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Windows XP usage dips but it's still top OS

Windows XP has finally dipped below 50 percent of the desktop market but the 10-year-old operating system continues to be the most popular OS.

Windows XP continues to shed market share but still won't give up its crown as the most used operating system.

Eyeing the OS market in October, Net Applications pegged the total share for XP at 48 percent, the first time the 10-year-old OS has dipped below 50 percent specifically among desktop platforms. That's down from 50.5 percent in September and 52.5 percent in August.

Since Windows 7 made its official debut more than two years ago, XP has gradually dropped in usage from 72 percent in August 2009 to its current share. On a natural upswing, Windows 7 has grown over the same stretch to capture almost 35 percent of the market as of last month. At the same time, Windows Vista's popularity has dropped to just under 9 percent.

Microsoft has aggressively been trying to convince consumers and corporations alike to upgrade from XP to Windows 7. The company keeps pushing the message that support for XP will end in April 2014. And though that sounds like a distant date for the individual user, enterprises typically need a healthy amount of time, money, and resources to plan and implement a major OS migration.

Microsoft even told businesses still on XP not to wait for Windows 8 and forge ahead with a migration to Windows 7. The company has also been touting Windows 7 as a more secure environment than Windows XP. Its May Security Intelligence Report found that Windows 7 is four to five times less vulnerable to malware infections than is XP.

Looking at the OS arena in general, Net Applications found that Windows accounted for almost 92 percent of the market in October, while the Mac OS took home almost 7 percent.