Windows XP Market Drops Below 50% Worldwide

10 years in tech time is equivalent to about 100 years in real time, in that the technology that was relevant a decade ago is usually as useful today as a Model T Ford. Yet somehow the venerable Windows XP operating system, which was introduced a tech-century ago in 2001, has held on.

True, XP enjoyed a brief stay of execution thanks to the netbook craze, but even Microsoft has been trying to kill it off for a long time. Still, until fairly recently, most of the world’s computers ran Windows XP.

Now, according to NetMarketShare, Windows XP claims 49.69% of the market, dipping below the 50% mark for the first time in a long time. It also has Windows 7 at 27.92% and Windows Vista at 9.27%.

StatCounter paints a slightly different picture, with Windows XP at 43.89%, Windows 7 at 36.06%, and Windows Vista at 11.56%. Regardless, it’s a drop for Windows XP that’s been coming hard and fast; looking at StatCounter’s numbers, in July 2010, Windows XP held 56.31% market share globally.

StatCounter's stats on operating system market share, July 2010-July 2011

However, most of the decline of Windows XP, and Windows Visa for that matter, has been compensated for by the rapid adoption of Windows 7; thus, Microsoft’s overall OS market share has changed little. From July 2010 to July 2011, Microsoft’s OSes lost 1.11%, which really isn’t too much considering the difference is between 92.62% and 91.51% market share (according to StatCounter). Mac OS X (6.23%), Linux (0.76%), and “other” round out the totals.

Of note: According to StatCounter, in North America, Windows XP has but 28.48% of the market, down from 41.39% from a year ago. (Windows 7 claims 37.12%, up from 19.45% over the same time period.)