows 7 surge taper off as the enthusiast euphoria fades and is replaced by the slow, steady grind of the corporate refresh cycle.

Still, this is an encouraging result for Microsoft and shows that there is indeed pent-up demand for something better than Vista -- even if much of that demand seems to be coming from Vista adopters themselves. It will be interesting see if this one-for-one user share correlation continues in the coming weeks. Will anyone still be using Vista a year from now?

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