Windows 8.1 will soon outscore Vista as the fourth most common desktop OS, according to Web tracker Net Applications.
For December, Windows 8.1 sliced off a 3.6 percent share of all desktop OS traffic recorded by Net Applications. Just a breath ahead, Windows Vista snagged a 3.61 percent share. By the time February rolls around, 8.1 will surely have outpaced the 7-year-old and much maligned Vista.
Combined, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 snagged 10.5 percent of all desktop OS traffic in December, up from 9.3 percent in November and 9.25 percent in October. A free upgrade to Windows 8 users, Windows 8.1 debuted in June as a preview edition before officially launching in October.
Windows 7 continues to gain more users, capturing a 47.5 percent share last month, up from 46.6 percent in November. And Windows XP continues to lose more of its audience, ekeing out a 29 percent share in December, down from 31.2 percent the prior month.
The distance in Web traffic between Windows 7 and XP will likely ramp up over the next few months. Microsoft has vowed to cut off support for XP starting April 8, 2014. That means no more security patches, bug fixes, or other updates. As such, businesses and organizations have been scrambling to upgrade from XP before the deadline arrives.