Windows XP Gains Market Share as Support Deadline Looms

A person could make a strong argument that Windows XP is the most loved version of Windows ever, lest there's another reason so many users are clinging to the legacy operating system until it's pried from their cold, dead hands. Even as Microsoft gets ready to stop supporting the OS in another two months, Windows XP not only commands a significant share of the market, but it's actually gaining users, according to tracking data provided by Net Applications.

We don't want to overstate the point because for one, the increase in share is pretty small. According to Net Applications, Windows XP ended January with a 29.23 percent share of the desktop market, up from 28.98 percent in December. That's not much of a jump, though it's certainly interesting that so many users are clinging to a dead OS walking.

Windows XP
Image Source: Flickr (Manuel Cernuda)

The other reason we don't want to make too much of these numbers is because they're not universally accepted and/or agreed with. Net Applications collects its data through its on-demand network of HitsLink Analystics and SharePost clients, which includes over 40,000 websites around the globe. If we look at StatCounter's data, the story is a bit different. According to StatCounter, Windows XP's share of the desktop OS market is 17.78 percent, down from 18.42 percent a month prior.

Our disclaimer aside, the exact figures don't really matter. If either tracking firm is even in the ballpark, then it says a lot about Windows XP, its users, and their reluctance to embrace a more current version of Windows. Even according to StatCounter's data, Windows XP is the second most prominent version of Windows behind Windows 7. While it's unlikely to happen, we wouldn't be totally shocked if Microsoft extended support for the 12-year-old OS.