These plans include not only Windows 8.1, which was released last week as a public preview, but also Microsoft's pledge that Office will be bundled with smaller Windows tablets, and that Windows 8 hardware with dramatically improved battery life is on the way.
Based on the 160 million users and 40,000 websites that Net Applications monitors, Windows 8's market penetration expanded 19.43% in June, jumping from 4.27% of the market to 5.10%. After debuting last fall, the OS grew more slowly until February, after which it began advancing by around 20% per month. This pace fell off dramatically in May, however, when Microsoft's new flagship gained only 11.8% -- its lowest month-over-month uptick since launch. June's figure indicates Windows 8 might be getting back on track.
[ Thinking of making the leap to Windows 8.1? Read this first. Windows 8.1: 4 Upgrade Questions For SMBs. ]
Windows 7 remained the top OS worldwide, with 44.37% of the market. Many businesses are still migrating to Win7 from Windows XP, and the slow PC market suggests that many consumer PC upgrades have been delayed while users invest in cheaper, more portable iOS and Android tablets. As a result, Windows 7 is likely to retain its crown for the foreseeable future. Microsoft's previous-generation OS hit a 12-month peak in December, when it had 45.11% of the market.
Windows XP, first released in 2001, will lose official support in less than a year but held a healthy 37.17% of the market in June, down slightly from 37.74% the month before. It held 42.52% of the market last August, and has retreated almost 7% since Windows 8 become widely available.