After a healthy 10-year run, Windows XP may finally be losing its overwhelming grip on computer users.
Though it's still the most heavily used version of the Windows operating system, XP's market share among all operating systems finally dipped just below the 50 percent mark last month, according to stats out today from Net Applications.
The aging OS has gradually been shedding market share a bit each month over the past few years, touching 62 percent a year ago and 51 percent in June before its latest dip in July, according to Net Applications.
At the same time, Windows 7--the current version of the OS--has just under 28 percent share among all operating systems, including Apple's Mac OS X and iOS. But Windows 7 has steadily grabbed more customers since its official release in October 2009. Meanwhile, Vista's grip on the market has steadily fallen each month and now rests at just over 9 percent for July. Altogether, Windows controls about 87 percent of the overall OS market.
With Microsoft due to cut off extended support for Windows XP in another three years, the company has been pushing both individuals and businesses to make the leap to Windows 7. To further motivate customers, Microsoft has released studies that bolster Windows 7, such as one from May that highlighted Windows 7 as five times more secure than XP.
However, Redmond offers no direct migration path from Windows XP to Windows 7, so moving to the latest OS typically requires either a total reinstall or an upgrade to a new PC. Tools such as Microsoft's Windows Easy Transfer may help ease the pain, but the migration is still time-consuming, especially for larger companies.
A survey of IT professionals last November found that half of them were planning to continue to use XP even after the support tap is turned off in 2014.