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With yet another month's worth of data to digest, it's becoming increasingly clear that Windows 8 might never catch up to Windows 7. How you want to view that is up to you -- it could mean that Microsoft hit it out of the park with Windows 7, making it exceedingly difficult on itself to duplicate that kind of success, or that Windows 8 is a foul ball off of a broken bat. Let's look at some numbers.
According to NetMarketShare's data, Windows 7 gained more than a percentage point in March, increasing its share of the desktop OS market from 47.31 percent to 48.77 percent (+1.46 percent). Meanwhile, Windows 8 and 8.1 grew from 10.68 percent to 11.3 percent, representing a 0.62 percent gain. As for XP, it's share of the market fell from 29.53 percent to 26.69 percent, a drop of 2.84 percent. What this appears to indicate is that twice as many people jumping ship from XP are going to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8/8.1.
If we zoom out, it becomes increasingly clear that Windows 7 is a tough act to follow. In March 2013, Windows 7 accounted for 44.73 percent of all desktops. Minus a few minor blips along the way, it's been gaining share ever since.
The good news for Windows 8/8.1 is that its share is in double digits. And as far as competing platforms go, both Windows 8 (6.41 percent) and Windows 8.1 (4.89 percent) individually account for more desktops than Mac OS X 10.9 (3.75 percent).