Microsoft’s second shot at its touch-screen operating system, Windows 8.1, has at last inched past Windows XP to become the world’s second largest OS in terms of Internet usage, according to the latest figures from StatCounter, an independent website analytics company.

Of course, both massively lag behind Windows 7, which remains the most popular OS, with 50.3 percent of Internet traffic. But in November, Windows 8.1 climbed to 10.95 percent, knocking XP, which was released about 250 years ago, down to third at 10.69 percent.

Windows 8.1 was the company’s refresh after the much-criticized Windows 8 launch brought the debut of a new interface designed for touch-screen computing. StatCounter noted that 8.1 has passed 8.0, now down to 4.9 percent.

“Following a somewhat mixed reaction to Windows 8, Windows 8.1 has made steady progress since its launch,” said Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, in a statement. “It passed Windows 8 in August and has now passed Windows XP in November. The growth trajectory for Windows 8.1 has been positive, but if current trends continue it will not topple Windows 7 before Windows 10 is launched in 2015.”

Apple, meanwhile, continues to crawl up the charts. OS X is 8.11 percent of Internet traffic, up from 7 percent a year ago. iOS is 6.61 percent, compared to 4.42 percent in November 2013. That makes them the fourth and fifth largest OSs by Internet traffic respectively.


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