2014 just had to be a tough year for Microsoft as far as operating systems were concerned, what with the retirement of Windows XP and the takeoff of Windows 8.1 hanging in the balance.

Luckily, the company fared quite well in these past twelve months.

The whole idea of getting people to move away from the ancient platform to a modern one took a while to take hold, but as this chart reveals, Windows XP went downhill at a steadily fast pace — Windows 8.1 on the other hand managed to increase its market share at an equally brisk one.

StatCounter Windows XP Windows 8.1

According to this latest data provided by StatCounter, both these operating systems boast a similar user base, but in time, surely, Windows XP will drop a lot more users.

At the same time, Windows 8.1 is sure to be embraced by a substantial amount of people.

These are global numbers, obviously, and desktop only, from January to December 2014. Point being, shifts like this take time, but at least we have a nice little trend to go by here. Redmond would surely have preferred to see an even better performance all round.

But what we have here is quite alright.

Particularly considering the fact that moving to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, quite often, involves additional hardware upgrades — making the process more expensive for users and enterprises.

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