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XP gains share among Net surfers

About 20 percent of Internet users now have the operating system on their PCs, compared with 2 percent in November 2001--shortly after its release.

Twenty percent of Net surfers are now using Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, according to market researcher WebSideStory.

The research company said Windows XP is the second most popular OS among Internet users, behind Microsoft's Windows 98 with a 37 percent share. Windows XP's share is up from 2 percent in the first week of November 2001, and Windows 98's is down from 50 percent at that time.

Windows XP was launched in October 2001, and initial sales were a bit sluggish.

But the software has apparently picked up in popularity. Geoff Johnston, a vice president of WebSideStory's StatMarket, said that it's "only a matter of months before it overtakes Windows 98 as the most widely used OS on the Web."

Microsoft already dominates the Internet landscape when it comes to browsers, with its Internet Explorer controlling 95 percent of the market.