Windows 8 and 8.1 finally pass 15% market share, Windows XP drops below 20 ...

Everyone is well-aware by now that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have not had the adoption rate of their predecessor. Yet the duo had a particularly good run last month, finally passing 15 percent market share together, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

More specifically, Windows 8 gained 0.29 percentage points to 5.88 percent while Windows 8.1 gained 4.25 percentage points to 10.92 percent. Together, they owned 16.8 percent of the market at the end of October, up from 12.26 percent at the end of September.

The gains from Microsoft's latest operating system versions did not come at the expense of Windows 7, which still managed to grow 0.34 points to 53.05 percent. The most popular OS has continued to grow steadily throughout 2014 (it's up overall from 47.49 percent in January, experiencing only minor drops some months) despite Microsoft's push to get consumers and businesses to upgrade.

The gains of Windows 8.x didn't come from nowhere. Windows Vista fell 0.25 points, finally falling below the 3 percent mark (2.82 percent to be exact). Windows XP meanwhile dropped a whopping 6.69 points to 17.18 percent.

This is the biggest fall we've seen for Windows XP yet. It's now below the 20 percent mark for the first time in over a decade. It appears that businesses are reacting to Microsoft ending support for the operating system, which happened way back in April.

Despite this good news, Windows as a whole lost a bit of share, down 0.45 points to 91.53 percent. Mac OS X capitalized on the losses, gaining 0.67 points to 7.05 percent, while Linux slipped 0.23 percent to 1.41 percent.

Net Applications uses data captured from 160 million unique visitors each month by monitoring some 40,000 websites for its clients. This means it measures user market share.

If you prefer usage market share, you'll want to get your data from StatCounter, which looks at 15 billion page views. That operating system data for October is available here.

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