Windows 8.1 downloads FINALLY take off with staggering market share growth

Hands up if you saw that coming? We’ve been so used to Windows 8 and 8.1 losing usage share month on month, that any kind of move in the right direction - ie. growth - seems almost an anomaly. And when Windows 8.x does gain usage share, it’s usually pretty minimal.

Not in October. According to the latest usage share figures from web analytics firm NetMarketShare, Windows 8 use grew in that month, and Windows 8.1 (finally) took off like a rocket. In fact, Windows 8.1’s growth in that month is so impressive you’ve got to imagine the number crunchers at NetMarketShare spent a long time checking and re-checking their findings to make sure there wasn’t a mistake at their end.

In September, Windows 8 had 5.59 per cent usage share. In October that rose to 5.88 per cent. A gain of 0.29 per cent. Minimal, but a shift in the right direction.

Windows 8.1 however, went from 6.67 per cent in September to an astounding 10.92 per cent in October. That’s a growth of 4.25 per cent. In total, Windows 8.x grew by 4.54 per cent in one month alone. Amazing stuff. In all, Windows 8.x now has 16.8 per cent of the market. An all-time high for the tiled OS which last month lost 1.11 per cent share.

Windows 7 remains easily the top operating system, and despite Windows 8.x gobbling up all that share, it also managed to post some growth, going from 52.71 per cent to 53.05 per cent, an improvement of 0.34 per cent (so better than Windows 8).

The real loser then was (finally) Windows XP, which shed a massive 6.69 per cent share, going from 23.87 per cent in September to 17.18 per cent in October.

It will be interesting to see what happens during November. Will Windows 8.x continue its upwards trajectory or crash back down to Earth? You’ll have to head back here next month to find out.

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