Windows 7 is two months away from becoming the second newest consumer desktop operating system from Microsoft (it already is, if you count the Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing, or RTM), but will it surpass Windows XP in market share before Windows 8 is made generally available to the public? It's going to be a tight race, but it looks like Windows 7 will jump ahead by the end of August.
That prediction is based on data from Net Applications, which has Windows 7 usage pegged at 42.21 percent. Windows XP's share of the desktop market is just slightly higher at 42.86 percent, and barring any surprises, it will give up the lead by the end of the month.
Looking back a year ago, it was quite a different picture. At the end of July 2011, Windows XP accounted for 52.8 percent of the worldwide desktop OS market, compared to Windows 7 at 29.66 percent. Windows 7 has made up considerable ground since then, and while the impending release of Windows 8 threatens to stagnate 7's OS growth, it could also boost it if users don't warm up to the Metro UI.