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Windows 7 Gives Microsoft Hope

Despite being an also-ran in buzzworthy sectors like tablets and phones, Redmond is still king of the desktop.

With declining market share in browsers and a paltry presence in slates and phones, Microsoft can still look to its flagship Windows operating system as proof it remains one of the IT industry's dominant players.

Image Slideshow: Windows 7 Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Windows 7 Revealed

The company announced Thursday that it has sold more than 240 million Windows 7 licenses since it launched the OS in October of last year.

Microsoft also cited IDC data that shows almost 90% of businesses are moving their Office PCs to Windows 7—a shift that's almost inevitable as Windows XP approaches the end of its shelf life.

Among the enterprise adopters of Windows 7 are Expedia, non-profit organization Feeding America, and Seattle-based Harbor Wholesale Grocery. "We're humbled and excited that people continue to respond so positively to Windows 7—our customers have made it the fastest selling operating system in history," Microsoft said in a statement.

The software maker also produced other data meant to show Windows 7's increasing prevalence on home and business PCs.

In the past month alone, Microsoft noted that users of the OS have opened the Start menu more than 14 billion times, used Aero Snap more than 150 million times, used Aero Shake more than 20 million times, employed jumplists over 339 million times, and pinned 12,643 unique apps to the taskbar and menu.

Windows' overall share of the computer OS market is 91.08%, according to the latest numbers from Net Applications. Windows 7 in particular holds a 17.1% stake, while Windows XP, still the most popular Windows variant, leads the pack with a share of 60.03%. Windows Vista, though widely maligned, remains the industry's third most popular OS, with a share of 13.35%.

And despite all the buzz surrounding the iPad and the new, iPad-like MacBook Air, Apple's share of the OS market is a lowly 5.03%.

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