Windows 7: The New XP?

Windows 7: The New XP?
Windows XP was one of Microsoft's greatest successes and greatest failures: A success because it was so rock-solid, a failure because it was so good that many people didn't want to upgrade to Windows Vista. Based on initial looks at Windows 8, Windows 7 may well be the new XP.

Windows XP was first released in 2001, and because of its speed, stability, and simplicity, has been a winner ever since. Even though it's going on 11 years old, it's still the most popular version of Windows according to Net Applications, with a 44.85 percent market share as of May 2012, compared to 40.51 percent for Windows 7 and 6.88 percent for Windows Vista.

Not everyone agrees that XP is the most popular version of Windows. As of May 2012, StatCounter has Windows 7 with 48.93 percent market share, and XP with 31.06 percent market share. It reports Windows Vista as having 8.38 percent market share.

Windows 7: The New XP?
Either way, though, it's remarkable that an operating system as old as XP has so substantial a market share. Also remarkable is how much more popular Windows 7 is than Windows Vista. That shows that when it comes to operating systems, people really do vote with their dollars. They've stayed away from problem-plagued Vista, and flocked to Windows 7.

My guess is that when Windows 8 comes out, people will also vote: They'll stay away from the new version of the operating system, and stick with Windows 7. Using Windows 8 on a traditional PC is simply too confusing because the operating system has been built for tablets more than for PCs.

Will Windows 7 manage to maintain market leadership 10 or more years after it was released? There's no way to know that. But I don't expect Windows 8 to overtake it, in the same way that Vista never overtook Windows XP.

This story, "Windows 7: The New XP?" was originally published by Computerworld.

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