With so many people clinging to Windows XP despite Microsoft's repeated attempts to bury the legacy OS and the lukewarm (at best) response to Windows 8, it didn't seem like the latter would ever overtake the former in market share. Never say never, right? For the first time ever, the combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is higher than that of Windows XP, based on the latest data provided by Net Applications.
Rock out with your Windows Phone or Windows device out
It wouldn't be fair to call Microsoft a Scrooge, not when the company is rolling out a pair of sweet deals for the holiday season, one of which includes 100 free albums. The caveat? You have to be a Windows or Windows Phone user. If you are, you can claim your 100 free albums from Microsoft by installing the company's Music Deals companion app. These aren't crappy albums, either.
This time around, Microsoft isn't repeating its past mistake and will instead do Lumia phone customers a solid by committing to a Windows 10 update for all Lumia Windows Phone 8 handsets. Microsoft made the promise in response to a customer's question on Twitter. The customer said he was interested in buying a Lumia 930 phone but wanted to know if it would get the update to Windows 10.
Windows 8 and 8.1 combined share also at all-time high
The combined market share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 looked to be heading back towards single digits early last month when Net Applications released its desktop OS usage data for the month of September, revealing that the already teetering combo had shed over a percentage points’ worth of market share to reach 12.26 percent. That appears to have been a false alarm as the latest data from Net Applications data shows an unexpected surge in Windows 8.1 uptake.
Most of the mainstream angst directed towards Windows 8 and 8.1 in the U.S. has to do with the Modern UI and little things like the lack of a Start menu. But while hopes are high that Windows 10 will be the OS everyone wanted Windows 8 to be, China's concerns run much deeper than the UI. As such, China reportedly plans to undergo a "de-Windowsifying" process in which its systems will be move to a state-endorsed version of Linux by 2020.
Microsoft is not the only company to have pinned high hopes on Windows Live Tiles and been let down. The user interface element that has come to be associated with Windows 8’s well-documented alienation of desktop users has been at the center of a patent lawsuit since 2012. A little-known Portland, Maine-based company named Surfcast, which inhabits the obscure realm of “operating system technology” design, suddenly shot to attention a couple of years back, when it filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing the latter of infringing on one of its patents with Live Tiles. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on Monday gave its final written decision in an inter partes review (IPR) of patent 6,724,403 (the “'403 patent”) and sadly for Surfcast, Live Tiles are just as difficult to make money from as ever.
Windows 10 will go up against Windows 7, not Windows 8/8.1
Now that Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10 and is even serving up a Technical Preview for curious folks to check out, Windows 8 is already feeling like old news. Some felt that way even before Microsoft's announcement, which might explain why Windows 8 lost market share in the desktop OS market in the month of September. At this rate, it won't be long before Windows 8's share drops back into single digits.
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.
As Kenny Rogers famously advised a legion of country music fans, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, known when to run." Microsoft isn't quite to the point of running away from Windows 8, though it is ready to walk away from putting time and resources into major updates. There will be no Windows 8.1 Update 2, which seemingly suggests Microsoft is now looking ahead to Windows 9.