The percentage of PC users running Windows 8.1 doubled in a month's time, according to the latest October data compiled by metrics firm Net Applications.
Of course, that's still just a tiny fraction of the overall PC market: 1.72 percent, as measured by the firm. But combined with the number of users running Windows 8, the combined market share of the Windows 8.x OS topped 9.25 percent. At its current pace, that share should top 10 percent by the end of the year. (In September, Windows 8 commanded 8.02 percent, and Windows 8.1 0.87 percent, for a combined share of 8.89 percent.)
And sorry, Linux: Windows 8.1 now tops you, too. Linux commanded 1.61 percent of all PCs measured by Net Applications for the month of October. Mac OS X 10.8 was used by 3.31 percent of users, Net Applications found.
Of course, the bad news for Microsoft is that its two older operating systems continue to dominate the PC landscape. According to Net Applications's figures, more than 46 percent of users run Windows 7, and 31.24 percent of users continue to run Windows XP. Both numbers dropped less than a percent from a month ago.
XP's marketshare is undoubtedly the most troubling, since Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows XP by next April, leaving the 13-year-old operating system without any way of being patched. The "XPocalypse" will leave PCs in a "zero day forever" mode, exposing them to any and all future vulnerabilities. Businesses starting to panic have chosen Windows 7 as a stopgap, however.
"Since Windows 8 launched, our guidance to business customers has been to continue Windows 7 migrations that are already in process," a Microsoft representative told PCWorld in a statement last month. "We recommend our customers continue these deployments and consider Windows 8 in targeted scenarios where it makes the most sense, such as highly mobile workers. As Windows 8 launched less than a year ago, we are still seeing a lot of businesses completing those planned Windows 7 migrations now.
"Every business is unique and has different needs," the Microsoft representative added. "The most important thing is that businesses move off XP before April 8, 2014, and onto a modern operating system, and moving to Windows 7 will not only ensure that customers remain on a supported version of Windows, but they will be on a path to Windows 8 and can take advantage of innovations in the Windows 7 platform, including enhanced security and control, increased user productivity, and streamlined PC management."
Unfortunately, there's about five months before the XPocalypse draws nigh. Although Microsoft stands to benefit from the shift--31 percent of the PC user base stands to upgrade to something, whether it be Windows 8 or Windows 7--there's a real threat to users who remain on the older OS. It's worth remembering--again--that if you're one of those affected, consider making an upgrade to a newer OS a priority.