With each new passing day, more Windows XP users are pulling the plug on the legacy operating system and upgrading to either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1. We can see evidence of this in the market share trend dating back to April, which is when Microsoft stopped supporting XP. Since then, XP's share of the desktop market has dropped from 26.29 percent to 23.89 percent, while both Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 continue to make gains.
Windows 7 held a 49.27 percent share of the desktop market at the end of April. With August having just recently come to a close, Windows 7's share now sits at 51.21 percent, which is virtually unchanged from July (51.22 percent). It's by far the most popular desktop OS, according to data provided by Net Applications.
However, it's Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 that have shown a pulse in the past month. Windows 8 crept up from 5.92 percent in July to 6.28 percent at the end of August, while Windows 8.1 went from 6.56 percent to 7.09 percent in the same time frame. The combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is now at 13.65 percent, up from 12.48 percent in June and 12.24 percent in April.
At the rate Windows XP is falling and Windows 8/8.1 is climbing, the latter would likely overtake the former in less than a year, except for one little thing -- Windows 9 (codenamed Threshold). Microsoft is reportedly planning to unveil Windows 9 this month, followed by releasing a Technology Preview for eager users to play with.
Rumor has it Microsoft will get rid of the Charms Bar in Windows 9 for desktop PCs. The forthcoming OS is also expected to bring back the shutdown feature on Start, along with other welcome features for mouse and keyboard users. If Windows 9 returns to its roots like users have been asking for, and does it without giving up the speed and security of Windows 8/8.1, then it could quickly find its way onto a significant number of desktops.