Windows 8 update: As Windows XP wanes, Windows 8 scoops up users

Windows 8/8.1 has topped 10 per cent market share for the first time, apparently picking up a few users from among those who are finally leaving Windows XP behind.

Windows 8/8.1 has topped 10 per cent market share for the first time, apparently picking up a few users from among those who are finally leaving Windows XP behind.

According to Web analytics firm NetMarkeshare, users of all versions of Windows 8 amounted to 10.49% of Internet users for the month of December, up from 9.25% in December. This as users of Windows XP have dipped from 31.22% to 28.98%.

+Also on Network World: 7 things on Microsoft's 2014 to-do list |  China prefers to stick with dying Windows XP rather than upgrade | 10 reasons to take a Chromebook on the road +

While the showing for Windows 8/8.1 is a milestone, it is also part of a gradual trend. Since last February, use of the operating system has risen 7.82 percentage points while XP has dropped 10.01. Windows 7 use has moved up 2.97 points over the same period, so it seems most of those abandoning XP have moved to Windows 7 or 8/8.1.

Over the same period, Windows Vista dipped 1.56 points.

NetMarketshare's data is gathered from the browsers of visitors to  its customers' 40,000-plus Web sites worldwide.  The firm breaks down the sites as 46% commercial, 18% corporate, 10% content and 29% other, including government, search engine marketers and .org groups. Seventy six percent participate in pay per click programs to drive traffic to their sites, the company says.

Surface Pro 2 upgrade

While it's not an official hardware overhaul, customers who buy Microsoft Surface Pro 2 laptops now will get faster machines than those who bought them last month.

That's because the  Windows 8 devices are  being built with a better CPU than the earlier versions, according to a report by WinBeta. The newer Surface Pro 2s have Intel  i5 4300U (1.9Ghz) CPUs vs the older versions that had i5 4200U (1.6Ghz) processors.

Here's how Microsoft explained the changes to WinBeta: "Microsoft routinely makes small changes to internal components over the lifetime of a product, based on numerous factors including supply chain partnerships, availability, and value for our customers. With any change to hardware or software, we work to ensure that the product experience remains excellent."

Chromebooks rule on reports disheartening holiday sales from a Windows 8 perspective: Chromebooks are outselling the best-selling Windows 8 laptops.

According to the site's Best Sellers, two Chromebooks Acer C720 and Samsung Chromebook  -  are ranked No. 1 and 2 with two Windows 8 devices Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-G and Asus X200CA-HCL1104G coming in third and fourth.Price seems to be a factor. The Chromebooks sell for $199 and $179, respectively, while the Windows devices go for $448 and $298.Another blow to Windows 8: Toshiba's Satellite C55-A5245 came in fifth - equipped with Windows 7.

Surface 2 BitLocker woes

Microsoft is promising a Jan. 14 solution to a Surface 2 software problem that has the device demanding the BitLocker recovery key when it boots up.

Microsoft acknowledges it shouldn't do that and is working on a fix. More details here.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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