Microsoft's Windows Vista has finally crossed the 30 percent mark in share this week, according to StatCounter data. The milestone came more than two years after the operating system was released and at the expense of Windows XP, which has dipped below 58 percent at the same time. Both Microsoft platforms have had similar growth curves over the first several weeks of 2009 and show that most new adoptees of Vista are those trading up from older Windows PCs.
The data is evidence that Vista is finally gaining "consistent traction" in the US, StatCounter chief Aodhan Cullen said. He nonetheless warns that the very slow progression and day-to-day usage behavior also indicated much stiffer resistance to Vista in business; Vista use has gone up each weekend while XP use has been highest during the week.
However, XP has lost share more quickly than Vista has gained share, and Cullen noted that most of those who didn't move from XP to Vista were most likely to have dropped Windows in favor of Mac OS X. Apple has seen rapid growth in the past two months and grew from just over 6.6 percent share in January to 8.3 percent in mid-March. Linux has remained virtually unchanged over the same period at about 0.6 percent.
Why Apple has enjoyed the sudden if modest success isn't addressed by the researchers, though existing home user resistance to Vista has been widely interpreted as driving Windows users to Macs.
Microsoft's gain is also expected to be short-lived, as Windows 7 may launch as early as September and replace Vista outright in the US market.