Vista, the subject of much criticism, is finally less popular than Windows 8. Net Applications' NetMarketShare tracker shows that Windows 8 is now on more computers than Vista, but remains far behind Windows versions XP and 7.
In its stats for June, NetMarketshare shows Windows 8 at 5.1 percent of desktop market share, while Vista takes 4.62 percent. Both are still dwarfed by Windows 7's 44.37 percent and XP's 37.17 percent -- a dozen years after XP's release. Mac OS X, versions 6 through 8, take 7.2 percent together, and Linux has 1.28 percent.
In the trend lines since August of last year by all versions of each operating system, the lines for Windows, Mac and Linux all remain virtually flat, with minor differences month by month. When seen by versions, Windows 7 began to increase by several points last August and XP began to decrease by almost the same amount. Vista has experienced a very slight decrease over that time, while Windows 8 has inched up to its current position at mid-single digits. Mac OS X 10.8 has also improved a few points over that period.
Trend Line, Growth Rate
The trend line for Windows 8 is moving in the right direction, but the pace of growth is sluggish. In June, for instance, Windows 8's growth rate was 0.84 percent over the preceding month, while Vista dropped 0.48 percent.
Compared with Macs, Windows 8 has a larger market share than any OS X version. But if you consider Windows 8 as a new platform, and the OS X versions as different flavors of the same version, it's a different picture, with the combined OS X versions reaching 7.2 percent compared with Windows 8's 5.1 percent.
On the desktop browser front, Microsoft continues to dominate. Its Internet Explorer takes 56.15 percent market share, followed a long ways back by Firefox at 19.15 percent, Chrome at 17.17 percent, Safari taking 5.55 percent and Opera having 1.58 percent.
By version, IE 8.0 is the most popular, at 22.67 percent. IE 10.0 is neck-and-neck with Chrome 27.0 for second place, with the former at 13.52 percent and the latter taking 13.76 percent. Firefox 21 has 12.47 percent, followed by IE 9.0 at 11.71 percent, IE 6.0 at 6.13 percent, and Safari 6.0 at 3.27 percent.
Those numbers only tell part of IE 10.0's story. The browser, which comes with Windows 8 but is also available for 7, has only recently passed its sibling, IE 9.0. On the trend lines, version 10.0 has been arcing upward since about February, when it had 1.58 percent, compared with 11.71 percent now. Similarly, version 9.0 started bending downward in February, going from 21.67 percent then to 13.52 percent now.
On platforms, as one might expect, it's a different world entirely, with Microsoft barely in the game. Apple's Safari takes a commanding 58.04 percent, the Android browser is second at 20.58 percent, and Opera Mini is third at 11.16 percent. In the low single digits are Chrome (3.75 percent), IE (2.37 percent) and Blackberry (1.51 percent).
Analytics firm StatsCounter shows similar breakdowns to NetMarketShare, with Windows 8 creeping up to 5.94 percent share by the end of June, slipping past the 6-year-old Vista's 5.4 percent share for the first time.