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Windows XP beats 8.1 in December market share stats

Merry Christmas, Satya Nadella

Windows 7 remains the planet's dominant desktop operating system, but Windows XP again claimed second place during December 2014 according to data from and Netmarketshare.

We've tracked the two firms' data for a year now and both have produced some odd dips and surges, reflecting their imperfect methods of counting OS prevalence by sniffing web viewing traffic. The resurgence of Windows XP is the oddest occurrence yet, but both report it.

Let's look at the numbers: Netmarketshare had XP at 13.57 per cent of the market in November but 18.26 per cent in December, and Windows 8.1 at 12.2 per cent in November and 9.49 per cent in December.

Statcounter had XP at 11.84 per cent in November and 13.21 in December, and Windows 8.1 ticking up from 12.12 to 13.01 per cent between November and December.

The firms' analysis of the losers differs: Netmarketshare has Windows 8.1 falling from 12.1 per cent market share to 9.49 per cent. Statcounter marks a fall for Windows 7, from 55.75 per cent to 54.4 per cent.

The results certainly seem odd given that lots of lovely new PCs will have been found under Christmas trees. But perhaps that likelihood also hints at another explanation: Windows XP is reputedly still most prevalent in Asia. The Christmas/New Year period sees plenty of people in the West take a break and probably spend less time using PCs. Christmas makes scarcely a ripple in China, India, Indonesia and Japan (although the latter nation has an admirable penchant for eating fried chicken on the day).

Might the West's downtime have caused XP's upswing? Data from December 2013 offers no comparable bump, but of course XP was still supported at that time.

Let's wait until Feburary and see what January's data brings, shall we? ®

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