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For the first time in what feels like a hundred thousand years (slight exaggeration), Windows XP's share of the desktop operating system dipped below 30 percent according to data provided by NetMarketShare, and below 20 percent if you prefer the numbers tallied by StatCounter. Regardless of which one is more accurate, what's clear is that Windows XP users are abandoning ship at an increasingly brisk pace.
NetMarkShare's accounting methods has Windows XP installed on just under 29 percent of all desktops at the end of December, a drop of 2.24 percent from November. That's the biggest drop in share since August-to-September. Meanwhile, the combined share of Windows 8 and 8.1 crept into double digits for the first time (again, that's according to NetMarketShare's data), finishing off 2013 with a 10.49 percent share of the market.
StatCounter's tally is a bit different, though the trends are similar. According to StatCounter's method of counting beans, Windows XP's share of the desktop market landed at 19.79 percent at the end of 2013. Based on StatCounter's data, Windows XP went from being installed on 1 out of 4 desktops a year ago to 1 out of 5 five desktops to start the new year.
The shift away from Windows XP is no doubt related to Microsoft's plans to end support for the legacy OS in April 2014. Windows XP will continue to function past that date, but will no longer receive security updates and patches. For those who choose to stick with Windows XP past April 8, 2014, one alternative to becoming a sitting duck to unpatched vulnerabilities is to seek out third-party support, such as the ExtendedXP solution being offered by Arkoon.
Image Credit: Flickr (Vibrant Spirit)