Microsoft is playing hard to get with Windows Vista SP1, having released the service pack to manufacturing on February 4, but delaying end user availability for another month and a half until mid-March 2008. And while Vista has been far from a hit product, even with an install base of 100 million at the end of 2007, landing far from the Wow, Microsoft's position on the operating system market has been slowly slipping, eroded by the increase in audience of Mac OS X and Linux. Statistics published by Net Applications reveal that Windows' market share dropped to 91.46% at the end of January 2008, down from 91.79% at the beginning of the year.
And in this context, Windows has lost a consistent slice of audience compared with the same period last year, when it accounted for 93.33% of the market. By comparison, Mac OS X jumped from 6.22% in January 2007 to 7.57% at the end of the past month. The move is explained through the constant boost in Mac computer sales, Apple now pushing in excess of 2.3 million machines per quarter, each preloaded with Mac OS X. The open source Linux operating system also delivered a good performance, the various distributions almost doubling market share from 0.35%, in January 2007, to 0.67% in the first month of 2007.
Service Pack 1, released to manufacturing at the beginning of this week, will head to Windows Vista starting in March. Until the next month, Vista's current share of 11.96% is bound to increase. Also, Microsoft estimates that SP1 will act as an accelerator for the adoption of Windows Vista, so it will be interesting to see the uptake numbers for Vista SP1 starting with April. As of the end of December 2007, Microsoft revealed that Vista's install base had passed the 100 million mark. In the meantime, the share of Windows XP experiences a continuous process of erosion, dropping from 85.02% in January 2007, to 75.07% at the beginning of this month.
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