It took nearly a year since its official release -- and two years since its first preview release -- but Windows 8 for desktop and notebook computers has finally overtaken OS X's global share by a tenth of a percentage point, a staggering commercial rejection that ranks among the Redmond giant's least successful releases. According to Net Applications, which analyzes browser use and web traffic, Windows 8 now has 7.41 percent of all desktop OS web share as of August -- compared to 7.3 percent for the combined 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 base.
While the share of Windows 8 jumped significantly over August -- rising two full percentage points -- the gain is likely due to school and institutional purchases of new computers pre-installed with Windows 8. The company's latest OS release surpassed Windows Vista in share in July. Net Applications only measures share through Internet access, meaning the small percentage of machines on both Windows and Mac platforms that are separated from the general Internet are not included.
The most popular version of Windows is 2009's Windows 7, which makes up 45.6 percent of the global desktop share. Second place is still held by Windows XP, which was originally released in 2001, with 33.66 percent. Vista has 4.11 percent market share, slightly more than Mountain Lion's global share.
For OS X, Mountain Lion has 3.42 percent of global share, followed by Lion and Snow Leopard with 1.65 percent each. All other operating systems -- older versions of Windows and OS X, as well as Linux and other systems -- total 2.46 percent of global web traffic. The figures from Net Applications include only desktop and notebook OS web use: if tablets were included in the figures, Windows 8 would still be far behind Apple's combined iOS/OS X share.