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The predicted sales of computing gadgets for 2014 point unsurprising trends, with one important exception. Windows XP has undeniably dominated the desktop and laptop OS market share for a very long time. Windows 8.1 faces tremendous problems in conquering the business world, as well as home users. Windows 7 just passed the 50 percent market share for desktop usage this May, according to netmarketshare.com. Somehow surprisingly Windows XP helps PC sales, while still running today on more than a quarter of the desktop computers. It is striking in a way, bearing in mind that Microsoft discontinued the support for the 13 years old OS. From another point of view, XP’s present market share is completely explainable.
Firstly, Windows XP was very often found on the first computers installed in many public institutions around the globe. It still makes very little sense for most of the personnel to upgrade a (now almost) perfectly running OS which gets the job done. The transition from paper to computer operations induced a dramatic change in productivity. In many public offices, there is no need for the latest updates to produce the desired outcome. Moreover, public authorities, such as hospitals, commissioned XP compliant software to serve their specialized needs. Most cases involve a tremendous amount of bureaucracy (public money is accountable), training and adapting techniques. The efforts and money have been huge, so public bodies who are oriented towards offering services, not scientific progress, will rely on XP for as long as it is feasible.
Secondly, XP has been a very friendly OS for lower end hardware. As long as it gets the job done, home users oriented towards basic tasks such as emails and basic media consumption did not have any incentive to upgrade the OS.
Microsoft is losing the mobile OS battle so far in the U.S., where Google leads it, followed closely by Apple.
Windows XP helps PC sales by forcing users to upgrade
Microsoft decided to discontinue offering support for XP in April. According to a Gartner report, the decision will influence the PC market in 2015. After a couple of years when the PC sales have dropped as logically predicted, the demise of XP will force users into upgrading their old OS along with the old hardware. PC sales have dropped by 9.5 percent in 2013, but in 2014 they will only drop by an estimated 2.9 percent, Gartner’s Ranjit Atwal predicts. For 2015, Gartner foresees an increase of PC sales to 317 million units, 9 million more than for 2014. The largest chunk of computing devices will obviously comprise smartphones and tablets. Together with the PCs, the estimated sales for all the devices is 2.4 billion for 2014 and 2.6 billion for the next year. Windows XP helps PC sales by doing a last service for the industry, retiring.