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Windows 7 poised to topple XP as leading OS

The current flavor of Windows came close to surpassing XP as the top OS in July but will have to wait another month for the title, according to Net Applications.

Net Applications

Windows 7 and Windows XP are virtually neck and neck in their contest to be the dominant OS, according to Web analytics firm Net Applications.

For the month of July, Windows 7 grabbed 42.21 percent of all network traffic recorded by Net Applications. Windows XP eked out a slightly higher share, capturing 42.86 percent. As Windows 7 has been catching up to its 11-year-old counterpart, it will certainly reach the top spot sometime this month.

The latest results show a huge difference over July 2011 when Windows 7 held just 29.6 percent of Net Applications' mobile traffic, while Windows XP had more than 52 percent.

For an operating system launched in 2001, XP has enjoyed a good run. Many businesses and consumers perfectly satisfied with the OS and turned off by Vista had stuck with XP far longer than anticipated. But more people and organizations are migrating to Windows 7, likely for a number of reasons.

Microsoft is cutting off extended support for Windows XP in less than two years, specifically April 2014. That means large companies must upgrade their installations to Windows 7. Otherwise, they face potential security risks when patches, updates, and bug fixes are no longer available for XP.

Microsoft's latest applications have also been giving the cold shoulder to XP and even Vista. Internet Explorer 9 doesn't support XP, while IE10 won't support XP or Vista. Office 2013 won't run under XP or Vista. Of course, these slights are all part of the company's strategy to force people to bump up to Windows 7.

Still, XP will be around for the foreseeable future.

I notice a lot of computers running XP at doctor's offices, hospitals, and similar facilities. Such organizations rely on applications and equipment that may not work under Windows 7. And though Windows 7 offers an XP compatibility mode, coaxing these companies to totally migrate from XP will continue to be a challenge.

Overall, Windows accounted for 92 percent of all the traffic on Net Applications' network in July. Mac OS X won a 7 percent share, up from less than 6 percent a year ago.