Windows 8.1 continues to inch along

Microsoft's latest OS keeps gaining users, according to Net Applications, but progress is still coming at a snail's pace.

Net Applications

Windows 8.1 carved out more of the desktop OS market last month, though its progress remains slow.

For the month of August, Windows 8.1 eked out a 7.09 percent market share based on all the desktop OS traffic seen by Web tracker Net Applications. That number was up slightly from 6.56 percent in July, 6.61 percent in June, and 6.35 percent in May. Still in use among many people, Windows 8 scored 6.28 percent of the market last month.

In light of the weak response to Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to tweak its latest OS to make it friendlier to traditional PC users. Windows 8.1 itself includes several such features, including a boot-to-desktop option to let users bypass the Start screen. A spring update added more features, including a Shutdown button on the Start screen and the ability to run Modern apps from the desktop. But the OS still seems stuck in neutral.

Microsoft's only hope at this point may be that people will be more drawn to Windows 9, currently known as Threshold, which will reportedly launch in preview mode following a press conference on September 30. With a final release rumored for April 2015, that version will offer a Start menu and other new features in an attempt to lure back fans of Windows 7.

Among other desktop operating systems, Windows 7's share remained flat last month at 51.21 percent. But XP's grip slid down to 23.89 percent in August from 24.82 percent in July. Overall, Windows remained the dominant OS with a 91.58 percent share, followed by the Mac OS with 6.74 percent and Linux with 1.67 percent, according to Net Applications' stats.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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