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Windows 8.1 overtakes Mac OS X 10.9 among desktop OS users

Microsoft's latest OS gained almost a full percentage point in desktop OS traffic tracked last month by Net Applications.

Net Applications

Windows 8.1 is now the fifth most popular desktop OS, at least as recorded by Web tracker Net Applications.

For November, Microsoft's latest version of Windows snagged 2.64 percent of all desktop OS traffic recorded by Net Applications. That number was a healthy gain from the 1.72 percent seen in October and the 0.87 percent in September.

The rise also pushed Windows 8.1 just ahead of Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks with a 2.42 percent share and just behind Windows Vista with a 3.57 percent share.

Windows 8.1 popped up in June as a preview edition before officially launching in October. The upgrade is free to Windows 8 users and offers several improvements over its predecessor.

Windows 8 continued to shed its share of traffic in November as more users upgraded to its successor. But combined, Windows 8 and 8.1 took home a 9.3 percent share, easily outscoring Vista but still playing a distant third to Windows 7 with 46.6 percent and Windows XP with 31.2 percent.

XP has gradually lost ground since giving up its dominance to Windows 7 in August 2012. But the 12-year-old XP continues to hang on among users and businesses. Time is running out, though. Microsoft is set to cut off support for XP in early April.